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Macassan & Yolngu History Unit

The Macassan & Yolngu History Unit is a complete Unit that teachers can pick up and start to deliver immediately. No prior knowledge of the content is necessary, everything you need to know is included in the Unit and supporting resources. The 130 page Unit is presented beautifully with heaps of full colour photos mostly from Gadj and Jodies private collection. The information is authentic and culturally appropriate, and has been developed from a Yolngu (Aboriginal) perspective.

The Macassan & Yolngu History Unit guides the students and teachers on a journey to North East Arnhem Land and shares the cultural practices and history of the Yolngu Nation. Students will have fun learning how these practices have been influenced by Australia's trade with Asia and the long contact with the Macassan trepang (sea cucumber) fishermen.

The Macassan & Yolngu History Unit is suitable for P-12 Curriculum. With direct ACARA links to History, Geography, Technology (design, create and reflect) and Literacy, the Macassan and Yolngu History Unit also has incidental links to Science and Math. Check out the History and Geography Curriculum links here -

Macassan Curriculum Links Macassan Curriculum Links (56 KB)

Students have an opportunity to learn about the following topics, and all are complimented by hands on activities to reinforce the learning: 

  • Yolngu people from the past to present
  • Yolngu kinship system
  • History of the Homelands
  • Yolngu Seasons
  • Visitors to NE Arnhem Land including first contact with Macassans and Europeans
  • How this contact has changed and influenced Yolngu practices - both positive and negative
  • The Trepang industry from the early Macassan trade to the current industry
  • Political events such as the Bark Petition
  • Students have an opportunity to learn about things like bark canoes and huts and have a go at making them
  • Explore tourism in the region
  • And so much more

The Macassan and Yolngu History Unit is also supported by a website with links to multimedia resources including:

  • Music from Yolngu artists including Gurrumul, Yothu Yindi, East Journey and also traditional manikay (song cycles)
  • Videos including old footage from early contact with Missionaries, the re-enactment of the Macassans voyage in the 1980's, home videos from hunting and gathering, traditional bungul (dance), the Tobacco Story and much more!
  • An interactive Seasonal Calendar
  • A sample of recording of words that were introduced by Macassans and have been incorporated in to Yolngu Matha (Aboriginal Language)

Macassan Unit Testimonial Macassan Unit Testimonial (56 KB)

Macassan & Yolngu History Unit Order Form Macassan & Yolngu History Unit Order Form (450 KB)

Macassan Yolngu History - Individual Teacher
Macassan Yolngu History - Individual Teacher 


Macassan Yolngu History - Whole School
Macassan Yolngu History - Whole School 


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