Representing and Commemorating History

Burke and Wills Memorial Fountain

Yesterday, Sovereign Hill, together with our project partners: City of Ballarat, Heritage Victoria, DEECD and the Royal Society of Victoria received a commendation at the Victorian Community History Awards for our project around the Burke and Wills Memorial Fountain in Ballarat.  We were thrilled to receive the recognition for this collaborative project and would like to encourage schools to use this as a model to get involved with their local history.

Value of Local History

Often Local History is forgotten within the broader context of national history, but this need not be the case.  This project, which centred around the research, retrieval and reinternment of a time capsule, shows that there are often strong links in local history to the national story.  The connection between Ballarat, gold and the Burke and Wills expedition is very strong.  There are many other examples around Victoria of local stories, identities and monuments connecting to our national history.

Studying local history with students can lead to students identifying more strongly with the material.  It can often be more immediately relevant and offer more opportunities for active involvement.

How to study Local History

As part of the Burke and Wills Fountain project Sovereign Hill Education produced an education resource. The resource provides background information, teaching ideas, links and resources to support the study of local history with students.  It also uses the project as an example of how to link local history to national history.  Four Ballarat Primary Schools (Dana Street, Lal Lal, St Alipius and St Patrick’s Parish School) got involved with the project and the students have found the experience very valuable.

Ballarat students examining  the contents of the Time Capsule on display at the Gold Museum

The next event

On Monday 24th October, marking the beginning of History Week the time capsule will be reinterred in the fountain with contributions from the Council and Local schools.

5 responses to “Representing and Commemorating History

  1. Well done! This has been a great project in helping students understand their local heritage and how it connects to this intriguing part of our national story. The new time capsule is being put in the fountain on Monday morning, packed with material from the students for their colleagues in the future, a letter from the Mayor, Cr Fletcher, and so much more.

  2. Congratulations fellow commendation-ers! And, a terrific blog. We’d be happy to link to your education resource from our Burke and Wills story if you like. It’s here:

  3. Pingback: Museums Australia Conference – Reflections from Day 3 | Thornypebble's Pond

  4. Pingback: Australian History in the Australian Curriculum | Sovereign Hill Education

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