Asia Education Foundation

Migrant stories

cover image: History Unit: Migrant stories

Migration plays a part in the family histories of most Australians. This unit listens to the stories of people who have migrated to Australia – particularly from the Asian region – and highlights their valuable contribution to Australian society. By coming to grips with these people’s experiences, students will deepen their understanding of the shape of change and continuity over time. Students will test their ability to gather and interpret evidence, especially through oral interviews.




Stage of Schooling

Year 5

Learning Focus

Historical knowledge and understanding: The Australian colony

Historical skills: Historical questions and research


Please see the attached alignment document.


Accessing the Learning Federation materials

The Learning Federation provides teachers with online learning objects. Teachers will need to contact their State/Territory representative to register and gain access to these objects. The process for accessing learning objects is further explained on The Learning Federation's website,

Focus questions

What are some of the reasons people from the countries of Asia migrate to Australia? How have they contributed to their local community?


Most peoples in Australia have family histories that include migration within the last 200 years. This unit focuses on the stories of people migrating to Australia, in particular from the countries of the Asia region, and it highlights their valuable contribution to Australian society. By studying people's narratives, students will deepen their understanding of the shape of change and continuity over time. They will further develop skills focusing on gathering and interpreting evidence, especially through oral interviews.

Notes to teacher

It would be valuable to explore the cultural background of students in your class as part of this unit. However, this process requires sensitivity as there may be a number of sub-cultures within students' families, issues with regards to photographs of deceased members of Aboriginal students' families and reasons why students may not wish to talk about their family background.

If your class group does not include students with an Asian background, it may be necessary to make connections within the school and beyond, to the wider community. If possible, you may wish to teach this unit of work during a student exchange visit to your school. This would provide opportunities for oral questioning activities.


This activity should be completed over a term of two one-hour blocks per week, especially as time is required to research using a range of online resources and you may wish to involve members of the ethnic community.