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Create a message on a turtle or person shaped template, inspired by the message wall in Endeavour Voyage: The Untold Stories of Cook and the First Australians. The exhibition explores views from the ship and shore.

Exhibition display featuring multiple pieces of coloured paper cut out in the shape of people with hand written messages. They are positioned amongst a stylised landscape of mountains and a star-lit sky. - click to view larger image
The message wall in the Endeavour exhibition

Did you know ...

Many visitors left heartfelt messages on the message wall in our Endeavour exhibition. The exhibition looks at many points of view and some of these stories are sad and complicated.

You can create a message wall at home using a person or turtle shape to write your messages on.

How to make your own message wall

Endeavour Voyage families tour and message wall 7:56

See some of curator Shona's favourite objects and stories from Endeavour Voyage, then have fun at home crafting your own creation, inspired by the exhibition's message wall.

Skill level: ★★ Moderate — you may need an adult to help
30 minutes or more (depends on your skill level and design)
Ages: 8 years and up

What you need:

  • person and/or turtle template
  • pencil
  • coloured pens, textas or pencils
  • scissors
  • paddle pop sticks
  • blue tack or plasticine (to make a stand for your person)
  • small cardboard box like an old shoebox to make a message wall
  • coloured card for the hills of the message wall.

Remember: scissors, are sharp! Ask an adult for help if needed.

Step 1

  • Gather your materials.
  • Print the person or turtle template on light-coloured card or paper.
  • We used different coloured card.
  • We have used the person shape in this example, but you can choose the turtle or a mix of both.

Step 2

  • Carefully cut out your shapes.
  • Cut along the two black lines on the back. This is where the paddle pop stick goes to make your person stand up.
  • You can make one message person or you could make a few people and write different messages on each.

Step 3

Plan what you would like to say on a bit of scrap paper. Some questions you might like to think of when creating your message are:

  • What would you like to say to the people of the past? Maybe you could write a letter.
  • Imagine what it was like for Cook and his crew arriving in Australia in the 1700s, to a country that was completely different and where they couldn’t speak the language? Imagine what the Indigenous people thought when they saw the HMB Endeavour arrive?
  • Whose point of view will you write your message from?
  • Living in Australia means different things to different people. What does it mean to you today?

Once you know what you want to say, draw or write it onto your message person.

We drew a banksia seed pod and Joseph Banks to represent both points of views in the story:

  1. Banksias have been important to Indigenous communities for hundreds of years.
  2. The banksia plant was named after Joseph Banks who was the naturalist on the HMB Endeavour.

Step 4

  • Put the paddle pop stick through the two slots to stand your person up.
  • We used modelling clay as a base, but you could use blue tack or plasticine. In the exhibition the people are standing in a block of florist foam. Have a look around the house and see what might work.

Step 5

  • Find an old box. The size will depend on how big you want to make your message wall. A shoe box will work if you only want one or two message people.
  • Just like the message wall in the exhibition, we decided to create a line of hills. We cut out hill shapes and glued them into the box, one in front of the other to give a bit of depth. Your message people can sit between the hills.

Share your creation

Share your message with your friends and families or with us:

Exhibition display featuring multiple pieces of coloured paper cut out in the shape of people - some with faces - with hand written messages.
Messages on the Endeavour message wall
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