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NSW Syllabuses

History K–10 - Stage 5 The Making of the Modern World (50 hours minimum teaching time)


The overview is approximately 10% of the teaching time for The Making of the Modern World. The overview may be taught separately or may be integrated with the depth studies.

Historical context of the overview

The Industrial Revolution, developing first in eighteenth-century Britain, gave rise to economic changes that have had an enormous impact on society. An obvious result was urbanisation, but the Industrial Revolution also contributed to other population movements such as the slave trade, emigration and convict transportation. The Industrial Revolution also encouraged European nationalism and imperialism. While the Industrial Revolution created wealth for some and support for capitalism, it also created a new class of urban workers who were forced to endure poor living and working conditions. The resulting social discontent created support for new political ideas such as socialism. At the end of this period, a buildup of tensions among Europe's great powers contributed to the outbreak of World War I, the first global war. 

  • Students briefly outline:
  • the nature and significance of the Industrial Revolution and how it affected living and working conditions, including within Australia
  • the nature and extent of the movement of peoples in the period (slaves, convicts and settlers)
  • the extent of European imperial expansion and different responses, including in the Asian region
  • the emergence and nature of significant economic, social and political ideas in the period, including nationalism
  • the inter-war years between World War I and World War II, including the Treaty of Versailles, the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression.
  • Depth Studies

  • In Stage 5, four (4) of the six (6) depth studies are to be studied. Depth Study 3 and Depth Study 4 are Core Studies, to be studied by all students. The remaining four (4) depth studies offer internal electives. ONE elective will be studied in detail from each of the chosen depth studies. Depth study content can be integrated with the overview content and/or with other depth study electives.
  • Key inquiry questions:
  • What were the changing features of the movement of peoples from 1750 to 1918?
  • How did new ideas and technological developments contribute to change in this period?
  • What was the origin, development, significance and long-term impact of imperialism in this period?
  • What was the significance of World Wars I and II?

Depth Study 1

Making a Better World?

ONE of the following to be studied:

  • The Industrial Revolution
  • Movement of peoples
  • Progressive ideas and movements

Depth Study 2

Australia and Asia

ONE of the following to be studied:

  • Making a nation
  • Asia and the world

Core Study – Depth Study 3

Australians at War

(World Wars I and II)


 Mandatory study