Online resources for teaching commemoration and wartime history
With many schools engaged in remote or online learning, we want to help. Here's a selection of our most popular online resources for teaching and learning:
- commemoration in primary schools
- History or HASS in secondary schools.
We hope it's of use to you during periods of lockdown - or simply for home learning.
Education specialists and qualified historians who work at the Australian Government Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) have prepared these materials for Australian school teachers. They present real experiences and images of people who have served Australia in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.
Presentations for smartboards and tablets
We have engaging digital books for primary and secondary levels. Help your students learn about commemoration and Australia's wartime history.
- Here They Come - A Day to Remember digibook helps students develop an understanding of commemoration - based on our popular Big Book.
- Why We Remember: P-3 Commemoration slide deck explains the difference between 'celebration' and 'commemoration'.
- Symbols of Commemoration digibook explores traditional symbols we see on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.
- Then and Now digibook compares different jobs in the Vietnam War to present-day roles in the Australian Defence Force.
- Generations of Service: The Lovett Family digibook explores some experiences of the Lovett Family, what happened when they returned home and commemoration.
- Peacekeeping and the United Nations digibook explores the role of the United Nations and its peace operations around the world.
- Stories from Vietnam War digibook explores 12 personal stories to help students discover what it was like during the Vietnam War.
Great Debates series
This series helps engage secondary students in classroom investigations of how war and conflicts have affected Australians. Each debate includes a lesson structure, background information and assessment rubric.
- The Anzac Legend
- Australian Women in the Second World War
- Australian media and the Vietnam War
Stories of Service short video series
What better way for students to understand war and conflict than by hearing from those who experienced it?
We have 12 videos designed for students from upper primary to secondary. They each share remarkable stories.
World War I
- Jim Martin was Australia's youngest-serving soldier in World War I, joining when he was only 14 years old.
- Harry Cobby served as a military pilot in 2 world wars with a career spanning more than 30 years.
- Rachael Pratt served as a nurse in World War I and was one of only 8 nurses awarded the Military Medal for 'bravery under fire'.
World War II
- Reg Saunders was the first Indigenous Australian commissioned as an officer in the army.
- Nancy Wake exploited her sense of adventure and undertook the dangerous but vital role as a spy.
- Gordon Wallace shared his experiences and feelings as a young frontline soldier confronted with the reality of war.
- Ellen Savage was a nurse on board the hospital ship Centaur when it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1943.
- Weary Dunlop was a doctor and a soldier who saved many lives while being held a prisoner of war.
- Damian Parer took many risks to film Allied troops in action and show Australians the true nature of combat.
- Alastair Bridges became a pilot with the Royal Australian Air Force and flew helicopters in Vietnam.
- Bill Coolburra served as a sapper in the Army's Australian Engineers in Borneo, Vietnam, Malaya and Singapore.
- Dorothy Drain became editor of the Women’s Weekly and reported on conflicts from Japan, Malaya, Korea and Vietnam.
- The Fab Four Nurses were the first 4 Australian Army nurses to serve in the Vietnam War.
- Thomas Henry 'Buddy' Lea was a First Nations Australian who served in the Australian Defence Force for 35 years.
- Tony Ey became a Navy Clearance Diver during the Vietnam War.
- Cheryl Pearce was a distinguished soldier and peacekeeping leader
- Donald Barnby served as an unarmed peacekeeper with the Australian Federal Police
- Robert Harold-Nimmo is the longest-serving leader of a United Nations operation.
All videos are shorter than 8 minutes.
Veterans' Stories series and short films
We gather stories of ordinary Australians who've had extraordinary experiences. They've served Australia in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations all over the world. The personal reflections captured in these interviews help form our understanding of wartime history. Watch these oral histories:
- Veterans' Stories
- Vietnam War stories
- Australian Veterans' accounts - Kokoda Track
- Short films of veterans from both World Wars
You'll find hundreds of oral history videos and audio files, where veterans share their personal experiences.
In Their Own Words virtual lessons
An educational series to develop students’ understanding of military service, wartime experience and commemoration. We've highlighted topics using interviews from our Veterans’ Stories project. Guide your students through the lessons and encourage discussion on each topic. Educational activities accompany each video.
Expressions: Commemoration through Art series
This series develops students understanding of Australia’s military history through art. Each sheet includes an inquiry-based learning activity. Students can explore:
- The Sock Knitter (World War I)
- Incident In Which Flight Sergeant Rawdon Middleton [VC] Lost His Life (World War II)
- Wounded Gunner from Lae (World War II)
- Long Tan action, Vietnam (Vietnam War)
- Operation Overlord (Vietnam War)
- Two working men, Konyu River Camp (Prisoners of War)
- The Japanese guard takes a ride (Prisoners of War)
- Private Samuel Fejo (World War II)
- Be Deadly - NORFORCE (World War II)
- Peacekeepers in East Timor (Peacekeeping)
- Peacekeeping in the Middle East (Peacekeeping)
Indigenous Service workbooks
Five ready-to-use workbooks introduce students to the military service of First Nations people. You could ask students to complete parts of each workbook in class or as home learning.
- Indigenous Service Commemoration through Poetry workbook
- Indigenous Service Artwork Analysis workbook
- Indigenous Service First World War workbook
- Indigenous Service Second World War workbook
- Indigenous Women Second World War workbook
DVA has produced many books that are available free on the Anzac Portal. Interesting titles include:
- Century of Service series
- Australian Women in War: Service, Courage and Care
- Shifting Tides: Australia and the Pacific in the Second World War
- Keeping the Peace: Investigating Australia's contribution to peacekeeping
- Chinese Anzacs
- M is for Mate - Animals in Wartime from Ajax to Zeps
Get in touch
If you have any questions or comments, you can get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also reach us at this postal address:
Community Engagement Section
Department of Veterans' Affairs
GPO Box 9998
Brisbane QLD 4001