Innovative research project

A group of years 9 and 10 students from Benalla P-12 College are taking part in a national project to create an archive of several historically significant parts of the township’s history.

The project is part of a collaboration between a media company that specialises in creating multi-media learning resources and the National Museum of Australia.

Benalla P-12 College teacher Lauren Sims said students had volunteered to take part and were tasked with choosing which parts of Benalla’s history to research and document.

‘‘What they are aiming to do is to create a digital classroom that all students in Australia can access to learn about local histories and how they connect into Australia’s overall story,’’ Ms Sims said.

‘‘The company that we’re working with made the Weary Dunlop Application and when they came to Benalla to show us that app they were really impressed with some of our students.

‘‘So they asked if our students would like to be involved in the pilot program.

‘‘Thanks to their participation students across Australia will not only be able to see these important parts of Benalla’s history, but also learn how our students investigated that local history.’’

The first step for the students is to research the local histories they have chosen, those being the Benalla Migrant Camp, the Benalla Aviation Museum, the history of Benalla’s CFA, the Faithful massacre and the Southern Aurora train crash at Violet Town.

‘‘The group will spend a bit of time doing some research and then they will have one day where they get to present that research and that will be filmed,’’ Ms Sims said.

‘‘They will look at the historical events they have chosen to try and understand how these are important to Australia’s history, as well as why they are important to Benalla.

‘‘From this they will hopefully get a better understanding of what their place in their town is.

‘‘The filming will take place in the next couple of weeks, and we will hopefully get to see the end result early next year.’’

Benalla Migrant Camp Inc chair Sabine Smyth said the committee was excited the students had chosen the Migrant Camp Exhibition to be part of their project.

‘‘I received an email from Lauren Sims telling me about the project and that the students were interested in our exhibition,’’ Ms Smyth said.

‘‘We are really happy to be involved. And some of the kids doing the project have connections to migrants or have migrant backgrounds, so they were particularly interested in finding out about the people who lived at the camp.

‘‘We were thrilled as it can sometimes seem that it’s mainly people that are a bit older who have an interest in the camp.

‘‘I think displacement is still an ongoing story in Australia. So it’s great that the younger kids are showing the interest in what has made Australia what it is today.’’