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Program Overview

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A brief program overview

Through immersion in an extended two-day role-play, students learn about the differences between their own lives and education and the experiences of their counterparts on the Victorian goldfields. Costumed role-play and observation of 1850s etiquette help students re-create the lives of these children.

During lessons, students use slate pencils, dip pens and ink. Based on the Irish National School Curriculum, which was widely used in Australia during the 1850s, the school day may include reading, writing, poetry, arithmetic, grammar and geography. At recess, students enjoy 19th century games with marbles, spinning tops and knucklebones. Visits to some of the trades and businesses within Sovereign Hill’s township further enrich their experience and understanding of goldfields life.

Interactions with a variety of characters who ‘live’ in the township are an integral part of the program.

The experience offers students the opportunity to fully adapt to, and appreciate, the significant changes required to ‘walk in the shoes’ of youngsters 160 years ago. Visiting teachers are also costumed and join our schools in a variety of roles, affording an opportunity to engage with their students in this unique context.