Teacher guide Message sticks: rich ways of weaving Aboriginal cultures into the Australian Curriculum

TLF ID M013028

This is a resource about Aboriginal message sticks. Written by Narinda Sandry and intended for teachers, it describes how message sticks were inscribed with symbols and signs to allow messages to be understood by different Aboriginal groups and language speakers. It outlines the cultural contexts within which message sticks were used and suggests that students in the early years could make their own message sticks to signify their identity to others. The resource is illustrated by the Indigenous Languages Map and by historical and contemporary message sticks and some examples made by children. Links to additional information are also included.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This is useful background information for teachers. It is relevant to a range of content descriptions in the year 1 English curriculum and the years 2-4 history curriculum, including those about: how people use different systems of communication for different purposes; how people communicated in the past; the diversity of Australia's first peoples; the importance of Country to Aboriginal peoples belonging to a local area and the implications for their daily lives.
  • The resource is equally useful for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures cross-curriculum priority. It is particularly relevant for the priority's organising ideas that Aboriginal societies have many language groups and that Aboriginal communities maintain a special connection to and responsibility for Country. Not only does Narinda Sandry describe the function of message sticks in an environment of many different languages but she also includes a discussion of the significance of Country and the ancestral beings connected to it.
  • The suggestion that children create their own message sticks is likely to engage students in the early and lower primary years. It may also enable them to develop and enhance their historical skills in using a range of communication forms including graphic forms.
Year level

1; 2; 3; 4

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: Education Services Australia
  • Organization: Education Services Australia
  • Description: Data manager
  • Address: VIC, AUSTRALIA
  • URL: http://www.esa.edu.au/
  • Copyright Holder
  • Name: The State of Queensland (Queensland Museum)
  • Organization: The State of Queensland (Queensland Museum)
  • Publisher
  • Name: The State of Queensland (Queensland Museum)
  • Organization: The State of Queensland (Queensland Museum)
  • Description: Publisher
  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
  • URL: www.esa.edu.au
Access profile
  • Unknown
Learning Resource Type
  • Online
  • © The State of Queensland (Queensland Museum). This material may be used and reproduced free of charge for non-commercial educational purposes, provided all acknowledgements are retained.