Multicultural Community Collections Culture Victoria Education Kit – Greek Cinema

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Multicultural Community Collections

Culture Victoria

Education Kit – Greek Cinema

Australian Curriculum (ACARA) & Victorian Curriculum (AusVELS)

History Level 10

Culture Victoria 1

Education Kit – Greek Cinema 1 1

Australian Curriculum (ACARA) & Victorian Curriculum (AusVELS) 1

History Level 10 1

Curriculum links 3

History Level 10 – The Modern World and Australia 3

Teaching notes 4

Glossary 4

ACARA prescribed teaching standard 5

Resources 5

Introduction 6

Activity 1 – Australian Immigration Policy 8

Learning outcomes 8

Curriculum links 8

Instructions 8

Resources 8

Activity 2 – Maintaining Communities 10

Learning outcomes 10

Curriculum links 10

Instructions 10

Resources 10

Activity 3 – Migration Propaganda 12

Learning outcomes 12

Curriculum links 12

Instructions 12

Resources 12

Activity 4 – Cultural Diversity 14

Learning outcomes 14

Curriculum links 14

Instructions 14

Resources 14

Appendix A 15


Appendix B 16

This education kit was produced in partnership by Culture Victoria & the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria

Content developed by Catherine McLay

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit

Curriculum links

This education kit supports the Australian (ACARA) Curriculum and Victorian (AusVELS) Curriculum by providing student activities in the following content area:

History Level 10 – The Modern World and Australia

The four activities in this Education Kit align directly with the Level 10 History curriculum in the depth study area of ‘The Globalising World’, by using Culture Victoria’s film Greek Cinema as a reference point.

In ‘The Globalising World’ depth study area, students investigate one major global influence that has shaped Australian society in depth, including the development of the global influence during the twentieth century. In ‘The Globalising World’, students study one of these electives: Popular Culture, The Environment Movement or Migration Experiences. This kit will focus on the Migration Experiences elective.

Each activity addresses key inquiry questions, historical knowledge & understanding and historical skills criteria identified in the table below.

Content descriptions: History Level 10

Curriculum links

Activity 1

Activity 2

Activity 3

Activity 4

Depth study area

The Globalising World (Migration Experiences 1945-present)

Historical knowledge & understanding

The waves of post-World War II migration to Australia, including the influence of significant world events (ACDSEH144)

The impact of changing government policies on Australia’s migration patterns, including abolition of the White Australia Policy, ‘Populate or Perish’ (ACDSEH145)

The impact of at least ONE world event or development and its significance for Australia, such as the Vietnam War and Indochinese refugees (ACDSEH146)

The contribution of migration to Australia’s changing identity as a nation and to its international relationships (ACDSEH147)

Historical skills

Chronology, terms & concepts

Historical questions & research

Analysis & use of sources

Perspectives & interpretations

Explanation & communication

Teaching notes

This education kit contains classroom activities designed to complement Culture Victoria’s film Greek Cinema. It provides four classroom activities that align with one prescribed Australian Curriculum (ACARA) and AusVELS History Level 10 depth study area, by improving student knowledge and understandings of the development of modern Australia from 1918 to the present. The content also provides opportunities for students to develop understanding of key concepts including sources, continuity and change, cause and effect, perspectives, empathy and significance.
The case study for these activities is a film produced by Culture Victoria through interviews with members of Melbourne’s Greek community who migrated to Australia in the 1950s. The strong traditions and expressions of Greek culture that these migrants brought with them led to the establishment of a vibrant cinematic network solely for Greek films, which operated in cinemas all over Melbourne between 1957 and 1984. This film allows students to hear first-hand accounts of individuals who experienced displacement and were able to revive their cultural traditions in a new setting, contributing to the development of Australia’s socio-cultural identity.


Historical inquiry

Process of investigation undertaken in order to understand the past


Importance that is assigned to particular aspects of the past, e.g. events, developments, movements and historical sites


To come to a new country or place of which one is not native

Primary source

Accounts about the past that were created at the time being investigated

Secondary source

Accounts about the past that were created after the time being investigated


A resident who is born in or belongs to another country who has not acquired citizenship


A theory or system of social organisation based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being attributed to the community as a whole or to the State


A group of people associated together for religious, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes


A social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical background


Behaviours and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic or age group


Policy of maintaining a diversity of ethnic cultures within a community


Something that comes to an individual or group by reason of birth or tradition


The sense of self, providing sameness and continuity in personality over time


Persons who lack a home through political exile, destruction of their previous home, or lack of financial resources


Inclusion of individuals representing more than one national origin, color, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, etc.


Organised distribution of information to assist or damage the cause of a government, movement, etc.

Popular culture

Cultural activities or commercial products reflecting, suited to, or aimed at the tastes of the general masses of people

ACARA prescribed teaching standard

‘Above satisfactory’ work in the Level 10 historical discipline:

By the end of Year 10, students refer to key events, the actions of individuals and groups, and beliefs and values to explain patterns of change and continuity over time. They analyse the causes and effects of events and developments and explain their relative importance. They explain the context for people’s actions in
the past. Students explain the significance of events and developments from a range of perspectives. They explain different interpretations of the past and recognise the evidence used to support these interpretations.

Students sequence events and developments within a chronological framework, and identify relationships between events across different places and periods of time. When researching, students develop, evaluate and modify questions to frame an historical inquiry. They process, analyse and synthesise information from a range of primary and secondary sources and use it as evidence to answer inquiry questions. Students analyse sources to identify motivations, values and attitudes. When evaluating these sources, they analyse and draw conclusions about their usefulness, taking into account their origin, purpose, and context. They develop and justify their own interpretations about the past. Students develop texts, particularly explanations and discussions, incorporating historical argument. In developing these texts and organising and presenting their arguments, they use historical terms and concepts, evidence identified in sources, and they reference these sources.


An extensive list of online resources can be found on the Museum Victoria website that covers all aspects of the activities in this education kit. Specific resources useful for each activity are also provided in the relevant section.


For teachers’ use

The formal surrender of Japan on 2 September 1945 marked the end of WWII and the beginning of recovery for all nations involved. All participants had directed their entire scientific, industrial and economic capabilities towards the war effort, blurring the line between civilian and military resources. For Greece, Japan’s surrender did not bring the beginning of peace. Greece had entered WWII with the Allied powers and was invaded by Italian and German forces that remained until 1944. When troops were withdrawn, the country broke into civil war between pro and anti-communist groups from 1946 till 1949, ending with the communists’ defeat. The Greek government encouraged post-war migration to address their severe economic issues, resulting in high immigration numbers to countries like Australia.

Greek migrants had been populating Australia in small numbers since the gold discoveries of the 1800s; at the turn of the century this began to increase through chain migration. Chain migrants relied on family members or friends already established in Australia to sponsor their move by providing encouragement and at times, financial assistance. However, quota systems continued to limit non-British migrants to Australia and it was not until the end of the Greek civil war that over 12,000 nationals emigrated to Australia in the years immediately following.

From the 1890s up until the 1950s a ‘White Australia Policy’ had been the official position of all mainstream Australian political parties, which involved the exclusion of non-European (more specifically, non-British) people from migrating to Australia. At the end of WWII this began to change, as the Chifley Government believed they must increase population levels for defence and development, and initiated an immigration scheme under the slogan “Populate or Perish”. From 1945 Australia looked outside of Britain for migrants for the first time, coming to formal migration agreements with several European nations, including Greece. Policy of the Chifley Government targeted healthy, young individuals to provide unskilled labour for the country’s burgeoning manufacturing industries and here Greek migrants thrived.

In Victoria’s capital city, a vibrant Greek community formed that was one of the largest in the world outside of Greece itself. By 1971 there were over 160,000 Greek-born migrants living in Australia, 47% of whom resided in Melbourne. Whilst being fully committed to Australian society, Greek migrants have also sought to preserve their own cultural heritage by establishing local clubs, newspapers, schools, churches, welfare agencies and cultural associations to revive their traditional networks in a new setting. Contributions to the cultural identity of Australia – and especially Melbourne – made by the Greek community are significant and continue to evolve, particularly in the areas of hospitality, small business, manufacturing, politics and popular culture.

Australian society is likewise continually evolving. By the 1970s, a move away from the ‘White Australia Policy’ was even more pronounced, as Australia progressed towards ‘multiculturalism’ under the Whitlam and Fraser Governments, accepting increasingly higher rates of migrants from Asian and other non-European countries. The affect of Australia’s migration policies past and present have undoubtedly shaped where the nation is today, impacting on Australia’s societal development by making it a melting pot of world culture. Migrants experiencing displacement and reviving their cultural traditions in Australia is a process of continuity and change important to maintaining links with their home countries, as well as a distinct cultural identity for themselves and collectively, the nation.

Activity 1 – Australian Immigration Policy

Learning outcomes

WWII devastatingly affected the world economy and as a result many governments, including that of Greece, encouraged migration. Australian immigration policy targeted specific countries for potential migrants that suited the nation’s ‘needs’ at key points in time, which were also linked closely with world events. For many years, the government’s immigration quotas had limited Greek migration to Australia; however, Greece was targeted to provide unskilled labour for Australia’s manufacturing industries post-WWII. The Culture Victoria film demonstrates this by relating the individual experiences of post-war Greek migrants. This activity is designed to provide students with an understanding of the impact of changing Australian immigration policies on Greek migration throughout the twentieth century.

Curriculum links

This activity is recommended for ACARA and AusVELS History Level 10

Historical knowledge & understanding:

  • The impact of changing government policies on Australia’s migration patterns, including abolition of the White Australia Policy, “Populate or Perish”

  • The waves of post-World War II migration to Australia, including the influence of significant world events

  • The impact of at least ONE world event or development and its significance for Australia, such as the Vietnam War and Indochinese refugees


Step 1

Students will investigate the Greek migration history of Australia over time, with a focus on the period since 1945. Research will be framed by the following historical inquiry question:

How Greek migration patterns were influenced by specific economic events and Australian immigration policy and legislation during the twentieth century.’

A range of primary and secondary stories must be consulted. Key points should include:

  • Legislation: the Immigration Restriction Act 1901 and the Aliens Act 1947

  • Specific government policies: the ‘White Australia Policy’, quota limitations and prohibitions on certain migrant groups, as well as the “Populate or Perish” scheme

  • World economic events: anti-Greek sentiment after WWI, Greek military defeat by Turkey in 1922, WWII and the Greek civil war that followed

  • Australian economic events: WWII and the 1950s recession

Step 2

Drawing on their research, students will prepare a 700-word essay addressing the historical inquiry question and provide a list of primary and secondary resources used.


Activity 2 – Maintaining Communities

Learning outcomes

Despite the monumentality of worldwide immigration, it is important to recognise that it is the experiences of individual people that define these overarching narratives. Culture Victoria’s film is an outstanding example of this by focusing on the story of one person/group of people who impacted many in Melbourne’s Greek community. In this activity students will respond imaginatively to the experiences of Greek-born migrants, in order to understand that individual migration experiences vary greatly and have significant impact on many people.

Curriculum links

This activity is recommended for ACARA and AusVELS History Level 10 &

English (Literature & Literacy) Level 10

Historical knowledge & understanding:

  • The contribution of migration to Australia’s changing identity as a nation and to its international relationships


Step 1

Students will take inspiration from the following extract, researching key dates and locations as a basis to complete a fictional story of one Greek migrant experience from their own imagined perspective:

I was nine years old when in February 1954 I arrived in Australia from Greece with my mother and sister at Station Pier. I had not known my father because he had migrated when I was two years old and I do not remember much about him. His plan was to work hard for a few years abroad and then return ‘home’ with enough money to better our lives. My parents decided that Australia had a lot more opportunities than in Greece, so we left.

Step 2

All students will use the extract as a general introduction and complete the activity by following one of these potential storylines (or similar):

  1. “In Greece, my family had struggled after the end of the civil war…”

  2. “On the ship to Australia, I kept a journal…”

  3. “My father was at the Pier to greet us…”

Step 3

Students will undertake the research component in class then complete the writing component as a take home assignment.


Activity 3 – Migration Propaganda

Learning outcomes

At the end of WWII, Australia’s Department of Immigration created posters designed to encourage potential migrants and placed them in refugee centres across Europe. Culture Victoria’s film touches on this by exploring the role of migration schemes developed by the Australian government to target new migrants. In this activity students will analyse and compare two examples of visual immigration propaganda created by the Australian government.

Curriculum links

This activity is recommended for ACARA and AusVELS History Level 10

Historical knowledge & understanding:

  • The impact of changing government policies on Australia’s migration patterns, including abolition of the White Australia Policy, “Populate or Perish”

  • The waves of post-World War II migration to Australia, including the influence of significant world events


Step 1

As a class, students will discuss the economic impact of WWII on Australia and other nations.

Step 2

Students will be given a copy of two primary sources of visual propaganda (Appendices A & B) created by the Australian government’s Department of Immigration, one c. 1948 and the other c. 2013.

Students will analyse both sources in terms of:

  • Content (composition, use of colour, slogans and techniques)

  • Context (research into the needs of this source at the time it was created)

  • Appeal (with reference to target audience, emotions, values and effectiveness)

Step 3

Students will compare both sources based on the findings of their analyses and reflect on the changes in attitudes towards migrants represented in each example. Students will present their work as a written report.


Activity 4 – Cultural Diversity

Learning outcomes

Popular culture is a form of expression that continues to change over time and can reveal a great deal about a particular community. Culture Victoria’s film is an example of this as it explores the role of Greek film in Melbourne, in terms of how it united the Greek migrant community in a social setting. In this activity students will explore the significant contributions made by migrants to Australia’s changing culture as a nation.

Curriculum links

This activity is recommended for ACARA and AusVELS History Level 10

Historical knowledge & understanding:

  • The contribution of migration to Australia’s changing identity as a nation and to its international relationships


Step 1

As a class, students will discuss what popular culture is and what role it plays in society. In particular, focusing on how, in the Culture Victoria film, Peter Yiannoudes brought about change and celebrated cultural diversity in Melbourne during the post-war period.

Step 2

Individually, students will address the following question in the form of a report, drawing on class discussions and their own knowledge and research:

How else have migrants influenced Australian culture through means such as food, performing arts, politics, sport, fashion, science or technology?
Step 3

Students will present their findings as a written assignment with photographs and will draw on a range of primary and secondary sources.


Appendix A

Poster with the slogan 'Australia Land of Tomorrow' designed by Joe Greenberg, and produced by the Department of Immigration c. 1948. Image courtesy of Museum Victoria.

Appendix B

Ad with the slogan ‘If you come here by boat you won’t be settled in Australia’ produced by the Government of Australia 2013. Image courtesy of The Canberra Times.

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