Indigenous Service Commemoration through Poetry workbook

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We've designed this workbook to introduce students to the service of First Nations people through poetry. Poetry, literature and the arts are important tools for commemorating the service and sacrifice of Australians who have served in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations. The activities will help students to develop an appreciation of how poetry or other forms of storytelling can be used as a form of commemoration.

Cecil Fisher served in the Australian Army during the Korean War. In 1993, he wrote the poem 'Black Anzac' to commemorate all Indigenous military personnel who have served Australia. Cecil wrote more than 300 poems, many of which share his experiences during the war. His poems reflect on themes of racism, mateship and the experiences of Indigenous service men and women.

This workbook links to information pages, books, videos and biographies elsewhere on this website.

Series: Indigenous Service Workbooks
Access a designed version to download or print

Teacher notes

Download the teacher notes [PDF 1.5MB]

Teaching sensitivities

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.

Australian Curriculum

This workbook link to the Australian Curriculum (Version 8.4).

Year 7 English

Identify and explore ideas and viewpoints about events, issues and characters represented in texts drawn from different historical, social and cultural contexts.

Year 8 English

Explore the interconnectedness of Country/Place, People, Identity and Culture in texts including those by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander authors.

Learning intentions

Through this workbook, students will:

  • understand cultural influences in poetry
  • recognise poetry as a form of storytelling.


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