skip to main content
NSW Syllabuses


Go to a B c d e F G h i J K L m N O p Q r s t U V W X Y Z
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Aboriginal Peoples are the first peoples of Australia and are represented by over 250 language groups each associated with a particular Country or territory. Torres Strait Islander Peoples whose island territories to the north east of Australia were annexed by Queensland in 1879 are also Indigenous Australians and are represented by five cultural groups.

An Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person is someone who:

  • is of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent
  • identifies as an Aboriginal person and/or Torres Strait Islander person, and
  • is accepted as such by the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community in which they live.
Aboriginal Cultural Protocols
Aboriginal Cultural Protocols describe appropriate ways of behaving, communicating and showing respect for diversity of histories and cultures. This involves appreciation of the knowledge, standing and status of people within the local Aboriginal community. Protocols inevitably vary between communities, and between people within a community. In establishing partnerships between Aboriginal communities and industries or professions, it is especially important that protocols are acknowledged and respected.

As defined in the NSW Ancient History Stage 6 Syllabus, the Ancient period covers history from the development of early human communities to the end of late antiquity (around AD 650).

The word ANZAC refers to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) troops who first fought at Gallipoli in Turkey from April to December 1915.
A process that includes a range of possible reasons for an historical event, situation or development.
A chronology places events and dates in order in time.

In Modern History - a process by which a different system of government is established by one nation over another group of peoples. It involves the colonial power asserting and enforcing its sovereignty according to its own law, rather than by the laws of the colonised, and may involve dispossession of land.

In Ancient History – a process by which ancient societies establish settlements in other lands and establish trading connections.

The key ideas that shape the practice of the discipline of history, eg causation, continuity, change, and significance. They provide the scope for judgement, interpretation and argument and are the major means by which knowledge is constructed, analysed, questioned and represented.
Contestability involves examining how interpretations and representations of the past differ, for example, as a result of using differing evidence or resulting from different perspectives.
continuity and change

Aspects of the past that have remained the same over a period of time or have changed over time. Change can be understood as a 'process'.

The removal of people from their lands which had been occupied and cared for by their ancestors over thousands of years.
The information elicited and interpreted from a source that is used to support an historical argument or inform a specific historical inquiry.
Tangible or intangible aspects of the past that are valued by an individual, group, community or nation as a result of birth, inheritance or membership. It can also be applied to significant examples of the human or natural environment.
historical authentication
A process of verifying the origins of an artefact or object and establishing it as genuine.
historical inquiry
The process of developing knowledge and understanding by posing questions about the past, and applying skills associated with locating, analysing, evaluating and using sources as evidence to develop an informed argument or interpretation.
The study of how history is constructed. It involves the critical analysis and evaluation of historical methodologies and the way history has been written over time.
A framework of beliefs that guides actions, for example fascism and communism.
Indigenous cultural and intellectual property

Includes objects, sites, cultural knowledge, cultural expression and the arts, that have been transmitted or continue to be transmitted through generations as belonging to a particular Indigenous group or Indigenous people as a whole or their territory.

Indigenous peoples
This term is used when referring collectively to the first peoples of a land in international communities.
A way of understanding and explaining what has happened in the past. The discipline of History acknowledges that there is often more than one view of what has happened in the past.

As defined in the NSW Modern History Stage 6 Syllabus, the period of time in the modern world generally between 1750 and the present.


A point of view from which historical events, problems and issues can be analysed, for example the perspective of an individual or group in the past. This may involve empathetic understanding – the capacity to enter into the world of the past from the point of view of a particular individual or group from that time, including an appreciation of the circumstances they faced, and the motivations, values and attitudes behind their actions.


A process of piecing together evidence from sources to develop an understanding or picture of the past. It may include the physical reconstruction of ancient sites. 

Consideration of the context, purpose, origin and audience of a source, in order to determine how accurately an area of historical study is represented. A source is neither reliable or unreliable in and of itself. It can only be judged reliable or useful for the question that is asked. Reliability requires an understanding of perspective.
A portrayal of the past that may reflect a popular view within society, past or present, or that may be constructed by historians.
The importance attributed to a particular aspect of the past such as an individual or event. Significance involves an understanding of the various considerations which cause different groups at different times to judge aspects of the past more or less historically significant.
Any written or non-written materials that can be used to investigate the past. A source is used to elicit ‘evidence’ in order to answer a specific historical question, inform an historical inquiry, or to support or refute an interpretation.

A word or phrase used to describe abstract aspects or features of the past, eg imperialism, democracy or republic; and more specific features such as trench warfare, or a dictator, gladiator or vizier.

terra nullius
A concept in international law meaning ‘a territory belonging to no-one’ or ‘over which no-one claims ownership’.