Polly Woodside Education Programs

Welcome aboard shipmates, are you ready to learn the ropes?

Polly Woodside is a 3-masted sailing ship (barque) that was commissioned by William Woodside. She was built in the docks of Belfast and was Christened by Marian Woodside – William’s wife – in 1885. Polly got her name from Marian who was nicknamed Polly. She was a cargo ship, destined to take coal to South America to be sold, returning to England with nitrate. In her many voyages, she rounded the dangerous Cape Horn 16 times – no mean feat for a sailing ship!  

NTV Education currently offers curriculum aligned programs for primary and secondary students. The Primary program is highly recommended for Levels 3 & 4, with strong links to the First Contacts history unit. The primary and secondary cross-cultural program aligns strongly with Levels 3 & 4, and Levels 7 & 8, focusing on Geography and History.  

Please note: Polly Woodside ship is not wheelchair accessible

Cultural Program - Primary

The primary cultural program at Polly Woodside has been developed in collaboration with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation. The program explores the Birrarung through different lenses – Wurundjeri connection to Land and Sea Country, European sailing ships of the 1800s, and industrialisation of the landscape along the Birrarung through time. The program connects to the History, Geography and Design and Technologies curricula, as well as encouraging the development of curricula capabilities in Ethical and Personal and Social Capabilities and, Critical and Creative Thinking. This program directly aligns with the VCAA cross-curriculum priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures.  

The program is focused on the central inquiry questions:  

How did colonisation impact the people and places of the Birrarung?  

How have water-based technologies evolved over time? 

Students will engage with curricula outcomes throughout the 4-hour program at Polly Woodside, in which they will complete three sessions.  

The three sessions are: 

Activity 1: Wurundjeri cultural session 

Students learn about Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung culture and history, including cultural understanding of the Birrarung and the broader cultural landscape of Docklands, past and contemporary Wurundjeri culture, and Elders in urban spaces. 

Activity 2: Exploration aboard Polly Woodside 

Students learn about navigation on the high seas, nautical terminology, the benefits of wind-powered ships and the sailing hierarchy.  

Activity 3: Self-led walk along the Birrarung 

Whilst engaging with our guidebook, students make their way along the Birrarung (Yarra) stopping at culturally and historically significant locations including the site of the Yarra Yarra falls, and a surviving 1800s factory. 

Curriculum links for Levels 3 & 4
Subject Strand Sub-strand Outcomes At Polly Woodside students will… 
History Historical Concepts and Skills Historical Sources as Evidence Identify the origin and content features of primary sources when describing the significance of people, places and events (VCHHC067) Be introduced to many primary sources in the form of navigational equipment, shipping memorabilia, diaries of people that sailed on Polly Woodside, and the ship itself as a primary source.  
Describe perspectives of people from the past (VCHHC068)  Begin to better understand the life of sailors on board a tall ship; their daily tasks, hierarchy, challenges, and the risks involved with a life at sea.  
Historical Knowledge Community, Remembrance and Celebrations A significant example of change and a significant example of continuity over time in the local community, region or state/territory (VCHHK073) Be introduced to the changes that came about as maritime technologies advanced and sailing ships such as Polly Woodside became less favoured by traders.  
First Contacts  The journey(s) of a significant world navigator, explorer or trader up to the late eighteenth century, including their contacts with and effects on other societies (VCHHK079) Through comparative analysis, be introduced to a similar vessel, Polly Woodside. Students will be shown a real-life sailing ship like ships in their studies and be able to better understand how treacherous and long journeys aboard sailing ships were.  
Geography Geographical Concepts and Skills Place, Space and Interconnection Identify and explain the interconnections within places and between places (VCGGC073) Learn how many parts of Melbourne are connected via the Birrarung, and how people utilized it to move between places in the past. 
Geographical Knowledge Diversity and Significance of Places and Environments Main climates of the world and the similarities and differences between the climates of different places (VCGGK081) Learn about the treacherous nature of Cape Horn in South America and how it was significant to Polly Woodside’s journeys around the world.  
Design and Technologies Technologies and Society Recognise the role of people in design and technologies occupations and explore factors, including sustainability, that impact on the design of solutions to meet community needs (VCDSTS023) Explore the benefits and disadvantages of shipping technologies: steam powered, versus wind powered.  
Technologies Contexts  Engineering Principles and Systems Investigate how forces and the properties of materials affect the behaviour of a designed solution (VCDSTC024) Learn how sailing ships moved and worked, and the problems involved in this kind of technology.  
Critical and Creative thinking Reasoning Identify and use ‘If, then…’ and ‘what if…’ reasoning (VCCCTR016) Make deductions about a sailors life based on the physical evidence presented on board Polly Woodside.  
Ethical Capability Understanding Concepts Explore the contested meaning of concepts including fairness and harm and how they can seem to differ in different situations (VCECU004) Learn about the hierarchy of sailors and the rations provided to different people based on their role aboard the ship. Students will discuss whether this is fair or harmful to sailors.  
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 inequality of the sexes that was present in the 1800s, paying close attention to the fact that, usually, sailing was only for men.  
Intercultural Capability Cultural Practices  Compare their own and others cultural practices, showing how these may influence the ways people relate to each other (VCICCB005) Learn more about Wurundjeri culture and how there are many similarities to their own beliefs, as well as differences.  
Curriculum links for Levels 5 & 6
Subject Strand Sub-strand Outcomes At Polly Woodside 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) Analyse historical artefacts such as navigational and maritime equipment to better understand the work of sailors. Be taken back in time, to when the Yarra was a busy cargo shipping tunnel for an industry that relied heavily on maritime vessels.  
Geography Geographical Concepts and Skills Place, Space and Interconnection Identify and explain the interconnections within places and between places, and the effects of these interconnections (VCGGC087) Discuss how many parts of Melbourne are connected via the Birrarung, and how people utilized it to move between places both before and after colonisation. 
Geographical Knowledge Factors that shape places and influence interconnections Australia’s connections with other countries and how these change people and places (VCGGK098) Discuss the strong European influence on Australia, including its colonial and post-colonial maritime history.  
Environmental and human influences on the location and characteristics of places and the management of spaces within them (VCGGK096) View and explain the environmental changes that have occurred as a result of colonisation and commercialization of the area around Polly Woodside.  
Design and Technologies Technologies and Society Investigate how people in design and technologies occupations address competing considerations, including sustainability, in the design of solutions for current and future use (VCDSTS033) Investigate the considerations made by shipping companies in choosing whether to use steam ships or sailing ships, and how these have differed in the modern world as people become more sustainably minded.  
Critical and Creative Thinking Questions and Possibilities Experiment with alternative ideas and actions by setting preconceptions to one side (VCCCTQ022) Theorize their opinions on sailing prior to learning additional facts and information about life at sea. After learning more, students are invited to re-consider their previous thoughts.  
Intercultural Capability Cultural Practices Explain how intercultural experiences can influence beliefs and behaviours, including developing a critical perspective on and respect for their own and others cultures (VCICCB010) Have their own intercultural experience, and reflect on this experience and how it may have changed their points of view around ideas of beliefs, customs, water and the Melbourne region.  

Further Program Details

Available:On request.
Duration:4 hours.
Numbers:Maximum 80 students per day.
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:$35 per student
Safety:Click here to access the Polly Woodside Task Risk Assessment document.
Bookings:Online booking form
Email: bookings@nattust.com.au
Phone: (03)9656 9889

Cultural Program - Secondary

The Secondary cross-cultural program at Polly Woodside aligns with the History, Design and Technology and Geography curricula, as well as encouraging the development of curricula capabilities in Ethical, Intercultural, and Personal and Social Capabilities and, Critical and Creative Thinking. This program also connects to the VCAA cross-curriculum priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures.  

The program focuses on the key inquiry questions:  

How and why has the cultural landscape of the Birrarung changed over time? What effects has this change had on different communities? 

Students will engage with curricula outcomes throughout the 4-hour program at Polly Woodside, in which they will complete three sessions. 

The three sessions are: 

Activity 1: Wurundjeri Cultural session 

Students learn about Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung culture and history, including cultural understanding of the Birrarung and the broader cultural landscape of Docklands, past and contemporary Wurundjeri culture, and Elders in urban spaces. 

Activity 2: Exploration aboard Polly Woodside 

Students learn about navigation on the high seas, nautical terminology, the benefits of wind-powered ships and the sailing hierarchy.  

Activity 3: Self-led walk along the Birrarung 

Whilst engaging with our guidebook, students make their way along the Birrarung (Yarra) stopping at culturally and historically significant locations including the site of the Yarra Yarra falls, and a surviving 1800s factory. 

Curriculum links for Levels 7 & 8
Subject Strand Sub-strand Outcomes At Polly Woodside students will… 
History Historical Knowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Culture How physical or geographical features influenced the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ communities, foundational stories and land management practices (VCHHK105) Learn about the strong connection that the Wurundjeri people have to Country, and how they use the land at different times of the year. 
The significant beliefs, values and practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures including trade with other communities, causes and effects of warfare, and death and funerary customs (VCHHK106) Learn about the customs and lore of the Wurundjeri people. 
The nature of sources of evidence about ancient Australia and what they reveal about Australia’s ancient past, such as the use of resources (VCHHK107) Discover how we know about the lives of people in ancient Australia through the tradition of oral history as well as archaeological evidence.  
The importance of conserving the remains of the ancient past, including the heritage, culture and artefacts of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (VCHHK108) Discuss why it is important to conserve ancient cultural heritage. 
Historical Concepts and Skills Chronology Describe and explain the broad patterns of change over the period from the Ancient to the Modern World (VCHHC098) Witness the differences in technologies used by people on the Birrarung pre- and post- colonisation. Will be introduced to the changes that came about due to colonisation including land degradation, machine-technology and displacement of First Peoples.  
Historical Sources as Evidence Analyse the different perspectives of people in the past (VCHHC100) Be introduced to different perspectives of colonisation and how it affected different groups of people.  
Cause and Effect Analyse the causes and effects of significant events that caused change and/or a decline over the period (VCHHC103) Understand the effects of colonisation on the landscape around the Birrarung and how it has changed in the periods since.  
Geography Geographical Knowledge Water in the World Classification of environmental resources and the forms that water takes as a resource (VCGGK105) Discuss the Birrarung originally being a drinking water resource, and later also used as a trade resource to move cargo.  
Ways that flows of water connect places as they move through the environment and the ways this affects places (VCGGK106) Discuss the Birrarung as being a centre for cultural interactions for the Kulin Nation, due to its abundant resources, and later as the hub of Melbourne’s immigration and cargo.  
Nature of water scarcity and the role of humans in creating and overcoming it, including studies drawn from Australia and West Asia and/or North Africa (VCGGK108) Be introduced to the sudden population growth that happened in Melbourne following the discovery of gold in 1851, which led to water shortages and degradation of the water in the Birrarung.  
The spiritual, economic, cultural and aesthetic value of water for people, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and peoples of the Asia region, that influence the significance of places (VCGGK109) Hear stories of the spiritual connection that the Wurundjeri and other people of the Kulin Nation have with the Birrarung.  
Places and Liveability Factors that influence the decisions people make about where to live and their perceptions of the liveability of places (VCGGK111) Analyse of the choice of Melbourne as the place for major settlement in 1835 by both John Pascoe Fawkner and John Batman, due to its landscape and river.  
Changing Nations The causes and consequences of urban concentration and urban settlement patterns between Australia and the United States of America and reasons for these similarities and differences (VCGGK123) Learn that in Melbourne, there was massive environmental impacts due to urban settlement from the 1850s onwards.  
The reasons for and effects of international migration to Australia (VCGGK124) Learn about the influx of people to Melbourne in the Gold Rush, and again, post World War II, and its effect on the environment and city.  
Design and Technologies Technologies and Society Examine and prioritise competing factors including social, ethical, economic and sustainability considerations in the development of technologies and designed solutions to meet community needs for preferred futures (VCDSTS043) Analyse the changes that came about with the implementation of steam ship technology, and infer the positive and negative effects on traders, the public and the environment.  
Investigate the ways in which designed solutions evolve locally, nationally, regionally and globally through the creativity, innovation and enterprise of individuals and groups (VCDSTS044) Discuss the evolution of marine transportation and shipping technology both pre- and post- colonisation.  
Intercultural Capability Cultural Practices Analyse the dynamic nature of own and others cultural practices in a range of contexts (VCICCB013) Explore the importance of maintaining a connection to culture and Country for First Nations people, and how over time there has been many challenges faced in keeping connection strong.  
Examine how various cultural groups are represented, by whom they are represented, and comment on the purpose and effect of these representations (VCICCB014) Be introduced to a Wurundjeri Elder, learn about their work, how they came to be in this role and what their responsibilities to land and Country are.  
Ethical Capability Understanding Concepts Explore the contested meaning of concepts including freedom, justice, and rights and responsibilities, and the extent they are and should be valued by different individuals and groups (VCECU014) Discuss what changed post-1835 in Melbourne, and how it affected Aboriginal people and their freedoms.  
Curriculum links for Levels 9 & 10
Subject Strand Sub-strand Outcomes At Polly Woodside students will… 
History Historical Concepts and Skills Chronology Analyse and evaluate the broad patterns of change over the period 1750–present (VCHHC122) See the changes in landscape, technologies, trade and society along the Birrarung.  
Historical Sources as Evidence Analyse the different perspectives of people in the past and evaluate how these perspectives are influenced by significant events, ideas, location, beliefs and values (VCHHC124) Be introduced to different perspectives of colonisation and industrialization and how it affected different groups of people. 
Historical Significance  Evaluate the historical significance of an event, idea, individual or place (VCHHC128) Evaluate the historical significance of Polly Woodside along with several other areas such as old factories on their walking tour.  
Historical Knowledge The Making of the Modern World – Industrial Revolution Causes that led to the Industrial Revolution, and other conditions and ideas that influenced the industrialisation of Britain and of Australia (VCHHK129) Recognise the changes in technology that came about in the time of industrialisation in Melbourne, that eventually made ships such as Polly Woodside obsolete.  
Compare and contrast the experiences of different groups of people (e.g., First Nations peoples, sailors) in the Industrial Revolution.  
Different experiences and perspectives of individuals or groups and how ideas, beliefs and values changed during the significant events of the Industrial Revolution (VCHHK131) 
Significant effects of the Industrial Revolution, including global changes in landscapes, movements of people, development and influence of ideas, political and social reforms, and transport and communication (VCHHK132) Be introduced to technologies from the 1800s that were used shipping such as navigational tools and ship technologies, and how they worked to make navigation easier.  
Making the Modern World – Australia and Asia Intended and unintended causes and effects of contact and extension of settlement of European power(s), including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (VCHHK134) Understand the frontier wars and the impact it had on the local Wurundjeri people.  
Patterns of continuity and change and their effects on influencing movements of people, ways of life and living conditions, political and legal institutions, and cultural expression around the turn of the twentieth century (VCHHK136) Understand the demise of ships like Polly Woodside as steam ships became more reliable.  
Intercultural Capability Cultural Practices Analyse the complex and dynamic interrelationships between and within cultures in a range of contexts and the impact of these interrelationships on their own and others cultural practices (VCICCB017) Learn about the many different Aboriginal groups that make up the Kulin Nation, how they used to meet at the Birrarung before colonisation, and how they are similar and different to one another.  
Ethical Capability Understanding Concepts Explore the contested meaning of concepts including freedom, justice, and rights and responsibilities, and the extent they are and should be valued by different individuals and groups (VCECU014) Discuss what changed post-1835 in Melbourne, and how it affected Aboriginal people and their freedoms.  
Understanding Concepts Explore a range of ethical problems and examine the extent to which different positions are related to commonly held ethical concepts and principles, considering the influence of cultural norms, religion, world views and philosophical thought (VCECU020) Learn about the treaty that John Batman may have had signed by Wurundjeri elders in 1835 that signed over the rights to land, and whether this treaty was ethical in nature considering the power imbalance that was present.  

Further Program Details

Available:On Request
Duration:4 hours
Numbers:Maximum 80 students per day
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:$35 per student
Safety:Click here to access the Polly Woodside Task Risk Assessment document.
Bookings:Online booking form

Email: bookings@nattust.com.au

Phone: (03)9656 9889

Primary History Program

Step lively aboard a real nineteenth century tall ship and into the lives of the sailors who lived and worked aboard. This program offers students a unique opportunity to step into the shoes of sailors who lived and worked aboard Melbourne’s favourite tall ship – Polly Woodside. 

The primary education program at Polly Woodside investigates content, concepts and skills from the History, Geography and Design and Technology curricula as well as the promotion of personal and social capabilities and critical and creative thinking, through addressing the key inquiry question:  

What was it like to sail aboard a tall ship? 

Students will engage with curricula outcomes through the 2-hour tour of Polly Woodside and the accompanying museum, supported by additional activities which can be done before and after the visit.   

Select highlights of the excursion include: 

Scrub the deck! 

Be put to work as Ordinary Seamen, learning about the hard work sailors had to do, to keep the ship sea-worthy.  

Steering 

Students learn nautical terms such as ‘port’, ‘starboard’, ‘bow’ and ‘stern’ as they have a go steering Polly Woodside’s massive wheel.  

Signalling 

Students are given the important task of using a bell to signal their crew – discussing the reasons why signals are used, what dangers would face a tall ship on the high seas, and learning a few signals used on board Polly Woodside.  

History 

Students are given a breakdown of Polly Woodside’s history, and her similarities and differences to other ships they are studying. They are shown the route of Polly’s journeys and we discuss how the ship got there – navigation, sailing, how to keep the crew healthy and life at sea.  

Curriculum links for Levels 3 & 4
Subject Year level  Strand Sub-strand Outcomes At Polly Woodside students will: 
History Levels 3-4 Historical Concepts and Skills Historical Sources as Evidence Identify the origin and content features of primary sources when describing the significance of people, places and events (VCHHC067) Be introduced to many primary sources in the form of navigational equipment, shipping memorabilia, diaries of people that sailed on Polly Woodside, and the ship itself as a primary source.  
Describe perspectives of people from the past (VCHHC068)  Begin to better understand the life of sailors on board a tall ship; their daily tasks, hierarchy, challenges, and the risks involved with a life at sea.  
Historical Knowledge Community, Remembrance and Celebrations A significant example of change and a significant example of continuity over time in the local community, region or state/territory (VCHHK073) Be introduced to the changes that came about as maritime technologies advanced and sailing ships such as Polly Woodside became less favoured by traders.  
First Contacts  The journey(s) of a significant world navigator, explorer or trader up to the late eighteenth century, including their contacts with and effects on other societies (VCHHK079) Through comparative analysis, be introduced to a similar vessel, Polly Woodside. Students will be shown a real-life sailing ship like ships in their studies and be able to better understand how treacherous and long journeys aboard sailing ships were.  
Geography Level 3 & 4 Geographical Concepts and Skills Place, Space and Interconnection Identify and explain the interconnections within places and between places (VCGGC073) Learn about how people used to travel from place to place over the ocean, and how goods were transported to Australia from Europe.  
Geographical KnowledgeDiversity and Significance of Places and EnvironmentsLocation of major countries of Africa and South America in relation to Australia and their major characteristics including the types of vegetation and native animals in at least two countries for both continents (VCGGK077)Learn about the importance of Cape Horn (South America) in Polly’s history and deduce the possible dangers of crossing that stretch of ocean, based on geographical clues laid out on maps.
Main climates of the world and the similarities and differences between the climates of different places (VCGGK081)Examine the differences in climate in Australia compared to Europe, and the dangers this caused for sailing on the ocean.
Similarities and differences in individuals’ and groups’ feelings and perceptions about places, and how they influence views about the protection of these places (VCGGK083)Learn about the conservation work involved in keeping Polly Woodside afloat, and why the National Trust has put so much time into her conservation.
Design and Technologies Level 3 & 4 Technologies and Society Recognise the role of people in design and technologies occupations and explore factors, including sustainability, that impact on the design of solutions to meet community needs (VCDSTS023) Explore the benefits and disadvantages of shipping technologies: steam powered, versus wind powered.  
Technologies Contexts  Engineering Principles and Systems Investigate how forces and the properties of materials affect the behaviour of a designed solution (VCDSTC024) Learn how sailing ships moved and worked, and the problems involved in this kind of technology.  
Critical and Creative Thinking Level 3 & 4 Reasoning Identify and use ‘If, then…’ and ‘what if…’ reasoning (VCCCTR016) Make deductions about a sailors life based on the physical evidence presented on board Polly Woodside.  
Personal and Social Capability Level 3 & 4 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 inequality of the sexes that was present in the 1800s, paying close attention to the fact that, usually, sailing was only for men.  
Curriculum links for Levels 5 & 6
Subject Year level  Strand Sub-strand Outcomes At Polly Woodside students will: 
History Level 5 & 6 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) Analyse historical artefacts such as navigational and maritime equipment to better understand the work of sailors. Be taken back in time, to when the Yarra was a busy cargo shipping tunnel for an industry that relied heavily on maritime vessels.  
Geography Level 5 & 6 Geographical Concepts and Skills Place, Space and Interconnection Identify and explain the interconnections within places and between places, and the effects of these interconnections (VCGGC087) Discuss how many parts of Melbourne are connected via the Birrarung, and how people utilized it to move between places after colonisation. 
Geographical Knowledge Factors that shape places and influence interconnections Australia’s connections with other countries and how these change people and places (VCGGK098) Discuss the strong European influence on Australia, including its colonial and post-colonial maritime history.  
Environmental and human influences on the location and characteristics of places and the management of spaces within them (VCGGK096) View and explain the environmental changes that have occurred as a result of colonisation and commercialization of the area around Polly Woodside.  
Design and Technologies Level 5 & 6 Technologies and Society Investigate how people in design and technologies occupations address competing considerations, including sustainability, in the design of solutions for current and future use (VCDSTS033) Investigate the considerations made by shipping companies in choosing whether to use steam ships or sailing ships, and how these have differed in the modern world as people become more sustainably minded.  
Critical and Creative Thinking Level 5 & 6 Questions and Possibilities Experiment with alternative ideas and actions by setting preconceptions to one side (VCCCTQ022) Theorize their opinions on sailing prior to learning additional facts and information about life at sea. After learning more, students are invited to re-consider their previous thoughts.  

Further Program Details

Available:Monday-Thursday during school terms.
Duration:2 hours
Numbers:Maximum 80 students per session.
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:$12 per student
Safety:Click here to access the Polly Woodside Task Risk Assessment document.
Bookings:Online booking form

Email: bookings@nattust.com.au

Phone: (03)9656 9889

Plan your visit

Polly Woodside Education Programs

Address:

21 South Wharf Promenade
South Wharf 3006 VIC

Phone:
03 9656 988
Email:
bookings@nattrust.com.au
What we offer:

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"The staff at Polly Woodside thrust us into the time period immediately and engaged the students in a hands-on experience that really made them realise what life was like onboard ships of the time."

Teacher, Mentone Grammar, March 2024

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