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Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre

Observatory Hill Environmental Education Centre

Leading environmental education to empower learners for a sustainable future.

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The Rocks Site Study

The Rocks Site Study is a S4/5 History site study that focuses on content from the Stage 4 Depth Study 6d: Aboriginal and Indigenous Peoples, Colonisation and Contact, and the Stage 5 Depth Study 1b The movement of peoples. The Site Study is an inquiry-based examination of historically significant locations and is integrated with topic content as a way for students to acquire History knowledge, skills, values and attitudes from experience in the field. The study enables students to understand their historical environment, actively participate in historical inquiry, interpret the past and recognise how human occupation and use of the sites has changed over time. The study will enhance understanding of the historical context in which changes have occurred and help to create and nurture a lifelong interest in history.

Program location

The Rocks and Millers Point.

Download the excursion map (PDF 774.1KB) or view the interactive google map with approximate walking route, meeting location and pick up location. 

Key syllabus Outcomes

  •  selects and analyses a range of historical sources to locate information relevant to an historical inquiry
  • describes key aspects of contact between indigenous people and colonisers
  • describes and assesses the life of one Aboriginal individual in contact with the British colonisers
  • uses a variety of sources to investigate and report on the changing way of life of a convict, emancipists or free settler.

Integrating the ‘Sustainability’ Cross Curriculum Priority is a feature of the program.

Skills outcomes

  • develop skills to undertake the process of historical inquiry using an inquiry-based examination of historically significant locations and people
  • develop ICT skills

Student pre-visit and follow up activities

Successful excursions have direct links to current classroom learning. Pre-visit activities carried out prior to the excursion will help students better understand their excursion content and provide connectedness and relevance to classroom learning. 

Have students view the Rocks Site Study Support Website to learn more about a Site Study, The Rocks, and the significant historical events that have occurred there. 

The following tasks, together with their site study, will help students to complete a digital site study field journal during the excursion. Ipads will be provided by the Centre.

On the day activities

During the full day Site Study, students will:

  • visit the Millers Point Community Centre to recap on prior learning about the study sites, and learn how to construct a field journal on Centre Ipads
  • use Ipads to complete an historical enquiry, and create a digital field journal, about significant people and locations relevant to the topic
  • visit the Rocks Discovery Museum to learn about local indigenous people, colonisation and contact history
  • visit and view artefacts from archaeological sites in The Rocks, Millers Point and Dawes Point to investigate the life of convicts and free settlers, and their impact on the development of the Australian Nation.


  • DoE - From $9 per student (GST free). For more detailed DoE costing see the attached fee structure (PDF 91KB).
  • Non Government School $20 per student (GST free) minimum cost of $600.

Excursion program downloads

Download these documents to help with your excursion planning: