Teachers should note that some of the situations recounted in this resource from different times may use terminology or describe experiences and perspectives that are confronting or considered inappropriate today. This includes the treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and descriptions of wars and conflicts. Teachers are advised to be sensitive to the perspectives and emotions of students while using this resource.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that the following stories contain the names and images of people who have died.
Through these activities students will:
- be able to name a member of the Lovett family and recall details about them from reading the text (for example, age, occupation before service, role during service)
- understand possible reasons for enlisting
- understand the Soldier Settlement Scheme
- recognise that more than 20 members from the Lovett family have served Australia in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.
Generations of service – the Lovett family digibook has been written for students from 8 to 12 years old or Year 3 to Year 6. It is also for anyone interested in learning more about the service of Australia’s First Nations peoples in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations since early in the 20th century.
It focuses on the Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) curriculum area in the Australian Curriculum.
The Australian Curriculum links (ACARA) 8.4 version covered by this resource are:
HASS Year 3
Inquiry and skills: Researching
- Locate and collect information and data from different sources, including observations ACHASSI053
- Record, sort and represent data and the location of places and their characteristics in different formats, including simple graphs, tables and maps, using discipline-appropriate conventions ACHASSI054
Knowledge and Understanding: History
- How the community has changed and remained the same over time and the role that people of diverse backgrounds have played in the development and character of the local community ACHASSK063
HASS Year 4
Inquiry and skills: Researching
- Locate and collect information and data from different sources, including observations ACHASSI074
- Record, sort and represent data and the location of places and their characteristics in different formats, including simple graphs, tables and maps, using discipline-appropriate conventions ACHASSI075
HASS Year 5
Inquiry and skills: Researching
- Organise and represent data in a range of formats including tables, graphs and large- and small-scale maps, using discipline-appropriate conventions ACHASSI096
HASS Year 6
Inquiry and skills: Researching
- Organise and represent data in a range of formats including tables, graphs and large- and small-scale maps, using discipline-appropriate conventions ACHASSI124
Knowledge and Understanding: History
- Experiences of Australian democracy and citizenship, including the status and rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, migrants, women and children ACHASSK135
- The contribution of individuals and groups to the development of Australian society since Federation ACHASSK137
Using the digibook and workbook
This digibook and the related student workbook activities correlate with the Cross Curriculum Priorities: The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures (Version 8.4).
Both are designed to be accessible for a wide range of abilities and year levels.
Teachers may choose to present the digibook on an interactive whiteboard to encourage group discussion and research based on personal interest. Older students might work alongside a younger ‘buddy’, using a tablet or laptop to access the digibook. This digibook is not a comprehensive look at all members of the Lovett family who have served Australia. It covers a small selection only.
Student activity pages
Six student activities accompany the digibook. These pages are designed to assist teachers who choose to pursue learning about this topic beyond reading and discussing the digibook. Teachers may select individual activity pages or choose to complete the entire workbook with students. The following activities are free to download and print from this website:
1. Indigenous service: Complete and illustrate
In this activity, students consider what they have read and why the Lovett family’s extraordinary service history is important. Students are required to complete the sentence ‘The Lovett family has an important place in Australia’s history because…’ and illustrate their point.
2. Indigenous service: Design a memorial
Through this activity, students explore commemoration by designing their own memorial for the Lovett family. If a student knows about their own family service history they may choose to design a memorial in honour of a family member.
3. Indigenous service: graphic organiser cube
Using a net of a cube, students select one member of the Lovett family and respond to six questions (one for each side of the cube). Students can decorate the net, cut it out and assemble it as a cube. Teachers may choose to display the cubes in the classroom.
4. Indigenous service: record interesting facts
In this activity, students choose which facts in the digibook were interesting and they record them in their own words. This will help identify what students have understood from reading the book as well as any topics or thoughts that may require further discussion.
5. Indigenous service: write a letter
This is an empathy activity designed to help students explore what life was like for those who served. Students are asked to imagine that they are a family member of someone mentioned in the book and to write to them while they are serving overseas. Older students may do some research on the Anzac Portal for their letter. The Anzac Portal has pages explaining the history of Australia’s involvement in wars and peacekeeping operations as well as specific pages about the service of First Nations Australians.
6. Indigenous service: newspaper report
This activity asks students to take what they have learnt in the digibook and use it to write a report. They are encouraged to imagine they have interviewed a member of the Lovett family to add interest to their report. Students are encouraged to use the structure of a report.
The Gunditjmara people are the traditional owners of the land in south-west Victoria. They lived and worked on this land for many thousands of years before colonisation.
In the colony of Victoria in the 1800s there were years of violent clashes over land rights. These were fought between the Gunditjmara people and the British colonists and are known as the Eumeralla Wars. The Eumeralla Wars led to the founding of the Lake Condah mission (also known as Condah mission) in 1867 by Church of England missionaries. The Land Act of 1869 meant this land was reserved for the use of First Australians. They were very protective of the area, caring for it using traditional methods. Many Indigenous families come from the Lake Condah area, including the Lovett family.
The Aboriginal Protection Act of 1869 was the beginning of wider controls over the lives of First Australians. From 1871 more rules were introduced about what First Australians could do, who they could marry, and where they could work and live. The Central Board for the Protection of Aborigines in the colony of Victoria had the power to remove First Nations children from their families. Parents lived in constant fear of having their family split up. People who were identified by authorities as being ‘half-caste’ were also removed from missions and reserves, and forced to live in non-Indigenous communities. This was the beginning of what is known as the Stolen Generations.
When the First World War began in 1914, strong, fit and healthy young Australians were encouraged to enlist. There were many challenges for First Australians who tried to sign up. Regulations at the time meant they were discriminated against because of the colour of their skin or who their parents were. They were excluded from
service if they were considered ‘not substantially of European origin or descent’. Official records do not accurately reflect the number of First Nations Australians who served in the First World War. Individuals may have lied about their background to be accepted. As enlistment regulations eased during the war years, more Indigenous people were able to enlist and serve in the war.
The many reasons for trying to enlist included to serve their country, regular work and income to support family, travel and to be treated with greater equality.
The Soldier Settlement Scheme was set up for soldiers returning to Australia following their service in the First World War. Under the Scheme land was leased to those who returned home to provide them with a place to live, land to farm and a way to earn an income. Very few returned First Nations servicemen were granted land. None of the five Lovett brothers were given land. This was compounded by the fact that the Lake Condah Aboriginal Mission was split up for the Scheme and those blocks of land were granted to non-Indigenous returned servicemen. The traditional owners who had been in residence were forced from the land to make way for the Soldier Settlement Scheme. Lake Condah mission lands were returned to their traditional owners in 1987.
Before Federation in 1901 First Nations Australians could vote at the state level in all states except Queensland and Western Australia. The first federal electoral Act of 1902 prohibited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from voting at federal and state elections. First Nations Australians have always protested and fought against these injustices. In 1962 the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 gave all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples the option to enrol and vote in federal elections. By 1967 Australians voted in a referendum to change the constitution so that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people would be counted as part of the population. It wasn’t until 1984 that First Australians were required to enrol and vote in elections like other voters.
The Lovett family are very well represented in Australia’s military history. In 2000, Lovett Tower in Woden, Canberra was named in honour of the significant involvement of so many members from the same family.
appendicitis An illness in which a person’s appendix is infected and painful.
Army Reserves Personnel who work to support the full-time Army in protecting Australia and assisting communities in times of need, such as floods and fires.
discharged When a person is officially allowed to leave or told they must leave one of the services, a hospital or a prison.
dismounted Having gotten down off something, such as a horse or a bicycle.
enlist in To join a country’s military force, such as the army – enlisted in, enlisting in; also enlistment
Great War Later known as the First World War, the Great War commenced for the British Empire on 4 August 1914 and ended on 11 November 1918. It was called ‘great’ because it involved so many people and so much suffering that most people believed such a war could never happen again.
lease A legal agreement by which the owner of a building, land or another possession (for example, a car), allows someone else to use it for a period of time in return for money.
mess A large area where a particular group of people, especially members of the armed forces, eat meals together.
recruitment The process of selecting a person for a position in an organisation and persuading them to join.
reinforcements Extra people in a military force who are sent to help or to replace those who have been killed or wounded.
runner A person who takes messages from one place to another, on foot or using a vehicle, during a battle or an invasion.
service The work done by people in the defence forces, supporting organisations and their equipment during times of peace and conflict.
troopship A ship that carries a large number of soldiers from one place to another
Western Front The name given to the two opposing trench lines that ran more than 700 kilometres from the Belgian coast, through France, to the Swiss border, during the First World War.
Beaumont J and Cadzow A (editors) (2018) Serving our Country: Indigenous Australians, war, defence and citizenship, NewSouth Books, UNSW Sydney.
Cadzow A and Jebb MA (2019) Our Mob Served: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories of war and defending Australia, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra.
Grant L and Bell M (2018) For Country, for Nation: An illustrated history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander military service, NewSouth Books, UNSW Sydney.
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)
National Archives of Australia
Deadly Story – Aboriginal Culture, Country and Community
Links to further information
On our website
Australian Indigenous service during World War I
Battle of Pozières 23 July to 3 September 1916
First Australian Imperial Force in World War I
Third Battle of Ypres 31 July to 10 November 1917
Australian Light Horse in World War I
Japanese landing and defeat at Milne Bay
INTERFET: History in Focus - Anzac Portal
Missions, stations and reserves - AIATSIS
Indigenous service in Australia's armed forces in peace and war - Australian War Memorial
12th Australian Infantry Battalion - Australian War Memorial
39th Australian Infantry Battalion - Australian War Memorial
Soldier settlement after the First World War - Australian War Memorial
The Lovett family - classroom resource - Australian War Memorial
Indigenous Australians’ right to vote - National Museum of Australia
Lake Condah Mission - Budj Bim Cultural Landscape
Lake Condah Mission - Deadly Story
The lost souls of Condah who joined the Anzacs - Sydney Morning Herald 2015
Even dynamite could not destroy the people of the Budj Bim stones - The Age 2015
Telling the forgotten stories of Indigenous servicemen in the first world war - The Conversation 2019
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.