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Birrong Girls High School

Birrong Girls High School

Ad Astra - To the stars

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Human society and its environment

In human society and its environment (HSIE), both subjects of history and geography are mandatory from Kindergarten to Year 10.

Students learn specific historical and geographical concepts and skills in history and geography. They also have an opportunity to learn more about people and the societies and environments in which they live through elective subjects in Years 7 to 10 (Stages 4 to 5).

A large number of individual subjects make up the key learning area of HSIE in which students:

  • research, gather and analyse information
  • question and make judgements
  • write for a variety of purposes. 

In Year 11 and 12, students can choose from a range of HSIE courses. These include:

  • Aboriginal Studies
  • Ancient History
  • Business Studies
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • History Extension
  • Legal Studies
  • Modern History
  • Society and Culture
  • Studies of Religion.

History Website Profile Birrong Girls High School







We are not makers of history. We are made by history. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The History faculty at Birrong Girls High School are a dedicated team with a passion for teaching our subjects:

  • Junior History                                    (Stage 4-5, Years 7-10)
  • Ancient History                                                 (Stage 6, Years 11-12)
  • Modern History                                (Stage 6, Years 11-12)
  • Extension History                             (Stage 6, Years 11-12)
  • Studies of Religion                           (Stage 6, Years 11-12)
  • Society and Culture                         (Stage 6, Years 11-12)

In History, students are successfully involved in various activities including:

  • HSC Lectures/Study Days
  • Excursions (The Sydney Jewish Museum, The Nicholson Museum at the University of Sydney)
  • Incursions
  • ANZAC Day Commemoration
  • Remembrance Day Commemoration
  • Historical Investigations     
  • Australian History Competition
  • History Teachers' Association  History Competition


Year 11 and 12 Studies of Religion Students examining Mr Ali's Islamic Art Collection

About History

History is a process of inquiry into the past that allows students to think about their place in human history and experience. It enables students to appreciate and enjoy human endeavours, achievements and, sometimes, mistakes. It also assists students to develop important skills for their future role as active and informed citizens, skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving and communication. The History Faculty is committed to developing a life-long love of history and supporting students to become 21st Century critical thinkers.


The Year 9 History students attended The Remembrance Day Commemorations at Auburn War Memorial

About Society and Culture:

  • Society and Culture is the study of human behaviour: how we operate as individuals, how we function in groups, in Australia and in other cultures. Society and Culture is a learning experience which allows for the integration of the student's personal experience with the public knowledge available through all kinds of research, writing and media. We examine the micro, meso and the macro world.

Society and Culture students:

  • Are self –aware, with a strong sense of personal, social and cultural identity
  • Show a concern  and respect for the welfare, rights and dignity of all people
  • Understand continuity and change and the implications for our future
  • Communicate effectively
  • Are critically discerning towards the media
  • Research ethically and effectively
  • Empathise with people of different societies and cultures
  • Are capable of informed decision making and taking action on social issues
  • Can see beyond the notion of ‘us' and ‘them'

About Studies of Religion


Year 11 Studies of Religion Students in front of St Mary's Cathedral

About History Extension

From the syllabus:

"The course further develops students' understanding of how historians work. The focus of the course is not on content alone, although an understanding of content is important. Rather than simply extending students' knowledge of a particular period or event in history, the course is aimed at using specific historical investigations to reflect on the nature of history and how and why approaches and interpretations change over time.

HSC History Extension provides students with the opportunity to gain greater knowledge and understanding of the way history is written. They do this by reviewing the kinds of history that have been written and the context in which history is constructed over time in order to reflect on some of the problems associated with the writing of history. Students explore these issues through readings selected from the works of various writers and historians from ancient times to the present day and a case study on an area of debate. Through the case study, students consider how historians use sources as evidence to establish their interpretations of a person or issue. Finally, students have the opportunity to build on the skills of historical enquiry and to apply them by designing and conducting their own historical investigation."



This course has been designed to provide students with an understanding of world history from ancient to modern times as well as the basic skills required for the effective study of History.

Topics studied are as follows:

In Year 7

  • Investigating the Ancient Past
  • The Ancient World  - Ancient Egypt
  • The Ancient  World – Ancient China
  • The Ancient World  – Ancient Greece

In Year 8

  • The Western and Islamic World – Medieval Europe
  • The Black Death in Asia, Europe and Africa
  • Expanding Contacts – The Spanish Conquest of the Americas


8B History Students holding their Australian History Competition Certificates


This course has been designed to provide students with an understanding of Australian history and the making of the modern world. Students will also develop the skills required for the effective study of History.

Topics studied are as follows:

In Year 9 – We study a combination of mandatory and elective History topics

  • Making of a better world-The Industrial Revolution
  • The Making of the Modern World and Australia- Making a Nation
  • Ancient societies- Archaeology- Catalhoyuk
  • The Making of the Modern World and Australia – World War One
  • Oral History – Focus Migrant Histories
  • The Making of the Modern World and Australia – World War Two

In Year 10 - We study a combination of mandatory and elective History topics

  • Making a Better World? Movement of Peoples (1750-1901)
  • Film as History – The Sapphires
  • The Modern World and Australia – The Holocaust
  • The Civil Rights Movement in the USA
  • The Modern World and Australia  - Rights and Freedoms (1945-present)
  • The Modern World and Australia  - Popular Culture (1945-present)


Tania Tran with Holocaust Survivor Eddy Jaku


The study of Ancient History enables students to acquire knowledge and understanding, historical skills, and values and attitudes in order to appreciate the ancient world.

Preliminary course topics include:

  • Investigating the Past: History, Archaeology and Science (Case Study: Otzi the Iceman)
  • Homer and the Trojan War
  • Dier el Medina
  • Tutankhamun
  • Historical Investigation (students can select an area of investigation)

HSC course topics include:

  • Core Study: Cities of Vesuvius – Pompeii and Herculaneum
  • One Ancient Society, e.g. Sparta
  • One Personality in Their Time, e.g. Akhenaten
  • One Historical Period, e.g. Amenhotep III to the death of Rameses II


Modern History is designed to enable students to acquire knowledge and understanding, historical skills, and values and attitudes in order to appreciate the forces that have shaped the modern world.

Preliminary topics include:

  • Slavery
  • Ayatollah Khomeini and Muslim fundamentalism
  • Historical Investigation
  • Core Study: The World at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century

HSC topics include:

  • Core Study: World War I, 1914-1919
  • One National Study e.g. Germany, 1918-1939 or Russia
  • One Personality in the Twentieth Century e.g. Albert Speer 1905-1981 or Trotsky
  • One International Study in Peace and Conflict, e.g. Conflict in the Pacific 1937-1951, Conflict in Indochina 1954-1979 or Arab Israeli Conflict


The aim of HSC History Extension is to enable students to evaluate the ideas and processes used by historians to produce history, and to apply what they have learned in order to enquire into areas of historical interest with increasing independence. The course involves:

Part I: What is History? (60 % of course time)

Students use historical debates from one case study (JFK) and a source book of historical readings to investigate the question ‘What is history?', through the key questions:

  • Who are the historians?
  • What are the aims and purposes of history?
  • How has history been constructed and recorded over time?
  • Why have approaches to history changed over time?

Part II: History Project (40 % of course time)

Students learn historical skills of:

  • developing a proposal for a historical investigation
  • locating, selecting, analysing, synthesising and evaluating information from a range of historical sources
  • presenting research findings through a well-structured historical text
  • appropriate referencing
  • preparing a bibliography
  • reviewing key sources
  • reflecting on process and product and apply the skills by designing and conducting their own historical investigation.


The aim of Studies of Religion is to promote an understanding and critical awareness of the nature and significance of religion and the influence of belief systems and religious traditions on individuals and within society. 

Preliminary and HSC topics include:

  • Nature of Religion and Beliefs
  • Religion and Belief Systems in Australia post-1945
  • Religious Tradition Depth Study 1 – Judaism
  • Religious Tradition Depth Study 2 – Buddhism
  • Religious Tradition Depth Study 3 – Islam


Year 11 group photo outside the Nan Tien Temple, Wollongong


The Great Synagogue, Sydney


Year 11 and Year 12 students outside the Great Synagogue Sydney


The aim of Society and Culture is to develop a student's knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes essential to achieving social and cultural literacy by examining the interactions between persons, societies, cultures and environments across time.

Preliminary topics include:

  • The Social and Cultural World
  • Personal and Social Identity
  • Intercultural communication

HSC topics include (TWO topics are required for the HSC)

  • Popular Culture
  • Belief Systems
  • Social Inclusion and Exclusion
  • Social Conformity and Nonconformity