• Engraving of 'Pimbloy' believed to be of Pemulwuy by Samuel John Neele (State Library of Victoria)Source: State Library of Victoria
One of Australia’s most feared but largely unknown resistance fighters, Pemulwuy, could soon have his legacy taught in schools throughout New South Wales.
Ryan Liddle

21 Jul 2016 - 11:35 AM  UPDATED 21 Jul 2016 - 12:39 PM

Major new changes to the HSC syllabus will see NSW students being taught more about indigenous role models and culture.

The new history electives will study people who changed Australia, including Aboriginal activists such as Pemulwuy,  Faith Bandler, Eddie Mabo, and Charlie Perkins.

Pemulwuy fought against British colonialists at the onset of European settlement, with the landing of the First Fleet in Botany back in 1788.

A member of the Eora people of the greater Sydney area, Pemulwuy waged a 12 -ear resistance against the British occupation, countering their superior numbers and firepower with guerrilla style tactics.

The governor at the time, Sir Arthur Phillip, launched several military expeditions with marines ordered into surrounding bushland to find Pemulwuy.

But Pemulwuy became a legend for uniting neighbouring clans such as Dharug and Tharawal to join his fight against the British. Together they raided many early settlements, from Parramatta to the Hawkesbury River, often burning crops and killing livestock.

After eventually being shot and killed in 1802 Pemulwuy’s remains were taken to England. Despite calls from Sydney’s Aboriginal community, his remains have not been located nor repatriated.

Rich history such as this will soon feature in the HSC. Students will also be taught more about Asia, feminism and the environment under the sweeping reforms to the English and history curriculums, released by the NSW Board of Studies.


Aboriginal languages absent in senior high schools
Less than a dozen year 12 students across Australia are studying an Aboriginal language subject as part of their final year of schooling, with several states having no schools that run traditional language classes at a senior secondary level.

Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards President Tom Alegounarias, announcing the changes to 17 draft English, Mathematics, History and Science syllabuses for Years 11 and 12, said the board “recognises the need for students to have opportunities for a richer engagement in the subjects they choose for their senior years of school.

 "Increasing content depth also supports more analytical assessment enabling us to also redesign High School Certificate (HSC) exam questions."

The draft syllabus states: "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures includes the study of ideas that have influenced movements for change, the progress towards recognition and equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the focus of continued efforts.

"In the study of Modern History this understanding is deepened through the study of other indigenous peoples and through the exploration of their interaction with others."

It says teachers will be encouraged to consider involving local Aboriginal communities when designing their courses.

A mandatory writing unit focusing on grammar, spelling and punctuation will be included across all the English courses, while a study of statistics will be included in all maths courses.

The new courses will be released next year to give teachers a chance to familiarise themselves and the content will be taught first to Year 11 students in 2018.


Comment: Why Indigenous knowledge has a place in the school science curriculum
Is Indigenous knowledge important in education? Can it be discussed in the formal science curriculum?