Woodbridge, with its iron lace work, parquetry, polished jarrah, tessellated tile
floors, and many pieces of original furniture, is a rare surviving example of a grand 19th century home. The
attractive site on the banks of the Swan River, just east of the historic town of Guildford, was originally taken
up by the colony’s first Governor, Captain James Stirling. By 1831, he had built a cottage there, a retreat from
Government House. The property was purchased in 1883 by Charles Harper, farmer, politician and part owner of The
West Australian newspaper.
Woodbridge has a varied history having been used as a gentleman’s residence, a preparatory
school, a home for aged women and as an annexe for Governor Stirling Senior High
From the kitchen to the extensive entertaining
areas, Woodbridge today reflects its role as home to Charles and Fanny Harper, their ten children and their
The Year 1 curriculum provides a study
of present and past family life within the context of the students’ own world. Students learn about similarities
and differences in family life by comparing the present with the past. They begin to explore the links and the
changes that occur over time.
This National Trust of Australia (WA) program is associated with the Year 1
Australian Curriculum: History. The central component of the program is an excursion to historic Woodbridge house.
The program provides suggestions of pre-visit and post-visit activities that integrate the teaching of historical
knowledge, understandings and skills. It should be adapted to suit your needs. Use as little or as much of the
program as you wish; incorporate your own activities and teaching methodologies; or choose to focus on one or
several key inquiry questions.
You may also cover the Cross-curriculum priorities of Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander histories and cultures and Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia if there are children
in your class which make this appropriate.
Printer-friendly version (pdf) of Program - Present and Past Family
Students use the following KEY INQUIRY QUESTIONS to discover:
has family life changed or remained the same over time?
Woodbridge was the home to Charles
and Fanny Harper and their ten children. Explore the house and discover similarities and differences
in family life by comparing the present with the past.
can we show that the present is different from or similar to the past?
furnished to reflect the late Victorian and early Edwardian periods. There are many artefacts and memorabilia known
to have belonged to the Harpers providing opportunities to make comparisons between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ way of
do we describe the sequence of time?
A tour through Woodbridge allows opportunities to develop vocabulary from
the past when making now / then comparisons, as well as using terms that indicate time such as ‘a long time ago’,
‘now and then’, ‘old and new’.
This program allows students to develop historical skills through key concepts appropriate to their age and
Sequence historical people
Distinguish between the
past, present and future
questions about the past using sources provided
range of sources about the past
and compare features of objects from the past and present
point of view
On a tour through
Woodbridge students identify what aspects of family life have changed and remained the
Through the story of the
Harper family students consider how and why families have changed over time in terms of size,
structure and roles.
Students learn about the
roles and responsibilities of those who lived and worked at Woodbridge providing an insight into
how people’s perspectives are determined by their circumstances.
Students see how the
Harper family lived and hear stories about what their life was like and make comparisons with their
own life to develop an appreciation of the family’s experiences.
Students develop an
understanding of what makes Woodbridge special and worth keeping for future