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Robert Townson High School

Robert Townson High School

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The History faculty is committed to encouraging students to adopt a lifelong passion for the study of various ancient and modern cultures which have shaped our world today. In Stage 4 and 5 there is a special focus on improving student’s literacy and numeracy skills in preparation for students wishing to study HSC courses (Modern or Ancient History). The subject is committed to using computer technology in the classroom and has the ability to deliver all stage 4 courses via Chromebooks or laptops. A Project Based Learning module is currently delivered to all Year 7 classes. The faculty is also committed to providing extra-curricular activities such as hands on artefacts days, special ANZAC and Remembrance Day celebrations, competitions and excursions to assist students in gaining a solid understanding of course outcomes and a life-long interest in historical events and time periods.

Staff Contact


Mr M Kapitanow Head Teacher HSIE


Ms M Cameron-Sio


Ms S Pace


Mr A Prodan


Subjects offered at Robert Townson High School

Stage 4 (Mandatory)

  • Year 7 History (Mandatory)

  • Year 8 History (Mandatory)

Stage 5  (Mandatory)

  • Year 9 History (Mandatory)

  • Year 10 History (Mandatory)

  • Year 9 and 10 History Elective - Mysteries and Disasters (Elective)

Stage 6

  • Ancient History (Year 11 and 12)

  • Modern History (Year 11 and 12)

Subjects in Detail

Stage 4

Year 7 History (Mandatory)


This unit focuses on providing students with the context behind the emergence of ancient civilizations. It focuses on the ‘out of Africa’ theory, the emergence of ancient societies and the development of organised activities and institutions such as manufacture and trade, art and writing, religion and law, military and political structures. Some of these societies became the focal points of empires which shaped various parts of the ancient world.

Depth Study 1:  Investigating the Ancient Past

This unit enables students to understand how historians and archaeologists investigate history, including excavation and archival research. They also learn to use a range of sources in an historical investigation, including archaeological and written sources. Students learn about the methods and sources used to investigate historical controversies or mysteries that have challenged historians or archaeologists. They also cover the nature of sources for ancient Australia and what they reveal about our nation’s past. The depth study concludes with an investigation into the importance of conserving the remains of the ancient past.

Depth Study 2:  The Mediterranean World (Ancient Egypt, Greece, or Rome)

This unit enables students to learn about the physical features of an ancient society and how they influenced the civilization that developed there. They also assess the roles of key groups in the ancient society, including the influence of law and religion. Students discuss significant beliefs, values and practices of the ancient society, with an emphasis on either warfare or death and funerary customs. The unit also examines contacts and conflicts within and/or with other societies, resulting in developments such as the conquest of other land, the expansion of trade and peace treaties. Students also investigate the role of a significant individual in the ancient Mediterranean world such as Hatshepsut, Rameses II, Pericles, Julius Caesar or Augustus. Students will participate in a project-based learning module:  People and Places of the Past as part of this depth study. Students are involved in an immersive, integrated learning experience, applying their academic knowledge to practical problems.

Depth Study 3:  The Asian World (China)

This unit explores the physical features of ancient China and how they influenced the civilization that developed there. The students learn about the roles of key groups in the ancient society in this period including the influence of law and religion. They also discuss significant beliefs, values and practices of the ancient society with a particular emphasis on warfare or death and funerary customs. The unit also examines contacts and conflicts within and/or with other societies, resulting in developments such as the expansion of trade, the rise of empires and the spread of philosophies and beliefs. Students also investigate the role of a significant individual in the ancient Asian world (Confusius or Qin Shi Huang Di).

Year 8 History (Mandatory)


This unit provides students with the context behind the shift from ancient to modern civilizations. It focuses on the transformation of the Roman world and the spread of Christianity and Islam. It discusses the key features of the medieval world (feudalism, trade routes, voyages of discovery, religion, contact and conflict). Students will also investigate the emergence of ideas about the world and the place of people in it by the end of the period (such as the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment).

Depth Study 4:  The Western and Islamic World (The Vikings)

This unit explores the way of life in Viking society (social, cultural, economic and political features) and the roles and relationships of different groups in society. Students also discuss significant development and/or cultural achievements that led to Viking expansion, including weapons and shipbuilding, and the extent of their trade. The unit also focuses on Viking conquests and relationships with subject peoples, including the perspectives of monks, changes in the way of life of the English, and the Norman invasion. Students also assess the role of a significant individual in the expansion of Viking settlement and influence (Erik the Red and Leif Ericson).

Depth Study 5:  The Asia-Pacific World (Japan under the Shoguns)

This unit explores the way of life in Shogunate Japan, including social, cultural, economic and political features (including the feudal system and the increasing power of the shogun). Students investigate the role of the Tokugawa Shogunate in reimposing a feudal system (based on daimyo and samurai) and the increasing control of the shogun over foreign trade. They explain the use of environmental resources in Shogunate Japan and the forestry and land use policies of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Students also discuss different theories about the decline of the Shogunate, including modernisation and westernisation, through the adoption of Western arms and technology. 

Depth Study 6:  Expanding Contacts  (The Spanish conquest of the Americas)

This unit explores Pre-Columbian life in the Americas, including social organisation, city life and beliefs. It also investigates when, how and why the Spanish arrived in the Americas, and where they went, including the various societies and geographical features they encountered. Students discuss the nature of the interaction between the Spanish and the Indigenous populations, with a particular focus on the Aztecs. They assess the impact of the conquest on the Aztecs and the longer-term effects of colonisation, including slavery, population changes and lack of control over resources. 

Stage 5

Year 9 History (mandatory)


This unit of work has been constructed to briefly outline the nature and significance of the Industrial Revolution and how it affected living and working conditions, including within Australia. It also explores the nature and extent of the movement of peoples in the period (slaves, convicts and settlers) and the extent of European expansion and different responses, including in the Asian region. It investigates the emergence and nature of significant economic, social and political ideas in the period, including nationalism. Students will also learn about the inter-war years between World War I and World War II, including the Treaty of Versailles, the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression.

Depth Study 1:  Making a Better World (Movement of Peoples 1750-1901)

The unit enables students to investigate the influence of the Industrial Revolution on the movement of peoples throughout the world, including the transatlantic slave trade and convict transportation. Students will explore the experiences of slaves, convicts and free settlers upon departure, their journey abroad and their reactions on arrival, including the Australian experience. They will also discuss changes in the way of life a group(s) of people who moved to Australia in this period, such as free settlers on the frontier in Australia. Students will also assess the short and long term impacts of the movement of peoples during this period.

Depth Study 2:  Australia and Asia (Asia and the world 1750-1918)

The unit is concerned with investigating the key features (social, cultural, economic, political) of China at the start of the period. Students explore change and continuity in the Asian society during this period, including any effects of contact (intended and unintended) with European powers. They also discuss the position of China in relation to other nations in the world around the turn of the twentieth century, including the influence of key ideas such as nationalism. Students also assess the significance of the Boxer Rebellion, including different perspectives of the event at the time. 

Depth Study 3:  Australians at War (World Wars I and II)

The unit provides an overview of the causes of the wars, why men enlisted and where Australians fought. It also explores the scope and nature of warfare. Students investigate significant events and the experiences of Australians at war. They also assess the impact and significance of the wars on Australia. The unit also focuses on commemorations and the nature of the ANZAC legend.

Year 10 History (mandatory)


This unit focuses on the continuing efforts post-World War II to achieve lasting peace and security in the world, including Australia’s involvement in UN peacekeeping. It explores the major movements for rights and freedoms in the world and the achievement of independence by former colonies. Students also investigate the nature of the Cold War and Australia’s involvement in the Cold War and post-Cold War conflicts (Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan), including the rising influence of Asian nations since the end of the Cold War. They also discuss developments in technology, public health, longevity and standard of living during the twentieth century, and concern for the environment and sustainability. 

Depth Study 4:  Rights and Freedoms (1945-present)

This unit explores the origins and significance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including Australia’s involvement in the development of the declaration. It also focuses on the background to the struggle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for rights and freedoms before 1965, including the 1938 Day of Mourning and the Stolen Generations. Students also learn about the US civil rights movement and its influence on Australia. They discuss the significance of the 1962 right to vote federally, the 1967 Referendum, Reconciliation, the Mabo decision, the Bringing Them Home Report and the Apology for the civil rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Students investigate methods used by civil rights activists to achieve change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the role of one individual or group in the struggle. They also assess the continuing nature of efforts to secure civil rights and freedoms in Australia and throughout the world, such as the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

Depth Study 5:  The Globalising World (Popular Culture)

This unit enables students to explore the nature of popular culture in Australia at the end of World War II, including music, film and sport. Students will investigate developments in popular culture in post-war Australia and their impact on society, including the introduction of television and rock ‘n’ roll. They will also learn about the changing nature of the music, film and television industry in Australia during the post-war period, including the influence of overseas developments (such as Hollywood, Bollywood and the animation film industry). Students will also explore the continuity and change in beliefs and values that have influenced the Australian way of life.

Depth Study 6:  School Developed Topic

This unit examines Australia in the Vietnam War era. Students will investigate Cold War politics, propaganda and spy scandals that all contributed to Australia’s involvement in a number of post-war conflicts designed to contain the spread of communism. They will examine the nature of the Vietnam War in regards to weaponry, major battles involving Australian forces, conscription and fighting tactics. Students will also assess the impact of the war on Australian society and on the returned servicemen.

Year 9 and 10 Mysteries and Disasters (elective)

This course is designed for students of all abilities who have an interest in and enjoyment of exploring the past. The aim is to stimulate students’ interest in history, to develop a critical understanding of the past, and to enable them to participate as active, informed and responsible citizens. It can be studied along with mandatory History in Years 9 and 10. Students explore the nature of history and the methods that historians use to construct history through a range of thematic and historical studies.  A selection of ancient, medieval and modern societies will be studied in relation to themes.

Throughout the course this elective provides students with excellent opportunities to improve their literacy, numeracy and research skills. These skills are vital in determining success in HSC courses where extended responses or essays are required.  The course is especially beneficial for students considering studying Ancient or Modern History in the HSC. Computer technology is integrated throughout the course allowing students to learn and enhance their 21st century skills.

Year 9 Course topics include:

●     Crime and Punishment – Jack the Ripper; the JFK Assassination; Crime Scene Investigations; Punishments

●     Literature / archaeology of the Ancient World: Ancient Greek and Roman myths such as Homer & the Trojan War; Theseus & the Minotaur; Perseus; Jason & the Argonauts.

●     World Myths and Legends – Vampires; werewolves; superstitions; UFO’s & aliens

●     Sickness through the ages – from the Black Death to modern epidemics such as Ebola

●     Historical reconstructions—The Dinosaurs 

Year 10 Course topics include:

●     Medieval and early Modern Europe - The life and times of King Henry VIII

●     Piracy - From the likes of Blackbeard, Anne Bonny & Henry Morgan to piracy on the high seas today

●     Natural disasters in history - volcanoes, earthquakes, floods, fires, landslides and tsunamis

Historical reconstructions – the Titanic and other famous sea disasters; history of flight and famous air disasters

Stage 6

Ancient History

This course provides students who have an interest in history with opportunities to investigate past people, groups, events, institutions, societies and sites from ancient times. A Life Skills option is available for this subject.

Year 11

·        Treatment and Display of Human Remains: Otzi

·        Troy

·        Persepolis

·        Power and Image in Ancient Egypt

·        Slavery in Ancient Rome

Year 12

·        Cities of Vesuvius

·        Spartan society to the Battle of Leuctra 371 BC

·        Hatshepsut

·        Greece: The Greek World 500-440 BC

Modern History

This course provides students who have an interest in history with opportunities to investigate key features, issues, individuals, groups, events and concepts from the 18th century onwards. A Life Skills option is available for this subject.

Year 11

·        The decline & fall of the Romanovs

·        The American Civil War

·        The Meiji Restoration

·        World War One

Year 12

·        Power and Authority 1919-1946

·        Russia and the Soviet Union 1917-1941

·        Conflict in the Pacific 1937-1951

·        Civil Rights in the USA 1945-1968

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