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The following definitions will help you understand some of the words you may come across in your research!

British Colonisation: The establishment of colonies by the British Government. Classification:Scientific classification or biological classification is a method by which biologists or Naturalists group and categorise species of organisms.

Colony: A settlement or region politically controlled by a distant or ‘parent’ country.

Convict: A person who has been found guilty of a crime and sentenced for it.

The Dreamtime:In the mythology of the Australian Aborigines, one of the names for the time of the Ancestors, who created the world and are still alive in the sacred places. The Aborigines believe this time continues to exist, and that it is be possible to find it through dreams.

Explorer: A person who investigates unknown regions.

Fauna: A term used to describe animal life.

The First Fleet:The First Fleet is the name given to the 11 ships which sailed from Great Britain on May 13, 1787 to establish the first European colony in New South Wales.

Flora: A term used to describe Plant life.

Indigenous People: Any cultural or ethnic group who inhabit the geographic region with which they have the earliest historical connection. The term Aboriginals is often used to describe Australia’s Indigenous people.

Naturalists: People who study Natural History. (Natural History is the scientific study of plants and animals.)

Settlement: A new or small community.

Transportation: Sending criminals overseas as a form of punishment.


These websites are accessible through the Kids Portal.Handy Tip* Add them to your favourites for easy access at school and at home!*

Lots of information about Captain Cook and the voyages of the Endeavour



The Australian Government site on Early explorers.

History of Australia by the author A. Sutherland. This site gives some detail about explorers.

A stowaway's guide to the Pacific Ocean travelling on the Endeavour.

This website is designed for Aussie kids. It is easy to navigate and contains hundreds of useful sites. From the home page select 'Australia' and choose from the alphabetical list. Some key subjects are: Aboriginal people of Australia, James Cook and First Fleet. Scroll down the page and select 'Need help starting your research?' where you will find a 10 step guide to researching a topic, a printable chart for recording notes, a link to contact a researcher, and a guide for writing a bibliography. There is also has a list of kid friendly search engines. This website will help you to improve your research skills.

htt p://gutenberg.net.au/explorers.html will help you research the European Explorers who charted the Australian coastline. There is lots of information on different explorers, their voyages and their lives. The pages are easy to find and maps, charts and illustrations provide you with comprehensive visual information. The website is a fantastic source of information for helping you research explorers.

The State Library site on all about the First Fleet.
Some students' research on the First Fleet.

Do you have a convict on the family? Find out this and more on Convict Central//! There is lots of information on convicts and life in the colony and your only difficulty will be deciding which information to use, there is a lot! Use your Super 3 Sheet to help you decide what’s important for your topic! Don’t miss the Quizzes, spooky tales and interesting pictures!

This hands on website offers you information on Explorers and the Naturalists who classified the native Flora and Fauna of Australia. The procedures of classification are detailed and lots of examples are available. This website will help you understand classification and why it was an important part of colonial Australia.

What Impact Did Colonisation Have On Aboriginal People?

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A wonderful website exploring Indigenous Australia's history and culture. Listen to one of 20 stories from cultures of Indigenous Australians and hear the translations. Select the link 'About Indigenous Australia' and learn more about Australia's original inhabitants. A guide for students has links to factsheets, an Indigenous dictionary and hints for finding information on the website. A great resource which is easy to navigate and understand.

An interpretation of early Aboriginal history throughout all Australia.

Tools and Weapons

Australian government site gives some history on tools and weapons.

This site talks about what tools are made from.

The Ngadionji history of the Northern Queensland rainforest people.

A small amount of information on tools made by the Ngaro people of the Whitsundays Islands.

Indigenous people in the Sydney area

An introduction to the Aboriginal history of the city of Sydney.

Some information on Bennelong and Pemulwuy.

Some further information on Pemulwuy.

An explanation as to why the land is so important to Aboriginal people and what impact colonisation had on them.
Australia, James Cook and First Fleet. Scroll down the page and select 'Need help starting your research?' where you will find a 10 step guide to researching a topic, a printable chart for recording notes, a link to contact a researcher, and a guide for writing a bibliography. There is also has a list of kid friendly search engines. This website will help you to improve your research skills.

Non Fiction texts

As the initial site of European settlement, Sydney inevitably figures in much of the first writing to be done on the Australian continent. Government officials, marines and some of the more educated convicts were busy writing letters home after the arrival of the First Fleet in January 1788. Even before 1788, Sydney, or Botany Bay as it was then known, had been written about, first in the journals of James Cook,Joseph Banks and others, and later in newspaper debates about the wisdom of establishing a convict colony in this new southern land to replace the ones lost following the American War of Independence.

Look for these books in our Library

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French, Jackie, The Goat Who Sailed the World - The Goat That Sailed the World is the true story of the very stroppy animal who sailed with James Cook on the Endeavour, on the voyage that first mapped Australia's east coast and led to the British colony there 20 years later. She gave Cook milk for the whole three years the ship had been away! This was pretty incredible for a goat - they usually don't give milk for nearly as long. Her milk was badly needed, because food on ships in those days was pretty awful.
Narelle Oliver (1999)The Secret Life of Australia's Dead Heart Lothian Books. Sand Swimmers is a multi-stranded examination of the landscape, flora and fauna of central Australia as well as Sturt's search for the inland sea.The book celebrates a prickly, dense, harsh environment that is caugth by the illustrative technique of linocut. The book makes subtle references to the unability of the white explorers to 'see' or understand the landscape in which they found themselves.
Tucker, A (1994) Too Many Captain Cooks, Omnibus Books.
This book tells of the earliest contact between Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Malaysian and European people around the coastline of Australia. Based on the premise that we can only understand the present by examining our past, it records the early seafarers' and settlers' first impressions of the land and the people they encountered, and recounts the reactions of the Aboriginal people to these meetings.
Nicholson,John (2007) Songlines and Stone Axes Magical pearl-shell pendants, greenstone axe-heads, belts made of human hair, outriggers for canoes, songs and dances, body paint, feathers, extra strong glue, cloaks made of 80 possum skins sewn with kangaroo sinew were traded around Australia before white settlement. All this happened without money until the Macassans and then the Europeans arrived.
Salmon, Michael(1988) Excuse me Captain Cook, who did discover Australia?
Barwick, John and Jennifer(2004)Settlement & Exploration
Hooper, Meredith (2000) The Journal of Watkin Stench (fiction)

For Teachers

National Library site offering pictures and slideshows.
National History Museum, London, site offers interesting historical insights into Cook's voyages and discoveries.
University of Woollongong site on history of the the First Fleet

An online cloze passage on British Colonisation.
A number of sites on early British exploration and Indigenous history.

Back to HSIE page.