Harnessing SITU360's VR education technology, Virtual Excursion: Convict Times is an immersive online history lesson that transports students (Kindergarten to Year 4) from their home or classroom to Cockatoo Island’s convict era (1839-69)! Importantly, it has been designed to activate children’s imaginations and encourage them to use primary and secondary sources. To register, complete the form on this page.
Cockatoo Island has an incredible history. It was first used by the Eora People as a site to gather food and perform ceremonies. Later, in 1839, it transformed into a convict prison, the remnants of which still exist today!
Virtual excursion: Convict Times enables children to virtually explore the island’s convict site, which includes the only remaining example, nationally, of a convict-built dry dock. In 2010, the site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List together with 10 other convict sites in Australia.
This excursion charts the thirty-year history of Cockatoo Island’s convict penal establishment (1839 to 1869) and links it to Australia’s historical narrative, including the development of the NSW colony.
Students will learn about the impacts of the First Fleet and rapid changes and developments between 1788 and 1869. Importantly, the virtual excursion will activate children’s imaginations, encouraging them to discover the Island’s stories by engaging with primary and secondary sources.
This excursion is suitable for students in Kindergarten through to Year 4. It aligns with the History Syllabus in stages 1 and 2 and also has particular relevance to the suggested Stage 2 HSIE unit of work ‘British Colonisation’.
Convict Times is also available as an on-site excursion incorporating outdoor exploration, role-play and dress up. A second on-site excursion is also available: Then, Now and Tomorrow also incorporates role-play and dress up; however, it focuses on the major historical developments (including community actions) that led the island to transform from a convict penal establishment into a vibrant cultural destination.
Both excursions support several key syllabus areas of the NSW Curriculum and have been designed to foster enquiry-based learning. Critically, students will have fun as they interact with historical artefacts from different eras and explore one of the most extraordinary places on Sydney Harbour.