These activities aim to facilitate a shared understanding of the themes and concepts relevant to History for the learning levels this resource supports. They are designed to get students thinking in broad terms about the social and cultural context of World War II in Australia, before exploring more National Library collection material in each of the themes.

A Small Town at War

Have students use the National Library of Australia’s picture collection Drouin town and rural life during World War II as inspiration for compiling a collection of documentary images of their local area during World War II. 

Government departments, such as the Department of Information, employed a number of very talented professional photographers. One of these was Jim Fitzpatrick, whose series of photographs for the Department of Information documented aspects of town and rural life in Drouin, Victoria. Fitzpatrick’s images deal with the lives of ordinary people; they affirm traditional Australian values and make it clear exactly what was at stake during the war years.

Ask students to check Trove and their regional library for digitised historical images. Read the essay from 2010 describing the creation of this fascinating series of 88 photographs.