Teaching Conviction Politics: New Perspectives on Modern Australian History

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This course offers exciting new details about convict Australia and will allow participants to develop an understanding of the role played in Australian history by the 3,600 political prisoners transported to Australia between 1788 and 1868, and to apply this understanding to NSW syllabuses.

Participants will investigate changing interpretations of the role played by convicts in Australian history and identify the historical links that existed in the colonial era between the treatment of convicts and Indigenous people.

On completing the course participants will have an awareness of the depth of evidence available regarding working class lives in colonial Australia, and an understanding of the role played by convicts in the formation of Australian political and social democracy and the birth of the trade union movement.

Face to face

Day one – Thursday, 23 November

Federation House, 23-33 Mary Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010

Online via zoom

A half day follow up session will take place over Zoom following the face-to-face session. This date to be confirmed in consultation with attendees.

Tony Moore

Tony Moore is Associate Professor of Communications and Media Studies, Monash University and Lead Chief Investigator of ARC Linkage project Conviction Politics: the convict routes of Australian democracy. He is author of Dancing with Empty Pockets: Australia’s Bohemians since 1860 (2012), and Death or Liberty: rebels and radicals transported to Australia 1788-1868 (2010), adapted as an ABC television documentary of the same name (2015). Tony had previous careers as a documentary maker at the ABC, commissioning editor at Pluto Press (publishing the Vinson Report into public schools with the Federation) and in policy research for government and community sectors, including the NSW Education Commission. He has served as a member of the ABC National Advisory Council on the NSW Steering Committee for International Youth Year (1985) and served as President of NSW Fabians, and on the executive of the Evatt Foundation. He has been an active member of the CPSU, MEAA and NTEU.

Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas is a filmmaker and Creative Director at Hobart-based production company Roar Film, with extensive expertise in documentary, multimedia, and interactive digital storytelling. Steve produced and directed the musical and drama-led documentary Death or Liberty about the transported political prisoners, with Ireland’s Tile Films and recently Looky, Looky Here comes Cookie, an Indigenous take on Captain Cook. He has contributed to over 30 award-winning film and television projects since 1995. Steve’s work at Roar has been broadcast on ABC, SBS, NITV, ZDF Germany, TG4 Ireland, S4C Wales, and the Discovery Channel. He has also collaborated with institutions such as the Australian National Maritime Museum, the National Trust of Australia, and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery.

Secondary HSIE teachers

Primary teachers


Face to face in Surry Hills, with a half day follow-up session online.