Shake your family tree
Where did your family live way back in 1915? Did they live in Australia or had your family not yet arrived in Australia at that stage? This activity can include the whole class whatever their cultural background.
Ask at home where your family lived in 1915. Using an outline map of Australia and/or the world, get every member of the class to mark where in the world their family lived in 1915.
Find out which countries fought together during the First World War. You might find that some families would have been counted by Australians as "enemies" back in 1915!
If members of your class came to Australia recently, perhaps they could share with the class how their own community commemorates their dead from past wars. Do they have their own special days? Are there any students of Turkish descent in the class? Do their families have any ANZAC memories? What do Turkish children learn about Gallipoli?
What do you think of these words on a memorial to Allied soldiers at ANZAC Cove, written by Kemal Attaturk who had been commmander of the Turkish forces defending the Gallipoli penisula in 1915?
Those heroes that shed their blood
And lost their lives:
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country,
Therefore rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side,
Here in this country of ours.
You, the mothers,
Who sent your sons to faraway countries,
Wipe away your tears.
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are now at peace.
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well.
If members of your class came to Australia recently, perhaps they could share with the class how their own community commemorates their dead from past wars.
Find out whether Aboriginal Australians fought in the First World War.
Another activity you could try...
As well as drawing up a class map of where everyone's family lived in 1915, try to find out as much information as possible about what happened to family members who were alive at the time of the First World War. Students could draw up a questionnaire to take home, addressing such questions as:
- Did any family member take part in the war?
- On what side?
- Did they survive the war?
- Did they stay in their country of origin or did the war cause the family to move?
This information could be added to a class display of the First World War.