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This Women’s History Month, learn about Wilhelmina Wylie

Every year in March, countries around the world celebrate Women’s History Month to acknowledge the women who have changed our society for the better. Do your students know the story of Wilhelmina Wylie, one of our first female Olympians? 

Living history series Are You Tougher than Your Ancestors? explores historic periods and events through the eyes of children who were there. Each episode reveals the incredible true story of a resilient and courageous child from the past, and challenges modern-day children to emulate their experiences.

In the episode ‘Olympia!’, young swimmers Sienna and Paige attempt to beat the Olympic medal-winning time of Wilhelmina (‘Mina’) Wylie. Mina and her friend – and fierce competitor – Fanny Durack were Australia’s first female Olympians. Prior to their inclusion in the 1912 Stockholm Games, women were not allowed to compete in the Olympics.

This episode sees Sienna and Paige train and race at Mina’s home pool, Wylie’s Baths in Coogee. To really walk in Mina’s shoes, they also need to swim the Trudgen stroke, wear woollen bathers and forego goggles! Just as the girls are making progress, they are asked to perform one of Mina’s water ballets before they can race. Mina received minimal support to head to the Games, so she raised money through performances to help pay her way.

Will Sienna and Paige be able to handle the rough conditions, learn the Trudgen, complete the mermaid stunt, and beat Mina’s time? Will they be tougher than their ancestors?

Find clips and learning tasks to explore Mina’s story further in our free Are You Tougher than Your Ancestors? Teaching Toolkit. This F-6 teaching resource links content in Ancestors episodes to the History sub-strand of the F-6/7 Humanities and Social Sciences curriculum.

The complete series of Are You Tougher than Your Ancestors? is available to download via the ACTF Shop. Select episodes are also currently streaming on ABC iview.

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August 11th 2022

‘Giving space to the voices of the past’: My Place site updated

Curator and writer Jennifer Forest has collaborated with ACTF First Nations Designer April Phillips to update content in the My Place for Teachers decade timeline, aiming to better represent diverse voices from Australia’s past. 

August 11th 2022

New resource: Writing rubrics

In response to teacher feedback received last year, the ACTF has developed writing rubrics to support students entering the 2022 My Place Competition.

August 11th 2022

Entries for the 2022 My Place Competition now open

Students are invited to submit their creative writing entries for the 2022 My Place Competition from 15 August – 16 September.

July 27th 2022

New resource supports teachers to explore consent and identity in the classroom

Secondary teachers across Australia now have access to a new resource to safely explore challenging topics with teenage students, including consent and respectful relationships.

July 26th 2022

Virtual workshop recordings now live

During Term 2, the ACTF learning team delivered two live virtual workshops exploring the impact of light and colour in television series and a behind-the-scenes look at the series Li'l Elvis Jones and the Truckstoppers. These recordings and resources are now available to view and explore on our website.

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