Impact: An illustrated Aboriginal history

An Illustrated Aboriginal history

Darryl Pfitzner Milika  History Trust of South Australia

Resource title: Impact: An illustrated Aboriginal history

Digital resource identifier: R5482– R5492 (10 images)

Resource description
A set of 10 mixed-media panels by artist Darryl Pfitzner Milika, a highly regarded Adelaide-based Indigenous Australian. Milika, of the Kokotha language group from the west coast of South Australia, is concerned with Indigenous cultural identity and history. These works, completed in 2004, were commissioned by the Migration Museum in Adelaide for the museum’s entry area.

Stage of schooling: Upper Primary

CCE focus: Historical Perspectives


These panels collectively tell stories about the consequences of British settlement for Indigenous Australian culture and the Australian landscape. They use symbolism to communicate feelings and ideas. Students are able to explore the concept that there is a strong connection between the land and Aboriginal identity. They can also discuss the artist’s view about the impact of colonisation on this connection.

Opportunities for Civics and Citizenship learning

'Impact: An illustrated Aboriginal history' provides opportunities for students to:

  • explore the relationship between identity and land, particularly for Aboriginal people

  • consider the role of symbolism in art to communicate ideas

  • discuss how British settlement has impacted on Aboriginal culture

  • recognise the impact of colonisation on Aboriginal people’s connection to land.

Ideas for the classroom

  • Provide students with a background to the mixed media panels, highlighting the notion of the centrality of land to Aboriginal identity.

  • Discuss how artists can use symbolism to convey their message.

  • View the first panel as a class and collaboratively complete a Y chart as a response to the panel. Discuss.

  • Divide the class into nine groups. Allocate one of the remaining panels to each group. Ask each group to complete a collaborative Y chart based on their panel.

  • Once completed, ask each group to nominate a spokesperson to report their responses back to the class. Allow time for members of the class to ask clarifying questions and to add their viewpoints.

  • Complete the activity by asking students to share their opinions about how effectively the panels told their story.