Health and Physical Education

The overview of this learning area invites students “to explore the importance of family and kinship structures for maintaining and promoting health, safety and wellbeing within their community and the wider community” (ACARA, 2015). Besides some game stories in the Living Archive (such as books on building toy cars (Wilton, 2005) and playing marbles (Rice, 1994b)), there are also a number of books relating to sports, such as football (Kámbaladda, 1984; Kintharri, 1980), and basketball (Rice, 1994a). Researching a topic such as the role of football and other sports in Indigenous communities would make interesting classroom project.

Family and kinship structures are a common theme in the archive materials, and their connection to health, safety and well-being are exemplified in books such as Mununggurr (n.d.) which describes the dangers of drinking and its effect on family and culture.

A useful activity would be to explore different perspectives on some of the health issues affecting Indigenous communities around Australia, and see how these are presented from the perspective of the Indigenous people themselves, including discussion of how sickness is caused. The archive contains books which address discuss common diseases such as trachoma (Boulden, et al, 1989), scabies (Gununwanga & Miwulga, n.d.) and books about the health of eyes (Patrick & Jagamara, 1978) and ears (Rrikawuku, 1993), including simple instructions for children to stay healthy, based on initiatives such as Breathe, Blow, Cough (Kurdu-kurdu Nyinanjaku Pirrjirdi, 2005; see also Fatnowna, 2008). There are books about the danger of things such as flies (Gununwanga, 1993) and general books about food and health such as Garidjalalug & Zampech (1977) which describes good foods to eat (both bush foods and western-style foods) and warn against too much fat and sugar in the diet.


Taken from Bow, C. (2016). Using authentic language resources to incorporate Indigenous knowledges across the Australian Curriculum. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 20, 20–39. Available from