Our Look At The World: Australia

Ahhhhh! Australia, the land down under, oz baby! I have had a complete passion for this magnificent country ever since I was about fourteen.  We travelled to Sydney for a family get together/holiday and I have been besotted ever since!

Imagine my joy when one day last week Livvy choose to look at Oz for our next “our World” adventure. :)

Our World: Australia

So armed with our Aussie flags and Daddy’s Didgeridoo’s we packed our imaginary suitcases and headed to the land down under…….

It is believed that Aborigines first arrived in Oz from Malaysia around 40,000 years ago.  The aboriginal way of life; their culture (music, art etc.) is thought to be the amongst the longest surviving traditions in the history of humans!  Fast forward to 1606 a Dutch chappie that went by the name of Willem Janszoon landed on the Australian shores.  The influx of Dutch explorers landing in Oz (specifically the West and South Coast) dubbed the new found island ‘ New Holland’ .

Captain James Cook navigated his way to the East Coast of Oz and went back to Britain with the notion that Botany Bay should be colonised as New South Wales.  It was in 1788 that British ships landed on the shore of the New South Wales and penal colony was formed over the following 100 years.

In it’s history Australia has seen gold rushes, an budding agricultural industry and the rise of a democratic nation .  Now we enter the modern day, Australia has fought beside the allied forces in two world wars. Endured the influx of migrants which saw it’s population triple “in six decades to around 21 million in 2010, with people originating from 200 countries sustaining the world’s 14th largest economy” ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Australia).  Still today if you ask people where in the world they would like to visit Australia would be one of the highest returned answers. :)

Livvy had such fun looking at the similarities and differences in climates, people and culture between here in South Africa and Australia.  You know what she discovered… there are more similarities than anything else!  Oz, like here, has a warm climate (generally speaking – although like here in SA it also sees a more localized climate changes dependent on where you are in the country!)  It is abundant in wildlife, has mountains, rivers, desert and a wondrous coastal line. :D

Here are a couple of links to the websites that I used when compiling our Australia themed unit study:

Our World: Australia

http://australianativeart.com/ - You simply could not study Australia and not look at Aboriginal art!! I found pictures of Aussie animals, printed the images and Livvy got to work with some wooden kebab sticks and different colors of paint and made her own Aboriginal picture !

http://www.coloring.ws/kangaroos.htm - Kangaroo Coloring Page

http://kidsfront.com/animals/platypus.html - Duck-Billed Platypus colouring page and information about the animal

http://www.primarytreasurechest.com/images/stories/resources/Matching%20Cards%20-%20Animals%20-%20Australian.pdf  – A truly fabulous site – downloadable animal matching cards that you can use in a discussion about the wonderful wildlife that inhabits Australia.

http://www.coloring.ws/australia.htm - This link will take you to some pictures of all things Aussie!  I used it to print out our Australian flag for Livvy to color.

Interestingly, did you know what the stars on the Aussie flag represent???  Well, obviously in the upper left corner it has the Union Jack, but the flag also contains six stars… the large seven pointed star is the Commonwealth star and the other make up the Southern Cross Constellation :D

Music is a massive part of the Aboriginal culture, so we headed over to YouTube to see if we could find so cool didge music – this is the one we had playing in the background when we cooked some fabulous Aussie Biscuits (recipe coming up next!!!)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81vLopFB3wI

As always Livvy and I like to cook something that is unique to the country that we are studying.  In the case of Oz we baked some completely scrummy Anzac biscuits, though it has to be said it was a tough call between those, Lamingtons and Pavlova ;)

Anzac Biscuits

Anzac Biscuits

Commonly associated with the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (or ANZAC).   Many believe that these biscuit were sent by the wives of soldiers who were working away from the Aussie shores.  To see more of the history about this scrumptious biscuit click here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anzac_biscuit

Ingredients 

1 cup plain flour

1 cup oats

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup desiccated coconut

125g butter

2 tbs golden syrup

1 tbs water

1/2 tsp bicarb

How to Make

Pre-heat oven to 170 ºC

  1. Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the sugar, coconut and oats
  2. In a heavy bottomed saucepan over a low-medium heat melt the butter
  3. Once melted add the golden syrup and water
  4. Next stir in the bicarb
  5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine well
  6. On a greased baking tray (or you can lie a baking tray with baking paper) place small walnut sized dollops of your mixture
  7. Place in the oven for around 15 – 20 mins, the biscuits will harden when they are out of the oven and ave cooled
  8. Enjoy with a nice cup of tea! :)

These seriously are the NICEST biscuit/cookies I have ever tasted, needless to say they didn’t last long!!!

There you have it !  A brief look at Australia with some lovely little projects to do with your children :D

Who knows where we shall be off to on our next adventure….you shall have to wait and see ;)

Resources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Australia

http://www.bestrecipes.com.au/recipe/anzac-biscuits-L79.html

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