The cartoons below have been embedded from the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Telegraph.
Cartoons are a form of visual representation of ideas, views and concepts. It is important that students develop skills in interpreting cartoons. Interpreting cartoons involves knowledge of the context of the cartoon, identifying different issues being explored in the cartoon, identifying the techniques used by the artist, and considering the views or opinions that the artist is trying to convey.
- What is the cartoon about?
- Who is represented in the cartoon? Why?
Knowledge of the context:
- What events have happened?
- Look at the date of the cartoon. What events had happened at the time the cartoon had been drawn?
- Who are the key people/roles involved in the event/issue?
Identifying issues explored:
- What can you see in the cartoon? What words are used?
- What concepts are being explored?
- Has the artist used symbolism, irony, analogy or exaggeration in communicating?
- Is the cartoon persuasive?
Views and opinions:
- Can you identify the political views or perspective of the artist?
- How are these views or perspective communicated?
- What other opinions are there about this issue?
Fires around Port Macquarie, Lake Cathie and Lake Innes began in November 2019. As of 21 January the Crestwood Drive, Port Macquarie fire had burnt out 3572ha, while the connected Lindfield Park rd, Port Macquarie fire had burnt out 859ha.
The Lake Innes Nature Reserve was home to a flourishing koala colony. Between 350 and 600 koalas are believed to have died in the fires around the Lake Innes area.
The image on the left is a screenshot of the RFS Fires Near Me app showing the location and extent of the Port Macquarie fires. The screenshot on the right shows the size of the Port Macquarie fires in relation to other fires in the mid-North Coast region.
Photos below show the aftermath of the fire - taken on 17 January, 2020.
The post below from NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services indicate that while the fire around Lake Innes was extinguished, there remains risk for future fires flaring even several months later. The post below was posted on January 21.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital
Following the fire a number of injured koalas required intensive care. The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital was inundated
The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has a large number of koalas in care. The least injured/ill koalas are available for public viewing, while those most injured are screened from public viewing for their own wellbeing. Below is an example of the management of koalas, their injury/illness and treatment.
Go Fund Me Campaign
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital set up a Go Fund Me Page to raise much needed funds to support care for injured koalas and to establish drinking stations and a breeding program for koalas in the region. The initial goal was for $25,000. By 21 January, the campaign had raised nearly $7.5 million dollars. The scope of the projects originally proposed have now been expanded in light of the huge amount of money raised.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital - Go Fund Me.
A bushfire started on December 31 at Charmhaven on the Central Coast and burned over several days. This is one of the smaller fires in The Australian Bushfires 2019-2020, but still burnt out 418ha of land. Local residents were issued with warnings and in some cases were evacuated. Two homes, located on Birdwood Drive and Arizona Drive were lost.
The photos below show the aftermath of the fire, taken on 18 January. There is some evidence of regrowth, but the fire-ground still smelt of smoke and was still hot underfoot.
Community groups have attempted to rescue injured wildlife and provide food for them. Below are photos of food left in a hanging container and food left on a tree stump.
Coordination of feeding and watering stations has been aided by the using of spatial technologies such as Google maps.
A Water Our Wildlife CCWSAR Map has been developed to help volunteers know where feeding and watering stations have been set up, so that people can visit them independently and re-stock them..
Victoria – Joint Task Force 646
Following a request from Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, on December 31, naval vessels, helicopter and fixed wing military aircraft were made ready for use in evacuations. This was decided in consultation with the Prime Minister and Defence Chief General Angus Campbell.
HMAS Choules transported approximately 1100 evacuees from Mallacoota to Western Port on January 4-5. The ship then returned to Mallacoota to deliver diesel fuel and a fuel management team to keep generators running. RAAF Black Hawk and Taipan helicopters transported firefighters to fire grounds, and helped evacuate vulnerable people. Three Spartan aircraft assisted with evacuations.
On January 5 and 6 ADF flew in emergency food, fuel, water and medical supplies to 18 cut-off communities. On January 7 they prepared a staging area for around 100 international fire fighters around Omeo.
On January 7, further evacuations from Mallacoota took place, and satellite phones and food, medical supplies, water and fuel were delivered in some isolated locations, including Bemm River and Genoa.
Reconnaissance flights were conducted over fire affected areas on January 8. A medical team was deployed to remote towns such as Combienbar and Gipsy Point.
5400 litres of diesel and 800 litres of unleaded petrol were flown in to Mallacoota.
Equipment and Engineering personnel were provided to assist state government in reopening roads, removing debris and clearing fire breaks and fire trails. On January 9, ADF undertook route clearance north of Bairnsdale and the Great Alpine Road was reopened. Hay bales and fodder were moved into key locations. Air Force air traffic controllers assisted to help manage the large volume of air traffic at the Bairnsdale Airport.
From January 10, ADF undertook continued work in support of relief centres at Omeo, Swifts Creek, Bairnsdale, Orbost and Mallacoota. ADF also supported evacuations from the Victorian Alpine region.
Undertake internet research:
- Make a list of the different issues affecting the people of Mallacoota prior to the ADF assisting them?
- Make a list of the different tasks undertaken by The Australian Defence Force to assist the people of Mallacoota?
- Why do you think that The Australian Defence Force had to be called in to assist the people of Mallacoota? Was this a good decision? What are the costs and benefits of using the ADF in this way?
- What challenges did the ADF face in assisting the people of Mallacoota?
- Outline the effectiveness of The Australian Defence Force in responding to the bushfire crisis affecting Mallacootta.
Embedded below are social media posts from The Guardian, The Australian Defence Force, the Royal Australian Army and the Royal Australian Airforce.
- What is the purpose of The Australian Defence Force, Royal Australian Army and the Royal Australian Airforce posting updates about their activities? What are the benefits of these posts?
- Consider the following statement about media: "Media and media messages can influence beliefs, values, attitudes, behaviours and the democratic process." What messages are conveyed in the posts below? What values are communicated? How might these posts influence democratic processes?
Embedded below is a series of tweets by Brendan, a local resident of Mallacoota. As the emergency unfolded, he published updates on the progress of the fires and the experiences of him and his family, and later on his community. The tweets included below are just from the first few days of the disaster. You can also listen to an interview with Brendan by clicking here.
Unlike a formal newspaper article or a television news story, this is a very personal account, describing one man's individual experiences.
- Create a list of the impacts of the fire on this particular person.
- Create a list of impacts on the community of Mallacoota.
- Use the hashtags #Mallacoota, #Australianbushfires and/or #bushfires to search Twitter. Explore the perspectives of other residents during the emergency. Add to your lists above, and write a short description of the accounts of these individuals.
- Consider the language and the descriptions included in the accounts you have read. How do these differ from the language and descriptions in more formal pieces of writing or news such as newspaper articles or news reports?
- As a geographer, what are the advantages of reading personal accounts of a natural disaster such as the Australian Bushfires? What are the disadvantages?
- What steps could you take to verify the accounts of individuals on twitter or other forms of social media?
A range of spatial technologies have been used during and after the Australian Bushfires 2019-2020. Emergency Services have used apps to communicate with the public about the location of fires and the risk to the public. Members of the public have been able to refer to geospatial information about air quality and weather conditions, and following the fires, environmental groups have been able to use geospatial tools to communicate and coordinate locations of feeding and watering stations for wildlife.
MyFireWatch is a collaboration between Edith Cowan University and Landgate and tracks bushfires.
Current Bushfires is the Queensland Government - Rural Fire Service website.
Air Quality Index Visual Map
The Air Quality Index Visual Map uses Air Quality Monitoring stations to collect data about air quality and represent it spatially. Air Quality is categorised as Good, Moderate, Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, Unhealthy, Very Unhealthy, Hazardous.
Bureau of Meteorology
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology website provides up to date information about weather conditions that may impact on bushfires, such as temperature and wind.
Water Our Wildlife CCWSAR Map
The Central Coast Wildlife Search and Rescue created a google map to share information about feeding and watering stations to help surviving wildlife. This enables volunteers to independently visit sites for restocking.
Water Our Wildlife CCWSAR Map
Some generic bushfire lesson plans and sequences:
GTA NSW - Geography Alive - Bushfire Hazards in Australia
Bushfire lesson plan - Australian Institute of Disaster Resilience
Bushfire Education - Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority
Preparing for an emergency - NSW Rural Fire Service
Bushfires and grassfires - CFA, Victoria
Learning about Bushfires - Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority
Dates for consultation on the new draft syllabus for Senior Geography have recently been announced. To find about about the dates click to see the Geography and Geography Life Skills Stage 6 Draft Syllabus Consultation page.
There are several documents worth reviewing prior to consultation sessions:
- The Geography and Geography Life Skills Stage 6 syllabus review (released 2018)
- Geography and Geography Life Skills Stage 6 Draft Directions for Syllabus Development (released for the consultation period July-September 2018)
- Feedback from GTANSW and ACT
At this stage four different options for course structure have been provided by NESA for review and consultation. The new syllabus draft that will be released just prior to the consultation meetings (22 July) is likely to be based on one of these models.
All Preliminary options provided included a topic on The Nature of Geography, a Geographical Investigation and a Global Transformations topic. This last topic may be drawn from the Australian Curriculum and can be found at the Australian Curriculum (Global Transformations) page.
Two of the proposed course structure options included Natural and Ecological Hazards, likely drawn from the Australian Curriculum (Natural and Ecological Hazards) topic. One option included Biophysical Interactions, likely drawn from the existing Stage 6 syllabus. One option includes a topic Physical Environments and Natural Hazards, possibly a melding of the existing Biophysical Interactions topic and the Australian Curriculum Natural and Ecological Hazards.
Sustainable Places looks certain to be included in the HSC course, being in each of the 4 proposed options. This is one of the Australian Curriculum topics and the national version of the topic can be found on the Australian Curriculum (Sustainable Places) site.
The Ecosystems at Risk topic has been retained in all four options, but in Option 4 to a lesser extent. Until the draft syllabus is released we won't know how much of the actual topic is likely to be changed or retained.
Population Change is a topic in two of the proposed course structure options. The topics Human and Ecological Change, People and Economic Integration and Landcover transformation are each found in one option. It is possible that these will draw on the Australian curriculum topic Australian Curriculum (Landcover Transformation), or the existing People and Economy Activity topic.
Overview - What we know so far...
3 topics and an investigation:
- Nature of Geography
- Global Transformations
- One topic still to be announced - possibly some combination of Biophysical Interactions and Ecological Hazards or one or the other.
- Geographical Investigation
3 (possibly 4) topics:
- Sustainable Places
- Ecosystems at Risk (but may be a shorter version of the current topic)
- One topic (or possibly two) still to be announced. There are a few different options as to what this topic will be.
This is the first time there has been change in the Senior Geography syllabus in NSW for many years. It is important that as many people get involved in the consultation sessions as possible. Make sure you attend and have your say.
Later edit following release of Draft Syllabus:
Preliminary topics are:
- Earth's Natural Systems
- Human Systems
- Human-Environment Interactions
- Geographical Investigation
HSC topics are:
- Planning for Sustainability
- Urban and Rural Places
- Ecosystems and Global Biodiversity
Deputy Principal at a Sydney high school. Coordinating author of the Geoactive text book series.