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Video Clip Synopsis:
Australia needs new migrants to populate the country and build a more prosperous nation. English lessons are available everywhere, including through correspondence and radio courses.

1min 54sec

A Land of Milk and Honey and English Lessons is an excerpt from the film Migrants Learn to Be Australian Citizens (3 mins), a segment from the series Australian Diary, produced in 1951.

Migrants Learn to Be Australian Citizens: A short film designed to tell Australians how new migrants are adapting to life in Australia, with a particular emphasis on English language education and the importance of migrant labour to the ongoing development of the nation.

Australian Diary: Filmed between 1947 and 1970, the Australian Diary series records how Australians have lived, worked and played over the years. Each of these short black-and-white films provides a snapshot of Australian life at the time, from rural areas and small towns to capital cities. Informative, entertaining and often amusing, the subjects range from serious to quirky and cover everything from innovations in agriculture, industry and science to sport, art, education, fashion, flora and fauna. There are a total of 136 diaries with 440 individual stories, providing a picture of a proud, diverse, idiosyncratic and constantly changing nation.

Australian Diary is a National Film Board Production. Produced by the Department of the Interior.

Study Module

Curriculum Focus: English
Year: 7-8
Theme: Immigration & Work

Key Concepts

Language; Multiculturalism; Assimilation; ‘New Australian’

Curriculum Applicability Notes

ACT:Everyday texts – Language: Contextual understanding
NSW:(2003 Syllabus) Stage 4 Outcome 4, Outcome 10
NT:R/V 4.1 – 4.3
Qld:Cu 5.2
SA:Texts and contexts 4.3
Tas:Communicating – Being literate, Standard 4
Vic:Reading – Texts 5.7
WA:Understanding Language
Attitudes, values and beliefs

Context / Background Information

After World War 2 the Australian Government brought a number of Europeans displaced by the war, known as DPs, to Australia. This was followed by a massive immigration scheme which brought more southern, eastern and western Europeans to Australia. Most of the European migrants could not speak English.

This influx of migrants was almost a social revolution in Australia, as most previous mass immigration had been focused on British people. This immigration would have a major impact on the immigrants’ lives, but also on Australia. Australian cultural life changed dramatically over time. These new Australians rose to the challenge of starting life over again in a new land. They raised their families here. Their children are second generation Australian Europeans with mixed cultural values.

Discussion Pointers

  1. What does the video clip show?
  2. Why would English be so important to a migrant?
  3. Who is the film directed at — migrants, or people in Australia? How do you know?
  4. Why would the filmmaker need to make a film about migrants learning English for this group of people?
  5. The film is trying to persuade the audience. If possible, turn off the sound and identify any visual images that have been designed to persuade the audience. Then listen to the sound without the visual, and do the same — identify any persuasive language or narration.

Suggested Classroom Activities

  1. Imagine that you have migrated to a new country, and you cannot speak the new language. What sort of problems might you face? For example, what happens at school? In a shop? With television? On the train? Write a letter home in which you talk about a day in your life in the new country.

Modules That Use This Clip

English Year 7-8, SOSE/HSIE Year 9-10, English Year 11-12