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Archived news items — 2011

GTAV Education Officer farewelled

Terry McMeekinTerry McMeekin GTAV's Education Officer was given a rousing farewell by committee members and staff at their Christmas function on Monday 12 December. Terry was thanked by GTAV President Trish Douglas for her good humour, dedicated service and contribution to the association. All members wish Terry a happy retirement.

GTAV's new Education Officer in 2012 will be Steve Latham.


Pat Beeson recognised for her outstanding contribution

The GTAV is thrilled to announce that Pat Beeson has received an award from the Council of the Professional Teachers’ Association of Victoria (CPTAV) for her 'Outstanding Contribution to a Subject Association'. Pat is an esteemed Geography teacher whose teaching in fieldwork and spatial technology is exemplary. In 2011, on behalf of the GTAV, Pat undertook the mammoth task of coordinating “Geography's Big Week Out” — a week long experience and assessment of the best Geography students from across Australia — four of whom would ultimately be chosen to represent Australia at an international competition in Germany in 2012. Hundreds of hours of work was involved to create a fantastic program which will also provide the GTAV with a multitude of fieldwork activities for the future. The GTAV joins with the CPTAV in applauding the outstanding work of Pat Beeson.

Pat Beeson (right) and GTAV President Trish Douglas at the award ceremony

Pat Beeson (right) and GTAV President Trish Douglas at the award ceremony

Australian Curriculum: Geography

The draft geography F-12 Australian Curriculum: Geography went live on-line for consultation in October 2011 and is available for feedback until 28 February 2012. If you want to have a look at the draft scope and sequence for geography just go to and log-in.

GTAV/VCAA consultation sessions
The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) and the Geography Teachers Association of Victoria (GTAV) invite teachers of Geography in primary and secondary schools to attend a consultation session to provide feedback on the draft national Geography curriculum. The feedback from these consultations will contribute to the Victorian response to the draft curriculum.

Tuesday 16 February 2012


Ballarat Grammar
201 Forest St

Tuesday 21 February 2012


Chairo Christian School
Drouin Campus
Balfour Road

Thursday 23 February 2012


Serpell Primary School
Tuckers Road

Tuesday 28 February 2012


Thomas Carr College
35 Thomas Carr Drive

To register for any of these sessions, please visit:

GTAV surveys

Please take some time to complete the survey and have your say about this curriculum. The responses will be a guide to the GTAV in preparing a response to ACARA. A senior curriculum survey is also being developed.

>> Foundation to Year 6 Survey
>> Years 7-10 Survey

Geography apps

The GTAV would like to know about the apps you and your students are using in your geography classes. We would like you to identify the apps that are most relevant to, and enhance, geography learning and outcomes. Are the apps used for particular geographic topics or general use? We would be grateful if you could provide us with a list of app names and also tell us the topic you use the app to teach and the year level you think it is most relevant to be used. Send your response to Judy Mraz at or complete as an electronic survey.

National Close the Gap Day, March 22nd 2012

Join with schools and the broader community around Australia in showing your support to Close the Gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Once registered, you will receive the learning resources and materials you need to run a successful event in your school including:

  • a Schools Action Kit packed with ideas, activities, a step-by-step event guide and tools for students to take the lead and run the activities;
  • classroom and assembly resources including video stories, photos, factsheets and a copy of the National Close the Gap Day DVD.

Melbourne Cup Resources for schools  

The Melbourne Cup education website provides information and activities for teachers and students to investigate the Melbourne Cup and its significance to Australian life, culture, history and heritage.

VALE: Basil Johnson

It is with much sadness that the GTAV records the death of Basil Johnson, one of the early members of the Association. Basil Johnson held the position of Vice President of the Association for nine years, from 1963-1971. Basil Johnson, with his wife and family arrived in Melbourne in early 1963 to take up a position in the Geography department at the newly established Monash University. A senior lecturer in Geography at Birmingham, Basil was also well acquainted with school Geography in the United Kingdom. He brought this interest with him when he came to Australia.

For most newly appointed professors, the work involved with staffing and programming a brand new department would have been ample, but Basil Johnson from the outset let it be known that he was a friend to teachers. He gave an enormous amount of time not just as GTAV Vice President, but as a speaker, writer, lecturer and examiner. He was instrumental in the development of Geography curriculum in his capacity as a senior member of the Geography Standing Committee of the Victoria Universities and Schools Examinations Board (VUSEB).

His contribution to the subject and its teaching at both secondary and tertiary levels was extraordinary — his hands-on approach enabled often enthusiastic, but poorly trained teachers to feel that they could not only cope, but enjoy the new era of secondary school expansion. His legacy is enduring — as one of the key functions of the GTAV continues to be the provision of knowledge, expertise and a passion for the teaching of Geography.

Based on an article written by John Collins from ‘GTAV: the first 50 years’

Online resources for teaching about population

The Australian Bureau of Statistics Education Unit has launched QuickGeog activities which may be accessed online or downloaded and edited to meet your needs. Each one is designed to be completed in less than a period. They contain a graphic or table of data taken from ABS publications and a series of questions or activities. The first release of activities focus on population.

If you haven't seen it already, take a look at 'Spotlight' from the ABS, where students may investigate how they fit within the Australian population. This is a very engaging way to begin a study of population.

Are you looking for historical data on the growth of population in Australia or migration patterns over time? Historical datasets have been simplified and uploaded to the Education Services pages on the website. They contain some interactive visualisations to engage students and encourage them to look at the stories contained within the data.

The ABS website also has a new set of State and Territory Indicators ( 1367.0) which provide an overview of population, economy and environment for each of Australia's states and territories.

GTAV's 45th annual conference

What's going on? Understanding our world through Geography

GTAV Annual conferenceDates: Sunday 21 – Tuesday 23 August 2011
Venue: RMIT Storey Hall, Swanston Street, Melbourne

The 45th Annual Conference, What's going on? Understanding our world through Geography, has attracted a wide range of sessions from a variety of presenters. You will notice the strong themes of Australian Curriculum: Geography, sustainability, global education and Digital Learning which reflect the focus of much of our teaching. There are sessions focusing on pedagogy, classroom activities and building a knowledge base for our teaching.

This year's conference will also offer a range of sessions which relate to teaching Geography in Primary schools on Sunday. Three of the seven fieldwork sessions on Tuesday are equally relevant to primary and secondary Geography teachers.

It is recommended that registrations be made online providing participants with the ability to manage their registration and make modifications to workshop and field work sessions at a later date, if desired.

>> Earlybird online registrations open on Monday 27 June 2011 and close 5.00pm Friday July 22nd 2011
>> Final day for registration: Monday 15th August 2011
>> Download a registration booklet

Geographia — AGTA newsletter

Read all of the latest news from AGTA in the latest issue of Geographia.

Education and Training for Sustainability

Swinburne University of Technology is offering a new course in Education for Sustainability (H22060VIC). Geography students may be interested in this Education and Training for Sustainability (Voc Grad Cert) course that has recently been accredited. It is the first of its kind in Australia.

>> Further details and a FAQ sheet.

Savewater Awards

Educational institutions committed to sustainability are encouraged to share their stories on efficient water use by entering the prestigious savewater!® Alliance awards program. The savewater!® awards aim to recognise and reward excellence in water conservation and efficient water use.  Schools that encourage their students to adopt good water management practices and to spread the water conservation message to achieve a more sustainable future are to be rewarded.

While the winning school will receive a cash prize of $1,000, finalists will have their water efficiency efforts publicly recognised and will be able to network with like minded finalists. There is also a photographic award designed to recognise creative talent with water conservation imagery as the key focus.  There are three awards in this category:  Junior Student (up to 12 years old), Senior Student (13 to 17 years old) and Open.

Entries for the 2011 savewater!® awards close at 5.00pm on Monday 8 August 2011.  Finalists will be invited to a gala ceremony in Melbourne in November, at which the winners will be announced.

For further information and entry details visit

Climate Change and Public Health

This seminar will address the potential impact of climate change on public health. Firstly, climate change science will be discussed in a ‘nutshell’, and evidence of a role for climate change in recent extreme weather events in Australia explored. The question ‘Why is climate change a public health issue?’ will be addressed, and speakers will discuss potential direct and indirect health impacts of climate change, including extreme weather events, vector-borne infectious disease, food and water quality, air quality and mental health. Adaptation and mitigation initiatives will be discussed, including the co-benefits of these for health.

Venue: State Library of Victoria, Village Roadshow Theatrette, Entry 3 (Conference Centre entrance), 179 La Trobe Street, Melbourne Vic 3000

Seminar date: Tuesday 30th August, 2011
Seminar time: 9:00am - 4:30pm (Registration opens at 8:30am)
Cost: $250 per person (incl. of GST)

>> Further venue details and registration form

Urban futures photography competition

RMIT are running their urban futures photography competition again this year. Task is to provide a photo or image which communicates an urban problem and for students to then write 200- 300 words with their ideas for solving it.

The competition is open to students in Years 10-12. It is most suitable for students of Unit 2, but if your Unit 3 fieldwork produced suitable images Year 12 students may wish to enter. It would also make an interesting extension task or fieldwork assessment task for a Year 10 Settlements/Cities unit.

Entry details
The competition is open to Year 10, 11 and 12 Victorian secondary school students only. Entries close midnight Sunday 21 August, 2011.

Prize details
1st prize: Urban Futures Award and $300
2nd prize: Urban Futures Award and $150
3rd prize: Urban Futures Award and $100

>> Further details including full terms and conditions.

Jock Herbert

Jock HerbertIt is with much sadness that the GTAV records the death of Jock Herbert one of the founding members of the Association.

Jock Herbert held the positions of GTAV Secretary 1959-61 and Vice President in 1962 and made an outstanding and lasting contribution to the teaching of geography in Victoria. Our sympathies go to his wife Gwen and family.

The GTAV was represented at his funeral which took place at St Thomas Anglican Church, Upper Ferntree Gully on Wednesday 11 May 2011. A tribute to Jock Herbert will be published in the next issue of Interaction.

Annual General Meeting

Date: Friday 20th May 2011
Location: Loreto Mandeville Hall, 10 Mandeville Crescent, Toorak 3142
Time: Refreshments at 6.00pm, followed by the Guest Speaker at 7.00pm and the meeting commencing at 7.30pm.
Car Parking: There is some onsite parking and some in Mandeville Crescent
Guest speaker: Rob Gell — GTAV Patron

Refreshments will be served in the Reception Room of the Mandeville Mansion Hall (room 35), followed by our Guest Speaker and the Annual General Meeting in the Learning Resource Centre (room 8). The Annual General Meeting gives members a chance to hear about the things GTAV has been doing during the previous year and any plans for next year. Come along and enjoy a sociable chat over a drink with fellow Geographers and to hear our guest speaker.

City of Melbourne online mapping system

The City of Melbourne is seeking the involvement of a diverse group of people from the Melbourne community to test the usability and content of a new online mapping system.

Focus groups made up of stakeholders and a number of randomly selected individuals from the Melbourne community will take place on

  • Thursday             2 June    6pm - 9pm
  • Friday                 3 June  10am - 1pm
  • Saturday             4 June   10am - 1pm 

What is in it for you? You will be among the first members of the Melbourne community to experience the online mapping system.

Interested in attending a focus group? Please complete and return the expression of interest form by Friday 20 May 2011.

New online curriculum materials for teachers

savewater!® a not-for-profit organisation has produced three sets of worksheets (all free of charge) in line with the new Australian curriculum:

  • Water Savers, on saving water in and around the home for years 6 – 8
  • Carbon Tradies, on environmental sustainability locally for years 7 – 9
  • Climate Change. The Cold Hard Facts, based on documentary for years 9 – 10

These activities sheets together with the associated teacher’s guides are available to download from

East Africa study tour

Tour Nairobi, Amboseli, Tanzanian Game Parks & Zanzibar

15 days

$7995 per person twin share

Departs Melbourne: 28 December 2011

This tour will provide participants with a unique insight into some of the famous Game Parks of Kenya and Tanzania and the exotic spice island of Zanzibar. The tour will be personally escorted by Barrie Jones (GTAV Study Tours Co-ordinator) and will visit Nairobi, Amboseli National Park, Lake Manyara, the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, the sweeping plains of the Serengeti and the exotic spice island of Zanzibar.

>> Itinerary and further details

Part-time GTAV Project Officer position

An employment opportunity is available for a part-time Project Officer position with the Geography Teachers' Association of Victoria.

Applications close: 5.00pm, Friday 8 April 2011. For more information please click here.

Tutankhamun and the golden age of the pharaohs

Teachers’ preview

GTAV members are invited to an exclusive free teachers’ preview of "Tutankhamun and the golden age of the pharaohs" at the Melbourne Museum from 4.00pm on Tuesday 5 April 2011. RSVP to stating that you are a member of the GTAV and indicate at which school you teach or are associated with. As there is limited space, this invitation is for 1 person only. If you have any questions please contact Damien Chambers at

Teaching resource

Teaching resource materials have been produced by the education team at Melbourne Museum to support teacher and student learning in the key themes of the ‘Tutankhamun and the golden age of the pharaohs’ exhibition.

GTAV Conference 2011—Invitation to present

The GTAV annual conference will be held on Sunday 21, Monday 22 and Tuesday 23 August 2011. Invitations to present a workshop or lead a field trip are now open.
>> Register your interest in presenting a workshop or field trip at the GTAV annual conference.

Research Position available at GTAV

The Geography Teachers’ Association of Victoria is seeking to employ a creative, meticulous person to research photographs and maps for a VCE textbook to be published in 2011.

This position will require the successful applicant to seek copyright where appropriate, to keep complete accurate records of all work and to liaise with the Director of Projects on an ongoing basis.

This position will commence from April 1, 2011 and conclude by July 1, 2011.

Interested applicants are invited to contact the GTAV office for more details.
Telephone:  (03) 9824 8355                         Email:

Please submit your expression of interest and resume to the Executive Officer of the GTAV no later than Friday March 11, 2011.

Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Geography

ACARA has released the Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Geography paper which can be downloaded here. Geography teachers are invited to comment on the Australian Curriculum: Geography at AGTA's discussion forum.

Climate Awareness Workshop — Saturday 19 March (9:30am - 2:30pm)

The Science Teachers for Climate Awareness (STCA) invite Geography teachers to participate in our next Climate Awareness workshop on 19 March 2011 at the Victorian Space Science Education Centre at Strathmore Secondary College. More details are in the attached flyer.

National Close The Gap Day — Thursday 24th March 2011

National Close The Gap Day is an annual event of major significance to all Australians in seeking to close the gap in Indigenous health equality. Since 2005, more than 140 thousand people have joined the campaign, which calls for national action to close the 10-17 year life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians within a generation. Close the Gap has been supported by all  Australian Federal, State and Territory Governments and Oppositions. For more information check out the Close The Gap website.

Murray Darling Basin Student Lecture

The lecture held on Sunday 27th February 2011 at 'The Spot' was very successful. Ian Rutherford's Murray Darling Basin PowerPoint presented during the student lecture is now available.

VCTU Teaching Initiatives Program

The VCTU's Teaching Initiatives Program provides financial assistance for the implementation of innovative learning techniques in Schools and Preschools across Victoria. Funding is provided for a wide range of areas such as sustainability, environmental education, skill development, student motivation and esteem programs. Applications opened Monday 14 February 2011 and can only be submitted online. For program criteria, funding categories and to apply, visit Applications close Friday 8 April 2011.

Rex Walford OBE: A tribute

Rex Walford a highly regarded British geographer with strong links to Australia lost his life in a tragic accident on the River Thames on Sunday 2 January 2011. The news came as a shock to so many geography teachers in Australia from the 1970s and up to the present day, because with Rex the relationship was never just professional.

At the recent AGTA Conference in Adelaide, Barrie McElroy and Roger Smith spoke about Rex following the presentation by Dr Rita Gardner from the Royal Geographical Society in U.K. who had dedicated her presentation to Rex. Read a tribute from Australian geography teachers.

The Urban Environment

An exciting and free new teaching module titled 'The Urban Environment' is now available. This planning unit/fieldwork activity is suitable for Yr 7-11 if you follow the VELS advice at the end. It is a practical planning activity which promotes one of the possible career paths for Geographers. It is a very usable and clearly written task which is well worth looking at and incorporating into your teaching programs. The planning4success web site also has several documents relating to planning as a career.