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Tools of the Land

What did Aboriginal people in the past use to survive and thrive?

Big grinding stone, students using it

Can you imagine what life would have been like for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples before 1788? What tools would you have needed for everyday life? How would you share information with your family, friends and community?

Tools of the Land introduces students to the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culture and life before 1788. Students explore a wide variety of indigenous tools through object handling and discussion.


Year levels3–4
Group size30 students (note that two groups can run concurrently)
Duration90 minutes
Cost$7 per student
AvailabilityTuesday–Friday at 10am and 1pm

Alternative times may be available for local schools. Please contact for further information.
Curriculum linksAustralian History curriculum links to our programs (225kb PDF)


  • To provide students with the opportunity to explore the different tools used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people pre-1788 through object handling and discussion; and
  • Enable students to consider the use and importance of tools in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander societies before European settlement through to today.


  1. Introductory activity – students handle and discuss a range of objects that relate to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life before and after 1788. Year 3 to 4 students investigate a number of Indigenous tools, and consider and discuss what they are made of, how they are used and who might use them.
  2. Gallery activity – students explore the Gallery of First Australians to identify, explore and categorise a wide variety of tools used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  3. Reflection – students gather to discuss the tools they have found and the importance of these to the way Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples lived.

Exploring the Museum

For everything you need to know about visiting, see Plan and book a visit.


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