Unit 12: Our Place, Our Heritage


This unit is about the special places in Australia that are significant to Australians due to heritage, culture or natural beauty. Through this unit students will develop their geographical understandings about Australia and it’s states and territories. They will learn about significant natural and man-made landmarks. They will develop understandings about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture through a study of places that are important to them. They will develop the understanding that special places need to be preserved and protected.

Aboriginal Perspectives

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is the oldest living culture in the world.
  • Aboriginal people have a strong connection to the land.
  • Many/most places in Australia have special significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


Heritage, time and continuity, respect, spirituality, connectedness, place.


  • Many people have a spiritual connection to special places.
  • Heritage is passed on over time, through people’s stories about their special and sacred places.
  • Respect for places that are sacred is a sign of respect for those people.
  • People can learn about their heritage through special and sacred places.

Rich Question

Why are some places important to particular people and cultures?

Contributing Questions

  • What makes places special?
  • Where are the sacred places in Australia?
  • Who are they sacred to?
  • How is heritage linked to sacred places?
  • How can we show respect for the sacred places of others?


  • Sacred place- a special place that connects with your feelings and touches your heart. A place worthy of respect.
  • Spiritual- religious, related to spirit or soul.
  • Heritage- Heritage is all the things that make up Australia's identity - our spirit and ingenuity, our historic buildings, and our unique, living landscapes. Our heritage is a legacy from our past, a living, integral part of life today, and the stories and places we pass on to future generations. (Australian Government environment website)

Background Notes

From the Yarra Healing website: essential learnings.

When developing units of work on this particular topic, the following learnings need to be considered:

  • From the beginning of time, people have wondered at the beauty and power of nature and at humanity's relationship with it. They have developed powerful stories or myths to express their understanding of how life came to be.
  • For many thousands of years, Indigenous people used songs and stories to express their beliefs about the origins and meaning of life and land forms, the cycles of nature, and the harmony and conflict among human life and the animal world.
  • The Dreaming refers to how Indigenous peoples explain the beginning and the continuity of life.
  • The Dreaming is not fixed in the ancient era of creation. It continues in the spiritual lives of Indigenous peoples today, and its influence is embedded in many aspects of everyday living.
  • The Dreaming heritage carries special obligations to protect and preserve the spirit of the land and the life forms that are part of it. The Dreaming heritage also influences codes of behaviour, laws, family and social structures, and sacred duties.
  • Different Indigenous groups in Australia have their own Dreaming beliefs, Dreaming stories and Spirit Ancestors.
  • The Dreaming is passed on through a rich tradition of song, poetry, dance, art and storytelling.


Written texts

‘Are We There Yet?’, by Alison Lester, Viking, Australia, 2005.

‘Nyuntu Ninti (What You should Know)’, by Bob Randall and Melanie Hogan, ABC books, Sydney 2008.

‘Where the Forest Meets the Sea’, by Jeannie Baker, Greenwillow, Australia, 1988.

‘Down at the Easter Camp’, by Luke Morgan, City of Melbourne: Living the Arts.

‘The Outback’, by Porter, A, and Bancroft, B, Magabala Books, 2005.

‘You and Me: Our Place’, by Leonie Norrington, and Dee Huxley, Working Title Press, 2007.

‘To the Top End: Our Trip Across Australia’, by Roland Harvey, Allen and Unwin, 2009

‘Why I Love Australia’, by Bronwyn Bancroft, Little Hare Books, 2010

‘In My Backyard’, by Hilton, N, and Spudvilas, A, Lothian Books, 2001

‘My Country’, (poem) by Dorothea MacKellar

‘My Home in Kakadu’ by Jane Christopherson, Magabala Books, Australia, 2005.



http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/education/teacher-resources.html contains information and lesson ideas about the world heritage listed sites in Australia.

http://www.environment.gov.au/heritage/index.html Use the interactive map to find out more information and pictures about sites that are National or World Heritage listed.

http://ourplaces.globalstudent.org.au/ This blog was created by the Year 3/4 students of St Luke the Evangelist in Blackburn South in order to find out about special and sacred places around Australia.

Audio Visual

Going Bush: Adventures Across Indigenous Australia, DVD series, Lonely Planet/SBS

Consider these resources;