Learning intention

Students examine the modern commentary on issues including the Australian bicentenary and reconciliation through detailed image study.

Students will:

  • Explore the significance of some of the following civil rights issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: 1962 right to vote federally; 1967 Referendum; Reconciliation; Mabo decision; Bringing Them Home Report (the Stolen Generations), the Apology 
  • Process and synthesise information from a range of sources for use as evidence in an historical argument
  • Identify and analyse the perspectives of people from the past 


The following sources illustrate changing attitudes to Indigenous people, and their struggle for rights in Australia. Issues include Reconciliation and the Stolen Generations, land rights and the Australian bicentenary of European settlement.

You can find background information for students in the Indigenous rights section of Explore history and the Select resources section of Learn skills.


Primary sources on ergo:

Single image study - student template [Word 11.88 KB]
Comparing images - student template [Word 15.39 KB]


Look at the images detailed above in small groups or as individuals using an image study template. Use questions below to guide discussion:

  • Which events in Australia's indigenous history influenced the image you're studying?
  • What is the artist trying to say about the way indigenous Australians are treated?
  • Why has the artist chosen to create a cartoon/badge/poster etc. to communicate their message?
  • What can you find out about the artist? Try Googling them. Does this change the way you interpret the image? Why?


Michael Leunig cartoon depicts the treatment of Indigenous people over time.
Poster commenting on the issue of Aboriginal reconciliation in Australia.
Political cartoon addressing the Howard government's attitude to reconciliation.