Punting

[Episode 8 | 1938 : Colum]

Colum and Thommo are collecting bets from their neighbours on horses in the 1938 Melbourne Cup. They present these bets to Mr O'Sullivan, the local shopkeeper. Colum and Thommo hope to win big in order to save Thommo's family from eviction.


History

The Australian curriculum: History

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The Australian Curriculum: History aims to ensure that students develop: 

  • interest in, and enjoyment of, historical study for lifelong learning and work, including their capacity and willingness to be informed and active citizens 
  • knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the past and the forces that shape societies, including Australian society 
  • understanding and use of historical concepts, such as evidence, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy, significance and contestability 
  • capacity to undertake historical inquiry, including skills in the analysis and use of sources, and in explanation and communication.

History activities [3]

Activity 1: The Melbourne Cup
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Entertainment and games; Historical events

The Melbourne Cup is steeped in history and has been an important part of the Australian horseracing since the late 1800s. The Melbourne Cup began in 1861, when the Victorian Turf Club wanted to put on a 'good handicap' race to rival that of the Victorian Jockey Club. That good handicap race ended up becoming one of the greatest handicap 3200-metre races in the world. The race 'stops a nation' and is generally celebrated with a public holiday in Victoria.

Colum and his friend collect bets from the neighbourhood on the Melbourne Cup and give them to the local store owner. This type of betting was illegal at the time, as it is today, and the boys ran the risk of being caught and prosecuted by the police.

Discover
  • Ask students to investigate information about the Melbourne Cup using a variety of websites and books. Have students list as many facts they can find about the history, people and special events relevant to the Melbourne Cup. They could visit the following websites:
  1. Australian Government Culture Portal, 'Melbourne Cup', http://www.cultureandrecreation.gov.au/articles/melbournecup
  2. Melbourne Cup 150, 'Melbourne Cup Carnival 2010', http://www.melbournecup.com
  3. Victorian Racing Club, 'About the Melbourne Cup', http://www.vrc.net.au/melbourne-cup-carnival/melbourne-cup-statistics.asp

Reflect
  • Ask students to provide one fact each from the evidence they collected as a class. Each fact should be presented on a separate horse template.

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Activity 2: Winners and losers
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Entertainment and games; Historical events
Discover
  • As a class, find out the winning horses and, if possible, the names of the trainers and jockeys of each Melbourne Cup winner. While they are researching, have students find out some interesting stories about selected cup winners, such as Phar Lap and Rainlover, and the horse that won the 1938 Melbourne Cup named Catalogue. Ask students to evaluate how many mares, women owners, trainers and women jockeys have been successful at winning the cup. Also find out what prize money was offered and how it has increased over time. The students could create bar charts and graphs of specific information to represent different percentages and compare statistics.

Reflect
  • Ask students to design their own Melbourne Cup winner and prepare a brochure about the horse. They will need to name it, list its lineage, and write about the jockey, trainer and owner. They could design and draw the colours the jockey would wear in the race.
  • Once all students have designed their horse and jockey, conduct a race to see who wins. The race could be conducted as a quiz about the Melbourne Cup, or a race around the school oval where the students are dressed as the jockeys.

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Activity 3: Aussie icon
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Entertainment and games
Discover
  • Ask students to respond to the following question; What is an icon? Have them devise a list of Australian icons and organise them into common categories, such as language, sport, food and customs. Think about why these concepts are considered iconic in Australia.

Reflect
  • Divide the class into teams of six students. Each team selects an icon to sell to an international audience. They are to devise an advertisement for television about the selected icon and produce it for broadcast to the class. This can be an actual re-enactment of a filmed advertisement.
  • Refer to websites below for assistance.
  1. Australian Children's Television Foundation (ACTF) for information on the 'Live Action Teaching Kit', http://www.actf.com.au/learning_centre/title_pages/lia_tp.php
  2. Screen Australia, 'DIY DOCO', http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/learning/diydoco

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