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Week 31: Transport

[ View the related 'Weekly Post': Week 31 - Farewell to the Duke of York ]

This week The Africaine makes a stop at Cape Town, South Africa, a place similar to an English township, with Robert Gouger commenting on ‘its air of prosperity.’ This stop provides the passengers with a much needed opportunity to stretch their legs, purchase fresh produce and livestock. Mary Thomas writes how passengers ate lunch and dinner in inns and other lodgings, comparing the quality of food to that which was eaten onboard. Some passengers visit the sights of Simon’s Bay, including a small museum. Mary Thomas makes reference to seeing a ‘sort of caravan, resembling a London omnibus.’ What was she referring to in this statement? What were the forms of transport used in 1836 and how are these the same / different to those used today?
Scene: Departing

Emigration - the parting day "Good Heaven! what sorrows gloom'd that parting day...", 1852. Image courtesy of the Art Gallery of South Australia [20044P57

Inquiry Questions:

  • What forms of transport were used in England in 1836?
  • What types of transport were used around the world in 1836?
  • How have forms of transport changed over time?
  • How have changes in transport influenced the way people live?

Research Topics:

  • What causes changes in transport to occur?
  • Why do we use different forms of transport?
  • What infrastructure is required to enable transport systems to operate, (eg. buildings, workers, roads, signage)?
  • What might transport look like in the future?

Historical Skills:

Chronology, terms and concepts:
  • Develop a glossary of transport vessels associated with maritime. You will find that there are many different types of sailing vessels. What makes each vessel unique?
  • Develop a timeline that shows how a specific form of transport has changed over time. Reflecting upon your timeline, work in a small group to discuss what this transport may look like in the future. Assessment - accuracy of the timeline and student’s ability to make the connections between past and present, justifying future design.
  • Mary Thomas made a reference to carriages in South Africa. They were a common form of transport used in the 19th century. What types of carriages existed and what purpose did each serve? (Eg. berlin, gig, barouches, landaus, victorias, curricles and broughams)
Historical questions and research:
  • The introduction of the railways revolutionised transport. The first passenger railway in England w opened in 1825 and was between Stockton and Darlington. I n the early days of South Australia, there was little infrastructure to support transport in the state. The government in 1840 spent a lot of money to build railway lines. Research the history of South Australia’s railway system and how it impacted on the economy and people at different times. Look at Australia’s railway system today.
  • Compare forms of transport used as a child. Interview different generations to draw comparisons between yourself, a person aged 35-50 and a person aged over 50.
  • Ketches played an important part in the early days of South Australia, with one of the most well-known ketches being the Annie Watt. Many of these vessels were brought to Australia in kit form, and assembled in South Australia. Identify the features that make a ketch unique and find information about the role of ketches and transport of cargo in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Analysing and using sources:
  • Survey students in your class / school to find out the forms of transport used to travel to school each day, (walking, car, bus, train, bike or other). Record your results using tally marks and collate your data. Use a Microsoft Excel spread sheet to record your data.
  • Invite students to bring in a photograph / picture of a form of transport. Pair students to complete a Venn diagram, comparing the two forms of transport.
Perceptions and interpretations:
  • Mary Thomas makes reference to seeing a ‘sort of caravan, resembling a London omnibus.’ Read Mary’s blog to learn more about this vehicle and sketch a picture to show what she was referring to.
  • Select a form of transport from the past and complete a BAR (bigger, add, remove). Draw a picture and include a written description for each aspect.
Explanation and communication:
  • As a whole class activity students are given a range of transport timetables to view and compare journeys. Teach students how to read a timetable that is relevant to your location, including the planning of a trip.
  • Use Google Earth to explore the different transport options from one location to another. Identify which form of transport is the fastest and most efficient.
  • Create a book about transport for a younger class in the school. Each student selects one form of transport and writes ‘what am I?’ clues for their chosen form of transport. These clues should enable the reader to give an informed and accurate answer.
  • Based on your prior knowledge, invent a new form of transport that could get you to school in the future. Sketch and label your vehicle and include a description as to how it might work.


Activity Suggestions:

  1. Sailing ships have been used for hundreds of years and are still a form of transport used today. Explore the world of sailing, and identify how it has changed over the years. Through science experiments, invite students to make a model of a sailing vessel. Conduct tests to check buoyancy and efficiency.
  2. Explore the transport website to identify forms of transport from the past and into the future. Develop a PowerPoint slideshow to show the changes that have occurred in the past 175 years. You might look at a range of transport types or identify the changes that have occurred in one specific form.
  3. There were no motor vehicles in 1836, and it was not until 1885 that a German man, Karl Benz built the first motor vehicle with an internal combustion engine. At this time there were less than 1000 petrol driven cars in the world, but today there are more than 750 million vehicles. If this trend continues, it is estimated that there will be double the number of vehicles in the next 30 years. Work in a small group to identify the pros and cons of using and owning a motor vehicle / car. How do cars impact on the environment and what will be the effects of so many vehicles in the future? What is your stance on the use of so many vehicles? Develop a written piece that persuades others to take the same stance as you.
  4. The National Motor Museum has explored the Talbot, the first car to be driven from one end of Australia to the other. Explore the museum's website to learn about the history of vehicles in Australia.
  5. Did you know the first bicycle was made by Germany's Baron von Drais and was made out of wood. Examine the history of the bicycle. Hold a bike day at school. Some of your activities might include inviting students to bring in their bikes, learning how to change a tyre and fix a puncture and exploring bike safety.
  6. Look at a map of your local area. Identify the forms of transport that are currently available and mark these routes on your map (eg. cycle paths, train / bus routes, etc). Are these resources sufficient? Can you think of other forms of transport / infrastructure that could make your journeys more efficient?
  7. Organise a class excursion for the day. The purpose of your excursion is to travel on as many different forms of transport as possible in the one day. You might include a trip to the South Australian Maritime Museum, take a Port River cruise onboard the historic police launch, the Archie Badenoch and return to the museum to learn about the importance of ketches in the early years of South Australia.

What if?

Our ships were unable to make stop overs at ports such as Cape Town? How would this affect the journey to South Australia and could it have been completed without such stops?


What do you think?

Consider the following statements and form your own opinion:
-  It is more adventurous to travel in a sailing ship than it is to travel in a motorised vessel.
-  People were fitter and healthier in 1836 as they did not have access to the transport available today.


Stay Tuned:

A number of ships have now arrived in South Australia. Next week we will start to look at life in the new colony. We learn of Stephen’s plans for an ‘Agricultural Establishment’ to be set up at Yankallila. What does this mean and how does money and funding influence decisions and development in the early years of South Australia?

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