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Preparing for your costumed school experience

Role Play
Role play is central to the success of the program. It is important that children understand they will be interpreting a child of the 1850s at school on the goldfields and as such need to be aware and abide by the behavioural expectations of this era. Essentially, once costumed the student becomes a living exhibit of the Sovereign Hill Museum.


Essential Pre-Visit Requirement
Four weeks prior to your visit, schools will receive a resource pack via email. In this pack you will find a pre-visit requirement resource.

To assist in developing the character students will portray within the costumed program; we ask that each student completes the “Character Sheet”. The class character sheets are to be emailed to Sovereign Hill School one week prior to the costumed school program: sovereign.hill.sch@education.vic.gov.au

Viewing the digitised picture story book: “Bound For The Colonies” will also assist students with developing their 1850s character.
View the Bound for the Colonies picture story book below.

The writing of letters was the only means of communication across the seas in the 1850s and it was a real art form using the flowing copperplate writing style.

The study of letter writing may form part of your pre or post activities. Below are some excellent examples of the tone and language used when writing a letter of that era.

- Examples of letters

- Example of Hand Writing - Copperplate Writing

Bound for the Colonies

Sovereign Hill School DET has put together this digital version of Colleen Fawkes Ryan's book, 'Bound for the Colonies', so that students can read-along. This book is a great learning resource that tells the story of life on board ship as experienced by the migrants travelling to Australia in the 1850s.

Notes & Acknowledgments Click Here

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Student Role Play: Paying Costumed School Fees

Education is not free on the diggings unless you are attending the Ragged School

On Day two of the program, students are encouraged to bring ‘payment’ for their lessons to the value of 2 shillings. This can be provided in a number of formats such as a gift that reflects parental occupations or a written note from mama or papa explaining why fees cannot be paid but promising a service or gift in lieu of payment.

In character, each student has the opportunity to embellish their story and is invited to “pay their fees to sir or ma’am” in front of the class. This is a fun and entertaining chance for individuals to showcase their dramatization skills, we encourage creativity and imagination. Preparing fees could be a wonderful pre –visit activity.

Fees may be taken home at the conclusion of the program.

Click here for examples of ‘fee’ substitutes.

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