Aboriginal Change Makers

Aboriginal Change Makers is a teaching resource for Victorian schools that presents amazing stories of political and social activity, self-determination, and empowerment.

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'Aboriginal Change Makers gives ‘voice’ to the stories, remembrances and experiences of people who worked tirelessly to bring about change in the lives of Aboriginal people.

'The information and learning opportunities made accessible here comprise the precious narratives of a people who have existed on this land for thousands of years, along with questions and activities to assist the learner with challenging and adjusting their own perspective.

'My hope is that those who engage with this material will gain an understanding of their own perspective, a deeper appreciation of the incredible riches of Aboriginal cultures and recognition of the impact of colonialism on my people.'

- Dr Lois Peeler, Executive Director and Principal of Worawa Aboriginal College.

This special presentation by Dr Lois Peeler AM was produced to celebrate the release of Aboriginal Change Makers. Dr Peeler is joined by then Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Colin Brooks to recognise the unique collaboration between Worawa Aboriginal College and the Parliament of Victoria that has brought about this much-needed resource. Teachers may find that this video provides a useful context for the Change Maker stories, which could be used as a starting point when introducing them to students.

Aboriginal Change Makers will see students embark upon a body of work that explores the stories and actions of strong, determined and committed Aboriginal Australians. Topics and concepts are presented with teaching notes and suggested activities to provide a flexible and practical learning guide. Throughout the resource, students are encouraged to explore personal and alternative perspectives and examine factors that influence understanding and bias.

This resource shares aspects of Aboriginal history that are little known in the broader community, including the harsh reality of life on an Aboriginal Mission or Reserve. It highlights the struggle of Aboriginal people to gain equal rights with other Australians - to create a future for new generations.

The rich collection of stories included in this resource honour just some of the Aboriginal Change Makers who, through their commitment and determination, made a difference in Aboriginal society in Victoria that rippled across the country.

Their stories are told here by Aboriginal Elder and Educator Dr. Lois Peeler AM, widely known as Aunty Lois. A recognised Elder in the Aboriginal community, Aunty Lois has community or ancestral connections to many of the esteemed leaders and Change Makers who are honoured in this body of work.

The development of Aboriginal Change Makers has been based on the historical record, cultural protocols, community connections and family corpus. Whilst the authors have worked with particular texts and gathered stories and information from a number of primary and secondary sources, this resource is, in essence, the coming together of the various stories of the amazing and courageous Aboriginal leaders who have made important political and social change.

These stories and events are told to educate young Victorians about the role of Aboriginal Change Makers in the fight for equality and a more just society for all of us.

During a special visit to Worawa Aboriginal College, located on land that once formed part of Coranderrk Aboriginal Station, students and teachers from Northcote High talk about their experiences and learnings as part of a unit of study that draws from the Aboriginal Change Makers resource.


  • Included in the Aboriginal Change Makers e-book is a detailed description of how the resource relates to the Victorian Curriculum Years 7 to 10, Civics and Citizenship, including relevant content descriptors. As the resource has been designed to be used flexibly to suit a range of classroom needs, the degree to which the relevant curriculum is addressed will depend on how the resource is used.

    Elements of the resource are also relevant to Victorian Curriculum, Grades 5 and 6 Civics and Citizenship. Connections between the resource and Victorian Curriculum, Grades 5 to Year 10 History have also been provided. These additional curriculum links have been outlined in the following supplement.

    The relevant Australian Curriculum links for Civics and Citizenship and History have also been outlined in the following document.

    The Aboriginal Change Makers resource can also be used as background information for relevant VCE subjects, including the Vocational Major, and can be used to address other areas of the Victorian and Australian Curriculums such as English.