William Street Public School Tour

"Sense of Place" Tour For Children of Refugee Families.

"Sense of Place" Tour For Children of Refugee Families.

Granville Historical Society received funding from Parramatta City Council for a project to organise  tours for the children of refugee parents who were newly arrived in Granville, they were given show bags filled with facts about the Parramatta Female Factory, the meaning of ANZAC Day,  the meaning of the R.S.L Badge and the symbols, brochures about Parramatta and an Australian Flag.

The second class to tour went 21st November 2016. It was conducted by Judith Dunn OAM from "Past Times Tours" who designed unique educational tours to suit the needs of the children. This Project was a ground breaking event, and some of the lessons learnt was not all history: 

There were safety lessons on sitting down in a bus and putting your seat belts on.  Not opening windows while travelling and various things that are experienced.

The students had varying ability at language. They just could not sit still but ambled about and got into mischief if they could.

The tour guide Judith Dunn showed them a mixture of many things these were:

  • A sense of place
  • Some background to Australian history
  • What is Community?
  • Aboriginal stories
  • Australian Ecology
  • Migration stories to show they are in a long line of people to arrive in Australia from other countries.
  • Australian History was treated by visiting the Female Factory and driving past Hambledon Cottage, Elizabeth Farm and Experiment Farm and telling their stories.  Also explained how the influence of other countries shaped our buildings (Indian bungalow and verandah)
  • We looked out for police cars, fire engines and ambulances and explained what each one was for – to help our community in many ways.  We also drove past the police station and told them these people will help you if you have a problem or are worried about something.  We went to Parramatta Park and Parramatta Lake to see where our community can play and picnic, ride bikes or swim with their families.
  • Aboriginal stories were brought into the conversation in many places – Parramatta Park, Parramatta Lake, telling the students what they ate and how they lived, why our city is called Parramatta.
  • Australian ecology was shown at Parramatta Lake where the Bushcare workers were asked to give a brief idea to the students about what they were doing – taking out weeds plants and putting back plants that belong in the area.  They were shown the bat colony on the river and we walked to a tree that was losing its bark and explained in Australia some trees lose their bark and not their leaves.  We saw the confluence of salt and fresh water in the Parramatta River.  When a Koel bird called over our heads the students were told that bird had come from another land to visit Australia for summer (from NZ) so there were many ways to show migration.  We looked at and smelt the fig trees in the park, very heavy scented in the summer heat. 
  • Lastly we visited All Saints Cemetery to view the bronze plaques made of the burial register.  There the students picked out names on the plaques that showed people coming from other countries and the date eg Ah Chou, Ah Fung, Jabadallah, Bo Ong, Francois De Low (French) Kitty (Aboriginal name) etc
  • When telling tales about the different sites, the guide had to be careful how she phrased stories of prison, being locked up, flogging stories, or stories where convicts married the day they met (not unusual for some of the cultures)  Without any sort of questioning they offered glimpses of their past lives.  Because of their stories we skipped stories of hangings on gaol green and not much mention of soldiers as they may have seen fighting.  We are not sure what they learnt but the guide learnt a lot from listening to their stories, about trauma before they came here and understood their restlessness.  We would be bored if we could not understand everything that was being said.

We are sure they had a good day and went back to school with a colouring book we had developed with questions about what we had seen to reinforce the ideas.     PLAY A VIDEO FEMALE CONVICTS

Judith Dunn OAM.

For more information about the Parramatta Female Factory click this link:

 To access the Save Parramatta Female Factory Website.


To access the Facebook for Save Parramatta Female Factory