Top Banner


 YEAR 2: The Past in the Present - Woodbridge

Woodbridge House Year 2


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 School.

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 servants.  



The Year 2 curriculum provides a study of local history. Students explore, recognise and appreciate the history of their local area by examining remains of the past and considering why they should be preserved.


This National Trust of Australia (WA) program is associated with the Year 2 Australian Curriculum: History. The central component of the program is an excursion to historic Woodbridge. 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.


Printer-friendly version of Program - The Past in the Present: Woodbridge



Students will use the following KEY INQUIRY QUESTIONS to discover:

·         What aspects of the past can you see today? What do they tell us?

Tour the house and grounds. Look for evidence of the past and what it reveals about daily life.


·         What remains of the past are important to the local community? Why?

The architecture, ornaments, fixtures and family memorabilia provide evidence of the past and opportunities for discussion about the heritage value of Woodbridge House.


·         How have changes in technology shaped our daily life?

Tour the house and look for examples of Nineteenth Century technology to compare with present day.


This program allows students to develop historical skills through key concepts appropriate to their age and ability.

Historical Skills:

Sequence historical people and events

Distinguish between the past, present and future

Pose questions about the past using sources provided

Explore a range of sources about the past

Identify and compare features of objects from the past and present

Explore a point of view


Key Concepts:

Continuity and change

On a tour through Woodbridge students can identify how changes in lifestyle and technology have affected the way homes are built and the way people do things.


Cause and effect

Through the story of Woodbridge House students identify the changing roles of the house.



Students learn about the roles and responsibilities of children in the past providing an insight into how peoples 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 empathy with the families’ experience.



Students develop an understanding of what makes Woodbridge special and worth keeping for future generations.