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


[Episode 25 | Before Time : Bunda]

At the creek, Bunda's father tells him and his brother to catch a fish. Each uses a different method of fishing and Bunda's method of building a small dam proves to be the most successful. Their father is annoyed that they are not working together.


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: Learning new skills
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Customs and traditions; Indigenous perspectives; Social order and education
  • Prior to watching the clip Fishing, discuss with the class that the segment focuses on the father's attempt to educate his sons and teach them particular skills needed for their relationships and operation in their local environment. Ask the students to consider and list the types of life skills that their own father, mother or other close person teaches them today, outside the classroom. As a class, make a list of all the different skills that students have learnt outside the classroom, such as sports, games, cooking, camping, road rules, acceptable behaviour in public and values.
  • As a class, watch the clip Fishing and discuss the following questions:
  1. What technique does Garadi use to catch a fish?
  2. What technique does Bunda use to catch a fish?
  3. What is the lesson their father wants to teach them? 
  • Ask the students to research Indigenous fishing techniques for a type of fish in particular areas across Australia. Have students find information based on the following:
  1. Choose one fishing technique and a location where it is used.
  2. Describe the fishing technique, including the materials and technologies used.
  3. Find out the Indigenous language group and/or Indigenous Country to which this fishing technique is connected.
  4. Who passes this knowledge on?
  5. What other knowledge and information are known, such as maintaining fish numbers and seasonal information?
  6. How are the fish distributed among Indigenous people (family members and those from other groups/languages) and how is this done over time (eg some fish are dried and stored)?
  7. What are some different ways the fish can be cooked and eaten?

  • Using the information they found while researching Indigenous fishing techniques, ask students to write an instruction manual for how to catch these fish using local Indigenous knowledges. Students should cover all aspects, including what is used for bait, how Indigenous people make hooks, the different types of fish they catch and how they cook these fish. They are to write in an informative and instructional style. 
  • Use these websites to guide you:
  1. Australian Government, 'Australian Indigenous Tools and Technology' australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/austn-indigenous-tools-and-technology
    Includes stone fish traps
  2. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, 'Aboriginal Fish Traps and Weirs of Queensland', www.gbrmpa.gov.au/corp_site/about_us/great_barrier_reef_outlook_report/outlook_report/evidence/01_standard_evidence_page309
  3. National Gallery of Australia, 'Fish Trap Sculpture' nga.gov.au/Exhibition/Tactility/Detail.cfm?IRN=121378&BioArtistIRN=20430
    Based on Burarra and Kuninjku peoples' fish traps
  4. Screen Australia Digital Learning, 'Fish Traps', www.nfsa.gov.au/digitallearning/mabo/xk_fishtraps.shtml
  5. You Tube, 'Baiames Ngunnhu - the Story of Brewarrina Fish Traps', www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uYKg1M6PRk


Activity 2: Sons and brothers
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Subtheme(s): Culture; Indigenous perspectives; Relationships
  • As a class, watch the clip Fishing and ask the students to observe the relationship between the two brothers, Bunda and Garadi. Discuss how the boys speak to each other, how they react to each other and why each brother feels he is superior and can impress their father. Ask students to think of a time when they had conflict with a sibling or a friend. Have them write down why they think they were 'right' and share this story with a partner.
  • Refer students to the My Place for Teachers website (www.myplace.edu.au) to read Bunda's journal and note what he thinks about his relationship with his father and brother. 
  • Focus the attention of the class on the segment in the clip when Bunda finally catches a fish. Ask students to respond to the following questions:
  1. Who actually catches the fish?
  2. Why does Garadi want to claim the fish as his?
  3. What does Garadi do with the fish?
  4. How do you think Garadi's actions and language might make Bunda feel?
  5. What does their father do with the fish?
  6. Why do you think Bunda's father does this with the fish?
  7. What lesson did the brothers need to learn through this survival exercise?

  • Ask students to draw a family tree or ladder that illustrates the relationships in their family (mother, father, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc). Discuss with students how being the eldest or first-born child in the family can bring more responsibility. They should consider how the order of being born into a family can have consequences on how you are treated or how you act. Ask students to assess whether this perception of 'first born responsibility' could explain Garadi's apparent dislike for his younger brother.
  • Students can then write a short paragraph on whether knowing this information changes their opinion of how the brothers treat each other.


Refer students to Student Activity Sheet E25.4: Sons and brothers

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