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(The activities listed on these pages were designed for students of German as a Second Language. However, a few of the activities may be possible for other students.)

Image: note paperIt would be best if you read the pages in this website in their German version. However, if you read a useful page in English first, make sure you then look carefully through the German version of the page (there's a link at the bottom of the page). While looking through the German page make notes of important vocabulary and phrases, as you may find them useful in written and oral tasks that you may do. Some of the texts in the Primary Sources are certainly challenging reading - don't worry if you find those ones difficult, just scan the text for key words and try to get some main points out of it!

dot point Writing and Oral activities
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Worksheets/Materials (downloadable)
dot point Selective Vocabulary List
dot point Primary Sources
dot point Audio Interviews
dot point Interactive Quizzes

1) Reasons for emigrating to Australia
In his book A History of Germans in Australia 1839-1945 Charles Meyer lists four basic reasons for German emigration: religion, the economic situation, political motives, and social motives. Using the Chronology (or die Chronologie) of German-speaking immigration in Australia, find for each of these four reasons at least three people who are examples of such immigrants.

2) Role Play
Read Ludwig Becker's "Ein Australisch' Lied" and act out with partner(s) a scene from it. Possibilities would be Part 10, Part 11 and Part 15. You could develop some creative extra lines.

3) Informative Writing
Reorganising Information: Read Ludwig Becker's "Ein Australisch' Lied" and, in the role of the immigrant in the Lied, write diary/journal entries about your experiences, from Part 4 onwards, or just for specific sections of the Lied.

4) Informative Writing or Oral Presentation
Research the achievements of a German/Austrian/Swiss Australian and his/her contributions to Australia in the arts, music, science, education, culture, sport or politics or any other field. You are a journalist and write a report for one of the Australian German-language newspapers "Die Woche in Australien" or "Neue Welt". Alternatively you can make an oral report to your class.

5) Informative Writing
Interview a German/Austrian/Swiss Australian, or an Australian of German-speaking descent. Ask why their family came to Australia and about their experiences here as immigrants. Present the information as a case study in the form of a summary.

6) Role Play
You are a citizen of the kingdom of Württemberg in 1848. Another student takes the role of the NSW Government's German Immigration Agent Wilhelm Kirchner. Kirchner is visiting your area promoting emigration to the colony of Neu-Süd-Wallis. You are interested in emigrating, as economic circumstances in the south-western German states are difficult. However, you know almost nothing about the colony of Neu-Süd-Wallis and are keen to find out more (ship journey, work in NSW, general info about the place etc). Kirchner does his best to persuade you of the reasons to go there.
You may find these pages useful:
dot point Warum wanderten sie aus?
dot point Die deutsche Besiedlung von New South Wales im 19. Jahrhundert

7) Evaluative Writing
You write the script for a talk that you will present on the SBS German-language radio program. The topic of your talk is: "The influence of German Australians and Germans in Australia ended in 1914."

8) Imaginative Writing
You are a German immigrant in Australia. It's your choice as to which part of Australia you live in, and whether the time is the 1850s or the 1950s. You write a letter home to your relatives telling them how things are going for you, and whether or not you advise them to join you in Australia. You may find it useful to read parts of the Primary Sources documents in this website. Or you may be able to get some personal background info if you know a German-speaker who came here after the Second World War.

9) Imaginative Writing
You're a bit of a poet, aren't you! You also know that poems don't have to rhyme! Pick any period in the history of German-speakers in Australia, you're a German-speaking immigrant and write a short poem either about your experiences or Australia (from the point of view of a German-speaking immigrant) in general. The poem will appear in any one of the German-language newspapers that have been published in Australia since 1847 up to the present.

10) Imaginative Writing
You are the German-Australian owner of a small business who has lived in Australia for 30 years when World War One starts. You are put into an internment camp because a business competitor spread a rumour about you. Your wife and children are having a difficult time at home without you. You write a journal entry in your diary. In your diary you record your thoughts about your bad luck and why this treatment of you and other German-Australians is unfair.

11) Persuasive Writing
You are the immigration agent for an Australian colony and have gone to the German states in the 19th century to recruit immigrants. You design an advertising poster or flyer promoting emigration to your colony. You could produce this either free-hand or using a computer program suitable for the purpose.
Alternatively you could produce a poster for use in Germany in the 1950s.
You may find the page Informationsquellen für Auswanderer useful.

12) Interview
Conduct a short interview with a partner where one of you plays Captain Dirk Hahn and the other plays a reporter in Germany who meets him shortly after his return from South Australia. The reporter asks him about the trip and why he helped the passengers the way he did.
You may find useful: Hahns Erinnerungen (available in English also)

13) Informative Writing
You are Ludwig Leichhardt (prior to his third expedition!) or Georg Neumayer (1863). A newspaper in the German states has heard of your achievements and wishes to write an article about you. The paper asks you to send them your up-to-date curriculum vitae, written in German. (You could do this CV-writing task for any other German-Australian of your choice.)

14) Focus Areas
Here are listed some specific topics which you could focus on. You could present your information on one of them in one of the following forms: a script for a talk to your class; an informative article for a German magazine; a computer slide-show presentation to support a talk; a contemporary letter to a friend.

a) Lifestyles of rural German Australians in the 19th century.

b) The treatment of German and Austrian Australians during World War One.

c) Contributions of German Australians to the development of Australia.

d) Germans on the goldfields in the 19th century.

e) Activities of the 19th century German community in Melbourne, Adelaide or Brisbane.

f) German/Austrian/Swiss scientists in Australia.

g) The role of the Church in rural settlement of Australia by Germans in the 19th century.

h) The arrival of the first German immigrant groups in South Australia.

i) German/Austrian refugee arrivals in Australia in the late 1930s and 1940s.

(Some of the above focus areas are adapted from materials from the Migration Museum in Adelaide.)


Curriculum materials on this topic, produced by the Association of German Teachers of Victoria, can be bought via the online catalogue in the AGTV website. The materials include Heritage Trails and listening comprehension kits. See on the AGTV page the sections Immigration Museum Worksheet and German Heritage Trails.

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