McCrae Education Program

Students experience two perspectives of how life would have been at McCrae Homestead through European and Indigenous cultural heritage interpretation.

Discover a unique experience at the McCrae Homestead by exploring the parallel experiences of the McCrae family and the Bunurong community in the 1840s. Accessed through Georgiana McCrae’s personal diaries, her son George McCrae’s diary accounts, family letters, sketches and paintings, the program shares what is anecdotally considered a mutually respectful relationship between the Bunurong people and the McCrae family. This interpretation is supported by the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation and is one that we have permission to share. 


McCrae Cross Cultural Program -
Foundation to Level 6

The primary education program at McCrae Homestead investigates content, concepts and skills from the History, Civics and Citizenship and Design and Technologies curriculum as well as promoting social and emotional capabilities and critical and creative thinking through addressing the key inquiry question: 

What differences and similarities can be observed between the past and today at McCrae Homestead? 

Students will engage with the curriculum through four activities during the excursion program, supported by additional activities supplied in the Teacher Resource pack which can be completed before and after the visit. The four excursion activities are interrelated, and summaries are presented below. 

Activity 1: House tour 

Students are taken on a specially designed tour of McCrae Homestead that aligns with the touchpoints of entertainment, technology, and family. 

Activity 2: First Nations History 

Guided by a facilitator students will explore the garden and learn about Bunurong traditional stories such as Bunjil’s law as well as visiting a Willum on the property.  

Activity 3: Old fashioned games and servants’ tasks  

To explore differences and similarities between students’ daily lives and those of the past, students will attempt the washing and sweeping in the traditional way. Old fashioned games include skipping ropes, quoits, and sack races, which introduce students to the experiences of children in the past from all social classes.  

Activity 4: Making butter 

Students will learn how butter was made in the 1800s using a butter churn, participating in making butter that they can take home.  

Curriculum links for Foundation to Level 2
Subject Strand Sub-strand Content descriptionsAt McCrae Homestead students will… 
History Historical Concepts and Skills Historical Sources as Evidence Identify the content features of primary sources when describing the significance of people, places or events (VCHHC054) Be introduced to many primary artefacts that align strongly with local history of both the upper class and domestic servants.  
Identify perspectives about changes to daily life from people in the past or present (VCHHC055) Explore McCrae Homestead and pinpoint similarities and differences between it and their own homes and experience the life of people of different walks of life from the past through servants’ activities and historic children’s games. 
Historical Knowledge Personal Histories How the present, past and future are signified by terms indicating and describing time (VCHHK060) Be introduced to the concept of time, and how the past and the present are linked.  
Community Histories  The effect of changing technology on people’s lives and their perspectives on the significance of that change (VCHHK065) Explore the differences in historic household technologies through visual examples presented at McCrae, and experience the work of servants in the past, and how household chores have changed over time. 
Design and Technologies  Technologies Contexts Food and Fibre Production Explore how plants and animals are grown for food, clothing and shelter (VCDSTC015) Explore how food was brought from the paddock to the plate and how precious resources were in a time and place before modern conveniences like refrigeration and grocery stores. Participate in the making of butter.  
Personal and Social Capability Social Awareness and Management Collaboration Name and practise basic skills required to work collaboratively with peers (VCPSCSO006) Work together collaboratively to complete servants' tasks and participate in several old fashioned games.  
Social Awareness and Management  Collaboration Use basic skills required for participation in group tasks and respond to simple questions about their contribution to group tasks (VCPSCSO014) Work together as a team to make butter. 
Critical and Creative Thinking Reasoning Compare and contrast information and ideas in own and others reasoning (VCCCTR005) Discuss the similarities and differences between life in the 1800s and today for different types of people.  
Curriculum links for Levels 3 & 4
Subject Strand Sub-strand Content descriptionsAt McCrae Homestead students will… 
History Historical Concepts and Skills Historical Sources as Evidence  Describe perspectives of people from the past (VCHHC068) Learn about the lives of different individuals from the past and think about the challenges of living in such a remote location.  
Cause and Effect Identify and explain the causes and effects of European settlement and exploration (VCHHC070) Learn about the colonisation of the Mornington Peninsular and the effects of colonisation on the Bunurong people, as well as the life of the McCrae family living in this area.  
Historical Knowledge  Community, Remembrance and Celebrations The significance of Country and Place to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who belong to a local area (VCHHK072) Hear stories of various Bunurong traditions and stories such as Bunjil’s law – and how these stories tell us about the significance of Country to the Bunurong people.  
First Contacts The diversity and longevity of Australia’s first peoples and the significant ways Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are connected to Country and Place (land, sea, waterways and skies) and the effects on their daily lives (VCHHK078) Learn about the tens of thousands of years’ history that the Bunurong people have with the land, sea and sky. Learn how the Bunurong people only took what they needed, leaving the land fruitful and plentiful with food, water and shelter for everyone.  
The nature of contact between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and others, for example, the Macassans and the Europeans, and the effects of these interactions (VCHHK081) Learn about the relationship between the McCrae family and the Bunurong people.  
Design and Technologies  Technologies Contexts  Food and Fibre Production Investigate food and fibre production used in modern or traditional societies (VCDSTC025) Appreciate the complexities of acquiring food and water necessary for survival in a remote place pre-electricity.  
Food Specialisations Investigate food preparation techniques used in modern or traditional societies (VCDSTC026) Participate in the making of butter using traditional methods. Explore other pre-electricity food preparation and storage tools in the kitchen of McCrae Homestead.  
Personal and Social Capability Social Awareness and Management Relationships and Diversity Examine the similarities and differences between individuals and groups based on factors such as sex, age, ability, language, culture and religion (VCPSCSO020) Discover the friendship that occurred between the Bunurong people and the McCrae family, even though they had very different lives – see what they had in common.  
Curriculum links for Levels 5 & 6
Subject Strand Sub-strand Content descriptionsAt McCrae Homestead students will… 
History Historical Concepts and Skills  Historical Sources as Evidence  Identify the origin, content features and the purpose of historical sources and describe the context of these sources when explaining daily life in colonial Australia, reasons for migration and causes and effects of Federation (VCHHC083) Utilise the homestead as a primary source that displays the life of colonials in Melbourne before the Gold Rush.  
Describe perspectives and identify ideas, beliefs and values of people and groups in the past (VCHHC084) Learn about the lives of different individuals from the past including the Bunurong people and the McCrae family. Think about the challenges for settlers of living in such a remote location.
Continuity and Change Identify and describe patterns of continuity and change in daily life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, ‘native born’ and migrants in the Australian colonies (VCHHC085) Discover that though they were far from home old home in Scotland, many things were similar for the McCrae family such as their food, clothing and music which they imported. Students will also learn about the changes that all people faced post colonisation.  
Civics and Citizenship Citizenship, Diversity and Identity Investigate how people with shared beliefs and values work together to achieve their goals and plan for action (VCCCC016) Learn about the rare relationship between Bunurong people and the McCrae family in the 1840s that achieved cohesion and prosperity.  
Personal and Social Capability Social Awareness and Management Relationships and Diversity Define and recognise examples of stereotypes, discrimination and prejudice and discuss how they impact on the individual (VCPSCSO030) Understand the racism and stereotypes that the Bunurong people dealt with post-colonisation, and what impact this had on them.  

Further Program Details

Available:Monday, Tuesday and Thursday during school terms.
Duration:4 hours
10 to 50 students. 1:10 teacher/carer to student ratio. 
Resources:Social script for parents and teachers of students on the autism spectrum.

Teachers will receive a detailed resource pack that includes suggested pre- and post-visit activities upon booking.
Cost$15.00 per student.
Health & SafetyClick here to access the McCrae Education Task Risk Assessment document.
Bookings:To book in:
Online booking form

For enquiries:
Phone: (03)9656 9889

Plan your visit

McCrae Education Program


11 Beverley Road
McCrae 3938 VIC

9656 9800
What we offer:

Call to action section

Book your school program

Simply fill in our booking form with your details to make a booking request

Go to booking form

The students and I loved it - perfect balance of participating in activities and listening to the staff. The staff were very knowledgeable, passionate, experienced with working with Grade 4 students.

Teacher, Year 4

Related content