You are in site section: Education

Australia 1913

Australia 1913 is a printed supplement designed for the 'newspapers in education' program of The Canberra Times – and in particular for teachers of Australian Curriculum: History, years 9 and 6. It celebrates Canberra’s centenary and offers a window into the world of young Australia.

In many ways 1913 was a time of glorious possibilities – technological and scientific advances, social reforms and hope for the future. Yet this was also a paternalistic society; government and religious authorities had firm ideas about the right way to live, and sought to control the lives of those who failed to fit their vision for the nation.

Cover of 'Australia 1913' showing eight different interconnected images

In retrospect we also know 1913 as the year before the First World War, the so-called ‘war to end all wars’. This combination of elements makes for fascinating reading.

We present Australia 1913 as a series of eight stories:

  • Canberra
  • Independence
  • Colonies
  • Containment
  • Erasure
  • Photography
  • Wheels
  • Champions

Each story has a twist – especially if you use a mobile device to see the augmented reality content. There are dozens of digital overlays in this resource. Trigger images are marked with a purple frame and will do one of three things:

  • transition to a different image or website
  • open the first of a series of images – tap for the next one
  • play a video – best with headphones

Download Australia 1913 as a PDF (11 mb) – and read on for how to access the digital overlays – which should work either on-screen or in print.

Augmented reality – for the full experience

To see the digital overlays, you'll need a mobile device (phone or tablet) with an internet connection:

  1. Install the app – download and open Aurasma.
  2. Follow our channel – tap the magnifying glass and search for 'Australia 1913', a National Museum of Australia channel. Open the channel and tap the button to 'Follow' it – top, right.
  3. Tap on the viewfinder – along the bottom of the screen is a row of icons. In the centre is the viewfinder; tap on it. Now, when you hold your device over a trigger image, it will take you somewhere else.
Happy exploring! (And if you have difficulty – or comments of any kind – please let us know.)

Teaching notes

As well as the stories, we provide notes for teachers to use this material with their students. For each of the eight topics, the notes provide an overarching question designed to directly connect the topic to the Australian Curriculum: History for years 6 and 9, and a set of four kinds of activity we have called ‘Read’, ‘Boost’, ‘Create’ and ‘Investigate’.

See the full account of curriculum links and activities.


This resource was compiled by Catherine Styles with the help of many others including Dianne Firth, who provided advice on the ‘Canberra’ story, the Museum’s team of copyright wranglers led by Denis French, and editor Therese Osbourne. Narrators are landscape architect Giselle Menge; educators Jennifer White, Stephen Barker, Deborah Frederick, and Angela Casey; and curators Michelle Hetherington, Anthea Gunn and Peter Stanley. Marie-Ann Holdich wrote the notes for teachers, and the pianist is Elaine Loebenstein.


Reference numbers were omitted from the printed resource. The credits should have been as follows.

In the 'Canberra' story:

  • Marion Mahony's View from the summit of Mount Ainslie, National Archives of Australia: A710, 48–50
  • Plan of City & Environs, National Archives of Australia: A710, 38
  • Preliminary plan for Canberra, 1913, National Library of Australia: gmod34
  • 1927 plan of Canberra, National Library of Australia: gmod14
  • Walter Burley Griffin, 1912, National Library of Australia: vn3944215
In the 'Independence' story:
  • Killarney School, Empire Day. Courtesy Philippa Poole, holder of the Ethel Turner/Curlewis photographic and literary collection, National Library of Australia: an10998777-305

 In the 'Colonies' story:

  • Huskies, photo by Frank Hurley, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: a203001
  • Traversing loose pack ice entering the Durville Sea, December 1913, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: a128119 
  • Surfing at Bilgola Beach, 1913, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: PX*D 601
  • Australian Antarctic Expedition survey map, National Archives of Australia: A1, 1915/5159
  • Portrait of JHP Murray, National Library of Australia: an24110142
  • Hanuabada village, Port Moresby, PNG, 1913, National Library of Australia: vn3279291
  • Kokoda school, 1954, National Archives of Australia: A6510, 1801
  • Royal penguins and two men on Nuggets Beach, Macquarie Island. Photo: Frank Hurley. National Library of Australia: an23323341
In the 'Containment' story:
  • Smallpox vaccination at Welltown Station, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: bcp_02715 
  • Campsie girls school, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: GPO 1 – 16995
  • North Head Quarantine Station register of deaths, National Archives of Australia: C526
  • Front cover of 'That Tango Tea' music by George Bryer, National Library of Australia: vn4222288
  • Palais de Danse, St Kilda, National Library of Australia: vn3603884-s175
In the 'Erasure' story:
  • Front cover and illustration from 'The Answer', National Library of Australia: vn5214043
  • Chidley poster, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: V/120  
  • The late Mr Chidley, National Archives of Australia: A1861, 5461
  • Chidley in Martin Place, National Archives of Australia: C4076, HN231
  • Portrait of William James Chidley, National Archives of Australia: A1861, 3376
  • Aboriginal family at Mapoon, 1914, State Library of Queensland: 107796
  • Aboriginal girl, c1910, National Library of Australia: vn3585972
In the 'Photography' story:
  •  The Aurora in heavy pack ice; montage photograph by Frank Hurley, National Library of Australia: an23478533

In the 'Wheels' story:

  • Nellie Donegan, Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales: P1 / 486
  • New electric trams, National Library of Australia: vn4778594
  • Railway construction workers in the desert, 1911–13, Western Australia, State Library of Western Australia BA628/13
In the 'Champions' story:
  • Annette Kellermann, 'the perfect woman', National Library of Australia: an22948275
  • Letitia Withnall's hunger strike medal, National Library of Australia: an7853000-s1