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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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S5 - Changing Places

Changing Places is a S5 Geography fieldwork excursion that focuses on the topic 'Australia's Urban future'. The fieldwork showcases ways that people influence places and manage environmental change in urban places to enhance sustainability. Students investigate the economic, social and environmental impacts of Barangaroo and also visit nearby Millers Point to learn about the ways this community has changed over time.

Program location

Barangaroo and Millers Point

View the Google Fieldwork map with the approximate walking route, meeting location and pick-up location. Please note; the meeting location is near Wharf 2 Barangaroo. Bus drop-off bay is 35 Lime St. Pick up - Argyle Place. If arriving by train, take the Wynyard Walk tunnel and proceed directly to the foreshore. 

Key inquiry question

'What strategies are used to manage environmental change in urban places to enhance sustainability'?

Key syllabus outcomes

Australia’s urban future. Students investigate the management and planning of Australia’s urban future, for example:

  • explanation of strategies used to create economically, socially and environmentally sustainable urban places
  • proposal of ways for individuals and communities to contribute to a sustainable urban future 

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

Skills outcomes

Learning activities may include:

  • fieldwork data gathering
  • mapping
  • field sketching
  • assessing environmental impacts of development using measuring instruments (eg water testing)
  • developing Geographic Inquiry Skills including Acquiring (what is where), Processing (why is it there), and Communicating (why care)
  • answering a fieldwork question, ‘Describe and evaluate how Barangaroo and Millers Point contribute to the creation of environmentally, socially and economically sustainable urban places.    

Student previsit and follow-up activities

Successful fieldwork visits 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.

The following tasks, together with fieldwork, will help students answer the fieldwork question:

View the student fieldwork support website and complete the pre-fieldwork activities. 

On the day activities

During the full-day fieldwork excursion, students will:

  • Acquire, process and communicate geographic information to answer a fieldwork question.
  • Learn basic geographic tools including mapping, field sketching, photo interpretation etc.
  • Map evidence of economic, environmental and social sustainability within the study site
  • Undertake a basic Environmental Impact Study
  • Have opportunities to use their own cameras to document their fieldwork activities
  • Undertake a tour of Millers Point to learn about the NSW Department of Housing’s decision to sell off public housing and its implications for social sustainability.


  • Government Schools: $15 per student  (GST Free)
  • Non-Government Schools: $25 per student (GST free). Minimum cost of $600.
Excursion program downloads