Understanding the Frontier Wars

SBS documentary, The Australian Wars. Source: SBS Australia

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Year Level

Year 9Year 10Year 11Year 12

Cross Curriculum Priorities

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures

Relevent Subjects

Humanities & Social Sciences


By Culture is Life

In Partnership With

Blackfella Films logo
Culture is life logo

23/08/2022 – UPDATED 13/09/2023

This resource accompanies the SBS documentary The Australian Wars (produced by Blackfella Films) about the Frontier Wars – Australia’s longest war fought on home soil between 1790 and the 1940s.

SBS Learn strongly advises completing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols Guide – for Teachers before engaging with this teaching resource. This is essential to establishing a safe and culturally enriching learning environment for all students.

The resource includes:

  • Documentaries as a form of filmmaking;
  • Classroom-ready clips from the series launching each week as the three episodes air on SBS and NITV, and covering important issues raised in the selected clips;
  • Year 9: Understanding the movement of people, the short- and long-term effects of colonisation;
  • Year 10: Exploring text and resources from the documentary and analysing historical interpretations of these documents;
  • Years 11 & 12: Explore British Imperialism and the Industrial Revolution and examine impacts then and now;
  • Reflection questions to encourage deep thinking;
  • Classroom activities to enrich learning;
  • Expert guidance on cultural protocols; and
  • Further resources to build more in-depth lesson plans.

We recommend you pre-screen the full-length episode before using in class. Head to SBS On Demand for personal viewing. For classroom viewing of whole episodes, please visit ClickView, or your school’s resource centre (for example Wingaru, Informit etc).

Content warning: The documentary is classified M, and the clips selected in this resource are classified PG. The clips are intended to be previewed by teachers before sharing with students.

SBS would like to advise this teaching resource may contain the images, voices and names of deceased persons, which may be distressing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The resource was made with support from Shark Island Foundation.

Australian Curriculum

Cross-Curriculum Priorities
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures

General Capabilities
Critical and Creative Thinking
Ethical Understanding
Intercultural Understanding

Australian Curriculum Links
Year 9:

Year 10:
History (Depth Study – Rights and freedoms): ACDSEH104ACDSEH106ACDSEH134ACDSEH143
Historical Skills: ACHHS187ACHHS188ACHHS189ACHHS190ACHHS191ACHHS193

Years 11 & 12:
Modern History (Unit 1 – Understanding the Modern World): ACHMH001ACHMH005ACHMH010ACHMH011ACHMH040ACHMH045
Modern History (Unit 2 – Recognition and rights of Indigenous peoples): ACHMH070ACHMH071ACHMH073ACHMH075ACHMH076

RETRIEVED understanding-the-frontier-wars

1 thought on “Understanding the Frontier Wars

  1. Whether or not all Australians know of this (hidden) part of our history, today’s #Referendum2023 is a step in making up for past wrongs. Similar to the continued habits of major institutions delaying CSA alternatives, now all of our voting-public can ‘direct the ship’!

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