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19 June 2003

An ambitious series of educational materials aimed at bringing history alive for students was judged best book series for primary schools, in the Excellence in Educational Publishing 2003 Awards announced today in Sydney.

Our Voices - comprising 21 books, three teacher's resource books, three poster packs and a CD-ROM was conceived and created by the National Museum of Australia and published by Rigby Publishing, which took out the award for 2003 Primary Publisher of the Year. It examines historical and contemporary issues shaping Australian culture, reflecting the Museum's main themes of Land, Nation and People.

'We are very proud to see this exciting nationwide use of the Museum's source material being applauded by our peers,' said Dawn Casey, National Museum Director. 'We hope to encourage our youngsters up to age 12 to become better historians!'

The books, written by two Museum education experts, Jennet Cole-Adams and Judy Gauld, are closely linked to the study of society and the environment in the primary school curriculum.

Including titles such as I Am Australian, Living on the Land, Through Australian Eyes, Making Australia Home, Hardship and Opportunity and Captivating the Nation, the series is designed for either classroom discussion or independent reading and research. The titles are grouped within three levels in school years 1 to 6.

'We've worked to stimulate students into gaining a knowledge of our past by presenting them, not with a chronological approach, but with the stories of real people,' says Jennet Cole-Adams. 'This signature appeal of the Museum and the series helps students better understand the Australia of today.'

Our Voices was launched at the National Museum on February 12 by Professor Tony Taylor, Director of The National Centre for History Education at Monash University.

'The Museum is actively helping reinvigorate an interest in history in students through Our Voices, and encouraging a spirit of inquiry among them,' says Professor Taylor.

For media enquiries, interviews and images, please contact Martin Portus on (02) 6208 5351, 0409 916 481 or email

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