Information for teachers

The following learning activities related to the theme of Melbourne support:

  • The learning focus and standards in Victorian Essential Learning Standards Level 6 for:
    • Discipline-based learning in The Arts, Humanities and English
    • Interdisciplinary learning in Communication, Thinking Processes
    • Physical, Personal and Social Learning in Civics and Citizenship, Personal Learning
  • The areas of study and learning outcomes in Victorian Certificate of Education studies:
    • Art
    • Studio Arts
    • English
    • History

Teachers are encouraged to select and adapt the learning activities to suit the specific level and learning requirements of their students.

Shaping the history and character of Melbourne

  1. In small groups investigate and discuss the history of Melbourne, listing at least 10 key events and/or individuals that you believe have contributed to the history and character of the city. You can select up to six events/individuals from the following list as a starting point:

    Settlement of the area now known as Melbourne
    The official naming of Melbourne
    Proclamation of the colony of Victoria
    Discovery of gold near Ballarat
    The International Exhibition of 1880
    Immigration Restriction Act 1901
    First steam train
    First tram
    Opening of Luna Park
    First World War
    Second World War
    Centenary of Melbourne
    Manufacture of first Holden car in Melbourne
    Opening of Chadstone Shopping Centre
    William Barak
    John Batman
    John Fawkner
    Charles La Trobe
    Dame Nellie Melba
    • Discuss why you consider each of the events/characters you have selected/suggested as important to the history and character of the city.
    • Compare the lists that different groups have compiled.
    • Suggest reasons for the similarities and differences in the lists.
  2. Create a collaborative illustrated timeline recording the key dates related to events/individuals in the lists compiled by the class. Where possible include a visual image, such as a photograph or a reproduction of an artwork, to illustrate each event/individual referenced on the timeline. You can use images from the NGV Collection story – Melbourne or search by keywords in NGV Collection online

    Resources for creating a digital timeline
  3. What role do you believe the visual arts play in recording or constructing the history of a city such as Melbourne?

Melbourne locations and landmarks

  1. The following locations and landmarks all feature in artworks included in the NGV Collection Story – Melbourne.
    • Locate each of these landmarks/locations on a map of Melbourne.
    • Investigate/discuss what is significant about each landmark/location for Melbourne.
    • Find an artwork that relates to each of these locations/landmarks. Explain the relationship between this artwork and the landmark/location.

      Luna Park
      Princes Bridge
      Royal Botanic Gardens
      Princess Theatre
      Charles Summers’s Burke and Wills memorial statue
      Collins Street
      Swanston Street
      The Arts Centre
      St Kilda Road
      Melbourne Cricket Ground
      Le Louvre
      Grosvenor Chambers
      Port Phillip Bay
      Fitzroy Gardens
      Flinders Street Station
      Box Hill
      St Kilda

Further research on Melbourne


‘Coranderrk’, Mission Voices website (Koorie Heritage Trust, State Library of Victoria and ABC online)

History of Melbourne overview and resources (Melbourne City Council)

History of Melbourne overview and resources (What’s on Melbourne)

Yarra Healing – Towards reconciliation with Indigenous Australians, includes resources related to William Barak, Birrarung (Yarra River), The Kulin Nation, Wurundjeri, Coranderrk (Catholic Education Office)


Australian Impressionism

John Brack

Howard Arkley

Remembering Barak

Sidney Nolan

VCE English Contexts

Melbourne activities





William Barak
Figures in possum skin cloaks 1898
pencil, wash, charcoal solution, gouache and earth pigments on paper
57.0 x 88.8 cm (image and sheet)
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, 1962


Land of the Wurundjeri and the making of Melbourne, from marvellous to modern, told by the NGV Collection of Australian art.

Go to Melbourne stories
Psychogeography (1996); (1998) {printed}
from the Psycho series 1996, in The mutant genome project 1994-
type C photograph
120.6 x 258.4 cm (image) 126.9 x 278.8 cm (sheet)
ed. 1/6
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of Optus Communications Pty Limited, Member, 1998
© Courtesy of the artist

Landscape and environment

Australian artists explore, observe and respond to the landscape and nature, recording both the environment and our relationship with it.

Go to Landscape and environment stories
Shearing the rams 1890
oil on canvas on composition board
122.4 x 183.3 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Felton Bequest, 1932


An exploration of identity, including historical and contemporary perspectives on national, cultural and personal identity in Australian art.

Go to Identity stories