The colonial experience tour

Primary students study colonial-era paintings and treasures, and imagine daily life in 19th-century Victoria.

Washing out a good prospect, ca 1858, Antoine Fauchery
Credit: photo of diggers by Antoine Fauchery, c 1858
60 minutes
Year level
Year: 5–6
$130 per group (up to 25 students)
100 students

What was life like in Victoria before there were cars, roads or towns?

Touring the Library's spaces and exhibitions, students become historians as they uncover the stories behind artefacts and visualise colonial-era Victoria through our inspiring gallery of paintings.

Moving through the different spaces, students also gain an understanding of the Library's role in documenting Victoria's history, and experience first-hand our heritage building's unique architecture and legacy.

Student experience

Students will:

  • explore the Library, visiting the Cowen Gallery, Red Rotunda and La Trobe Reading Room
  • view artefacts up close on a guided tour of the Changing face of Victoria exhibition
  • learn about important historical figures from Victoria's past, including William Barak, John Batman and William Buckley
  • see Ned Kelly's famous suit of armour

Curriculum information

This program links strongly to the Victorian Curriculum, history, and is relevant to Years 5–6.

Skills development

This program assists students to:

  • describe perspectives and identify ideas, beliefs and values of people and groups in the past
  • identify and describe patterns of continuity and change in daily life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian colonies
  • explain the significance of an event and an individual or group that influenced change in the Australian colonies

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.