First contacts and the colonial experience tour

Melbourne (detail), LW Wilson, 1905
60 minutes
Year level
Year: 3–6
$130 per group (up to 25 students)
50 students. Note: programs do not run on Mondays.

On a tour through the Library's unique heritage spaces, students take an in-depth look at our collection to develop an understanding of the impact of European settlement on the Aboriginal people of Victoria and their land. Students will also examine the lives of colonial Victorians, discovering the role of significant individuals who shaped the colony, and those who fought to protect Aboriginal rights and freedoms.

Students will use a range of primary sources (artworks, explorer books and John Batman's infamous treaty), visual thinking skills and their own viewpoints to present a range of questions about the past.

Student experience

Students will:

  • learn about important historical figures from Victoria's past, including William Barak, John Batman and William Buckley
  • view artefacts, documents and other historical materials up close in The changing face of Victoria exhibition
  • use visual thinking skills and their own viewpoints to pose analytical questions about the past
  • explore the Library's unique heritage spaces, including the iconic La Trobe Reading Room, on a guided tour.

Skills development

This program links to the Victorian Curriculum and assists students to:

  • identify and explain the causes and effects of European settlement and exploration (VCHHC070)
  • identify the origin, content features and purpose of historical sources, and describe the context of these sources when explaining daily life in colonial Victoria (VCHHC082)
  • understand the nature of contact between Indigenous communities in Victoria and European settlers, and the effects of these interactions (VCHHK081)
  • explore reactions to a given situation or problem and consider the effect of pre-established preferences (VCCCTQ011).

Excursion funding

Thanks to our generous philanthropic partners, Victorian schools with an Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) ranking of less than 1000 may be eligible to receive funding towards program and transport costs. You can look up your school's score on the My School website.

The Library can offer limited bus funding reimbursements, and program waivers for up to four groups per booked excursion. This offer is available until funding has been exhausted.

If you would like to be considered for excursion funding, please add your details when completing the online booking form.

Embark on a journey of discovery at the State Library

Held in the inspiring heritage setting of Australia's oldest public library, our school excursions offer students a uniquely immersive, enriching experience, encouraging return visits and life-long learning. The Library has provided free access to information and education since 1856, and we invite students to become part of history as they tour the breathtaking dome and view our historic collections. All tours and workshops are developed by experienced teachers, aligned to the Victorian Curriculum and facilitated by expert staff.

State Library Victoria is a Child Safe Organisation. Learn more about how we are working to ensure the wellbeing of children visiting the Library.