Warning: This resource may contain references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may have passed away.

The encounter

[Episode 23 | 1788 : Waruwi]

Waruwi encounters a cow for the first time and is unsure what to make of it. After seeing some marines and a drummer boy, she returns home to Nana to tell her about the 'ghost people' and the cow.


The Australian curriculum: English

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The Australian Curriculum: English aims to ensure that students:

  • learn to listen to, read, view, speak, write, create and reflect on increasingly complex and sophisticated spoken, written and multimodal texts across a growing range of contexts with accuracy, fluency and purpose
  • appreciate, enjoy and use the English language in all its variations and develop a sense of its richness and power to evoke feelings, convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others, entertain, persuade and argue
  • understand how Standard Australian English works in its spoken and written forms and in combination with non-linguistic forms of communication to create meaning
  • develop interest and skills in inquiring into the aesthetic aspects of texts, and develop an informed appreciation of literature.

English activities [2]

Activity 1: Life skills
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Subtheme(s): Chores, business and employment; Customs and traditions; Indigenous perspectives
  • Prior to watching this clip, have students find out about Indigenous peoples in their local area by inviting local Indigenous people to speak to students about their heritage and family histories. 
  • Consider the lifestyles of Indigenous peoples in your local area prior to 1788 and reflect on how these lifestyles have changed. Investigate the importance of the land and seas in the lives of Indigenous peoples, past and present. Consider the following in respect to the past:
  1. Food - what was eaten and what technologies were used to find and prepare different food types? 
  2. Shelter - what materials and technologies were used?
  3. Types of clothing that were worn for particular seasons and purposes
  4. Languages spoken in the area and neighbouring areas 
  5. The diversity of customs and beliefs between different groups.
  • Images or stories that relate to their research could be written up as a report or story and presented as part of a local history project or slideshow presentation. Refer to My Place for Teachers, 'Decade timeline' for more information or some weblinks about Indigenous histories and cultures. Be sure to also discuss with local Indigenous families, groups and individuals.
  • Consider Indigenous educational frameworks that might guide your work in developing local histories, for example:
  1. Holistic Teaching and Learning framework, 'My Land My Tracks' (Uncle Ernie Grant), http://education.qld.gov.au/schools/indigenous/educators/cultural-aware-localstory.html
  2. 8 Aboriginal ways of learning, http://8ways.wikispaces.com/
  3. Ask students to think about life skills. Ask them to list ten skills they have that help them live in the modern age. Encourage students to consider a role-reversal in which Waruwi reflects on the students' daily activities, to raise awareness about the skills students use on a day-to-day basis. Compare the two lists. Which skills are the same and which are different?
  • As a class, watch the whole episode and then ask students to write a list of the skills that Waruwi demonstrates. Focus their attention on the fact that she can move silently through the bush; that she can climb trees barefoot; that she can make a fire without matches; that she can see any changes that occur in the surrounding landscape, such as noticing footprints in the earth; and that she knows how to get rid of footprints. Also ask the students to add to their list, in a separate section, the skills that Waruwi's Nana has, such as using smoke to keep mosquitoes away, and also to think about roles and responsibilities in the family. Refer students to Student Activity Sheet E23.1: Life skills.

  • Form students into pairs. With their partner they are to imagine a meeting with Waruwi. Ask students to write a script for a scene in the episode which takes place before or after the episode time. Role-play a conversation between them in character: one is Waruwi, and one a new character that the pair have devised. The new character could be Indigenous from the same language group, or from a different language group with different ways of doing things; they could be a colonist or a convict. Students should consider the age of the character; whether they are male or female; their position of power, etc. Encourage students to consider the different impacts these attributes will have on how the two characters relate. Ask students to focus on Waruwi and her thoughts and feelings about 'her place', as well as how she thinks about the new character's feelings of belonging to 'their place'.


Activity 2: New arrivals
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Subtheme(s): Beliefs; Language and scripting; Relationships
  • Focus the students' attention on the start of the clip, in which Waruwi sees the cow for the first time. Ask students to respond to the following questions:
  1. Why has Waruwi never seen a cow before?
  2. How does she describe the cow to her Nana?
  3. What does Waruwi call the marines?
  4. Why do you think she uses these words to describe them?
  5. What do these words make you think of?
  6. How does her Nana refer to the soldiers? (She describes them in more than one way.) 
  • Refer students to Student Activity Sheet E23.2: New arrivals.
  • Ask students to think about the power of words and the effect names have in influencing how we see people and objects. Ask students to list 10 naming words (nouns) used in the episode and their meanings. 
  • Ask students to find the meaning of these words in a foreign language. Using a dictionary or translator they are to also find the words for the following: house, sister or brother, food, water and dog.

  • Ask students to imagine they are Dan. What would he say to his family in England about his first encounter in the new country? Ask students to imagine they are Waruwi telling her friends about her encounter with the cow and the young marine. How do they communicate with no knowledge of the other's language? Ask students to write a short note from each character, describing the events of their day's encounters.
  • Play a game of charades where students use non-verbal gestures and expressions to communicate.


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