Gripping Australian history

IGS students have been coming to grips with history at The Rocks.

Students used skills of archaeologists to investigate artefacts found in the rubble and foundations of the Sydney Harbour Youth Hostel Association (YHA).

They were tasked with examining old glass, forged items, bones and other objects to determine whether the area, considered one of the most significant in Australia, was a former slum.


They were seeking evidence of poor sanitation, cramped conditions, low education and poor quality of life of the inhabitants of the 1800s.

Year 8 has been spending a full week in The Rocks as part of the unique IGS SAGE Week, offering Student choice, Authentic learning, Global relevance and Exhibitions of learning.

Aside from investigating artefacts, students explored the The Rocks relationship to British Settlement, Nineteenth Century development of Sydney’s Dockside area, as well as the Bangabaoui education program, which included visits led by Aboriginal guides and performers.

In addition, students were treated to a sketch session with Artist in Residence Vincent de Gouw in front of the Park Hyatt Sydney, taking in the expansive views of Sydney Harbour.

The students found a place along the sandstone wall against the wharf, absorbing their surroundings and began to sketch.

“Become aware of your surroundings,” Vincent said to the students. “Your drawings should be from your perspective.”


Students immersed themselves in the harbour landscape, drawing the Opera House, ferries and city skyline.

The SAGE Week program has offered students a unique opportunity to explore Sydney and apply themselves to new areas of study.

“I’ve made lots of new friends this week and have enjoyed getting out of the classroom,” Scarlett said. “I’m looking forward to showing our parents the works we’ve completed this week.”

The IGS teachers have also added to the positivity of the SAGE Week experience.

“I have a new-found friendship with the teachers here, and have had a lot of fun,” Louis said.

Meanwhile, Year 7 have been on Shakespeare Bootcamp; Year 9 have been experiencing Opera on Kelly; while Year 10 journeyed to Tasmania, Writing the Island.