You are in site section: Education

Indigenous Rights and Freedoms

'From little things big things grow'

You may know the song, or you may have heard the saying, but what were the ‘little things’ that actually led to the big changes in the struggle for Indigenous civil and political rights and freedoms in Australia?

'YES' for Aborigines - leaflet campaigning for the 1967 Referendum
Yes for Aborigines. FCAATSI poster, authorised by Faith Bandler.

In Indigenous Rights and Freedoms, students learn about several key Indigenous and non-Indigenous people involved in the struggles for rights and freedoms for Indigenous Australians, and how these struggles were shaped by global trends such as the American civil rights movements.

Through gallery exploration and object handling students interpret, analyse and discuss evidence, and consider the impact that changing attitudes to Indigenous rights has had on contemporary Australia.


Year levels9–12 (10–12 for Qld, WA and SA)
Group size30 students (note that two groups can run concurrently)
Duration2 hours
Cost$6 per student (2017)
$7 per student (2018)
AvailabilityTuesday–Friday at 10am and 1pm

Alternative times may be available for local schools. Please contact for further information.
Curriculum linksThe content of Indigenous Rights and Freedoms relates closely to the Australian Curriculum: History Year 10, The Modern World and Australia. It addresses Depth Study 2 Rights and freedoms (1945 to the present).

Australian History curriculum links to our programs (225kb PDF)


  • Investigate the evolution of Indigenous rights in Australia and help students to understand some of the campaigns for rights developed by Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
  • Enable students to recognise the international connections – how Australian history and major global movements shared strategies in the struggle for rights and freedoms.
  • Explore key terms surrounding the concept of rights, freedoms and equality.
  • Investigate and explore evidence in history through object analysis and primary source material. Enable students to draw conclusions about the significance of the development of Indigenous rights in Australia by identifying key people involved in the struggle for these rights and the issues they faced.


  1. Introductory activity – in this short activity students explore key terms surrounding the concepts of rights, freedoms and equality and develop key points of inquiry to focus their gallery exploration.
  2. Gallery activity – students undertake a guided exploration of the galleries in small groups. They gather evidence, critically assess and develop conclusions about a specific focus area and report these findings back to the group.
  3. Object investigation and reflection – students handle and closely investigate a range of objects and documents relating to their focus area. They respond critically and creatively to these primary sources and share their responses with the rest of the group.

Exploring the Museum

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

Related resources

These activity ideas might be useful in your classroom.

You may also be interested in these teacher resources:

You can also see the lists of resources related to Indigenous culture & history, and resources related to historical skills.