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Pippa Hav, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

In May 2017, DATTA Vic's annual conference addressed the theme of 60,000 Years of Australian Design & Technologies.  

Following this event, DATTA Vic committed to work with our partners to collect and develop resources, which can be used by P-10 Design & Technologies, VCE Product Design & Technologies and VCE Systems Engineering teachers to embed and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures in their classroom teaching. 

We have created this resources library, which will continue to grow as we create and discover more material. 

DATTA Vic acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we live and work, and we pay our respects to Elders, past and present.  The First Nations people of this country are our first designers, engineers and innovators. By learning from their millennia of knowledge and connection to country, we can educate young people to care for the planet and create a sustainable future for us all.                                         

Note - some of the following resources and links contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now deceased.

Whose Land are you on?

DATTA Vic has created this document that lets you find the traditional owners on whose lands your school sits, their contact details and lots of other useful links to help you make contact with First Nations partners. If your school has stories to share about your traditional owners, please share them so we can add them to this collection.

Designer Case Study - Trent Jansen on Incorporating Cultural Identity.

DATTA Vic members get a discount on this resource, which features a presentation by renowned creative Trent Jansen - a non-Indigenous designer who collaborates with First Nations artists on unique furniture pieces. This video offers an invaluable insight into how First Nations knowledge can be embedded in design.

Learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History and Cultures – VCAA Resources

Learning about the cross-curriculum priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures is embedded in all curriculum areas of the Victorian Curriculum F–10. The VCAA have produced a set of guidelines, covering protocols and curriculum mapping, including Design & Technologies.

Indigenous Design Charter

The Indigenous Design Charter is a forum for Indigenous and non-Indigenous design practitioners, educators and students to share knowledge and seek guidance on how to respectfully represent Indigenous culture in their work. This is an invaluable resource for all students of design.

International Indigenous Design Network

INDIGO, the international Indigenous design network, is a culturally inclusive network of designers, focusing on the ethical and appropriate representation of Indigenous culture in design practice.

Visible Steps - The Indigenous Design Alliance

Visible Steps is an Indigenous led alliance of design stakeholders. It acts as a meeting place to research, share knowledge and discuss methods relating to the ethical and appropriate representation of Indigenous culture in communication design practice.

It has a fantastic Indigenous Design Hall of Fame, which includes First Nations designer, author and academic Alison Page, pictured left.

Koorie Teaching Resources for the Department of Education 

IFrameThe Department of Education and Training have a wide range of Koorie Teaching Resources available on their website. They also employ Koorie Education Support Officers who work with First Nations families in schools.

Click HERE for contact details for your own area.

Teaching First Nations Knowledge & Perspectives

Culture is Life have created this invaluable guide to creating a safe learning environment to explore First Nations Knowledge and Perspectives with your classes.

This resource is free but sign up is required. Click HERE to access.

First Weapons

Culture is Life have created an education resource on First Weapons, which explores the history and innovation behind the weapons used by First Nations peoples for thousands of years.

It accompanies the six part series by Blackfella Films and ABC, which investigates the science and technology behind our most ancient and innovative First Weapons. These resources are free, but sign-up is required.

Five Indigenous Engineering Feats You Should Know About

This 2023 article from the Conversation celebrates examples of innovations by the First Engineers of Australia, including the Kimberley Raft (pictured left), the Yidaki and the Budj Bim eel traps.

Glenelg River YarnsIFrame

This beautiful site introduces you to the traditional owners of the lands around the Glenelg River in SW Victoria.  Through videos, images and storytelling, it explores how for millennia, people sustainably used, shaped and renewed the natural resources of the area. Click HERE to enter.

The Orb

The Orb is a collection of online multimedia resources designed to assist the teaching of Tasmanian Aboriginal histories and cultures, including design. It reflects the holistic nature of Tasmanian Aboriginal culture and the interconnectedness between people, country, culture, identity and the living community.

Indigenous Fashion Projects Runway at Afterpay Australian Fashion Week 2021

For the first time ever, Australian Fashion Week 2021 included a runway show dedicated to the work of First Nations designers. Taking place on Mabo day on Gadigal Country, the show celebrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designers from across Australia, sharing their unique stories, journeys, rich cultural heritage and innovative designs.

You can watch the show HERE.

The Cultural Significance of First Nations Weaving

This SBS podcast explores one of the most complex and sophisticated examples of First Nations technology and culture. Weaving produces objects of beauty, and the process itself has deep cultural significance. Weaving is a way to share knowledge, connect to people and country, invite mindfulness, and much more.

Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council

IFrameThe Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council has an invaluable range of resources on their site, including local Aboriginal Network contacts and recordings of their Caring for Country radio segment, where traditional owners talk about the ways they protect the land and their own cultural heritage.

Aboriginal Victoria 

IFrameThe Aboriginal Victoria website has lots of useful links, including contacts and a set of fact sheets to download which explore our First Nation's places and objects, including flaked stone tools, grinding stones, middens and scar trees.

Indigenous Design - Budj Bim

In this video produced by the VCAA, Budj Bim, a site of great cultural significance, is discussed for its inspirational role in shaping Aboriginal design, specifically focusing on the creation of eel channels, eel traps, traditional Aboriginal houses and the Lake Condah weir.

Budj Bim Cultural Landscape

In July 2019, Budj Bim Cultural Landscape was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status. DATTA Vic congratulate the traditional owners of the land, the Gunditmara people, who for millennia have managed and cared for "the world's oldest engineering project." We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging, and aim to learn from their cultural traditions, knowledge, practices and ingenuity. Click HERE to read the entire report from UNESCO, and HERE for a Broadsheet article which explains How Budj Bim Became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This article offers more information about the eel trap system and the archaeology of the site.  Click HERE to listen to the Triple R Ingenuity podcast on Aquaculture at Budj Bim from June 2022.

The Aboriginal People of Budj Bim as Engineers

The National Museum of Australia has produced a great online learning resource for younger students on our First engineers as part of their Australia's Defining Moments: Digital Classroom. It's a great way to explore the impact of First Nations peoples on the environment.

The Elements & Principles of Design - Focus on Indigenous Design

For Design & Technologies Week, DATTA Vic created a range of new resources, including one focusing on design elements and principles through the lens of Indigenous Design. It includes a focus on Nicole Monks' Walarnu (Boomerang Chair) pictured left. You’ll find this student resource, along with the others, HERE.

Creative Futures - Community Connections

The Creative Futures Annual Design Workshop is a teacher education program delivered in partnership between Melbourne Museum and DATTA Vic and funded by Creative Futures. Each year, teachers come together for a unique professional learning experience on using museum collections and design thinking practices to enrich schools-based design education. They also contribute to the development of new Design & Technologies classroom resources based on museum collections.

In 2021, the group helped to develop Community Connections, a project which will engage your students - individually or collaboratively - in exploring their own community connections through designing and creating a digital product that can be shared with others. This resource offers a specific opportunity to explore Indigenous culture and gives guidance on how to engage with First Nations’ design through the recently published Australian Indigenous Design Charter.

This resource consists of three elements: a student portfolio, teacher notes and design process help videos.

Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre

Bunjilaka at Melbourne Museum offers a diverse range of exhibitions and learning programs celebrating the complexity and diversity of Australia's First Peoples, including their relationship with the land, food, tools and technologies. You can also experience the Milarri Garden Trail, where you can discover the plants and waterways significant to Aboriginal people of south-eastern Australia and the traditional uses of indigenous plants.

Piinpi - Contemporary Indigenous Fashion at Bendigo Art Gallery

Piinpi: Contemporary Indigenous Fashion was a 2021 exhibition from Bendigo Art Gallery which celebrated Indigenous art, history and culture through the lens of contemporary fashion. It was the first major survey of contemporary Indigenous Fashion to be undertaken in this country.

DATTA Vic members can log-in to our website and watch an online introduction and virtual tour of the exhibition by the Bendigo Art Gallery team.

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

The Royal Botanic Gardens have a great range of Indigenous education resources that link to the D&T curriculum, including class excursions, teacher kits and digital experiences.

They explore the traditional owners' connection to the land and explore their use of natural resources for food, medicine and tools.

Yandi Dish/Coolamon

This fact sheet explores the multi-purpose, shallow wooden vessels created and used by Aboriginal people - to collect food, winnow chaff and crush grain. They are also used to carry babies, and are created in a way that causes no lasting damage to the tree.

Possum Skin Cloaks

Museums Victoria have published a beautiful account of the history and art of the Possum Skin Cloak. It focuses on the museum's two historical cloaks, which were collected from the Yorta Yorta and Gunditjmara peoples in the mid-19th Century, and remain the only known surviving cloaks in the world of their time and place.

Alongside these are the stories of two newly-commissioned cloaks, which connect the makers to their ancestors and tell stories both timeless and contemporary through their designs.

Possum Skin Cloaks by Maree Clarke - an NGV Resource

This fantastic resource from the NGV for Levels 3-6. Students learn about how Maree made her possum-skin cloak and the personal meaning of the design, then create a design representing significant places or journeys from their own lives. It includes a video, worksheet, resources list, tips on using the design process and evaluating their work.

Nicole Monks - Marlu Furniture Range

Nicole Monks is an award-winning multi-disciplinary creative of Yamaji Wajarri, Dutch and English heritage living and working on Worimi and Awabakal Country. Monks’s design practice is informed by her cross-cultural identity, using storytelling as a way to connect the past with the present and future.

Her Marlu (Kangaroo) furniture range demonstrates how she takes culturally significant stories and weaves them into her contemporary works. Her practice is a powerful example of how a designer's culture influences the products they create. If you want to explore Nicole's work further, UNSW has produced this interview with her where she talks about how her upbringing and experience led her to become a designer and artist.

Bruce Pascoe: Aboriginal Agriculture, Technology and IngenuityIFrame

Bruce Pascoe's Dark Emu was published in 2014, and challenged the belief that the First Australians were hunter-gatherers. He introduced us to a complex civilisation that developed and used sophisticated technologies to live and manage the land.

ABC Education have produced this wonderful digibook that explores and celebrates the ingenuity of the First Australians.

Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe

IFrameBruce Pascoe's book Dark Emu argues for a reconsideration of the 'hunter-gatherer' tag for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating and storing – all ways of living inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag. 

In June 2019, a version of the book for younger readers was published. Young Dark Emu - a Truer History uses the accounts of early European explorers, colonists and farmers to demand a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer label for the First Australians.  It explores their use of sophisticated technologies and understanding of the environment and its natural resources - a must-have for any Design & Technologies reading list.

Bruce Pascoe's TEDxSydney Talk

A real history of Aboriginal Australians, the first agriculturists

In this TEDxSydney talk, Indigenous writer and anthologist Bruce Pascoe draws on first-hand accounts from colonial journals to dispel the myth that Aboriginal people were hunters and gatherers and "did nothing with the land that resembled agriculture".

Stories of Indigenous Engineering by Engineers without Borders

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people represent 2.5% of the Australian population, but just 0.5% of total engineering students.

Engineers Without Borders have developed Stories of Indigenous Engineering to celebrate and encourage diversity in the engineering profession and open our eyes to different knowledge systems and perspectives.

Blak Design Matters

This exhibition ran at the Koorie Heritage Trust in 2018 and showcased contemporary Indigenous design projects, including fashion and product design. Click HERE for details, and a list of the exhibiting designers.

IFramePictured: Marlu Collection 2015 by Nicole Monks. Photograph by Boaz Nothman

Remembering David Unaipon - the Man on the Fifty Dollar NoteIFrame

Known as the Australian Leonardo da Vinci, Unaipon was a well-known Indigenous Australian of the Ngarrindjeri people, an inventor, preacher and writer.  He took out 19 provisional patents on his inventions, but could never afford to get any of them fully patented.

Amongst his designs are an anti-gravitational device and a sheep shearing handpiece which was the basis of modern sheep shears.  He also drew-up plans for a helicopter based on the principle of the boomerang. Click HERE for an article about his life and work from NITV.

The Indigenous Perspectives Tuckerbag

The Indigenous Perspectives Tuckerbag is a comprehensive Australian Curriculum resource guide on Aboriginal History, Culture and Country from the Koorie Heritage Trust.

The Koorie Heritage Trust

The Koorie Heritage Trust is a First Peoples Arts and Cultural organisation providing opportunities for all to learn and connect with Aboriginal Victoria. They offer a wide range of educational programs including walking tours for schools and Building Cultural Competency workshops for schools and organisations.

They also run the groundbreaking Blak Design Program, which fosters First People’s cultural innovation within the Victorian design sector and provides a platform for nurturing sustainable, First Peoples design practices.

Go Back to Where You Came From: Indigenous Design – Past | Present | Future

Go Back to Where You Came From was the inaugural Symposium of the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning (ABP) at the University of Melbourne.

Convened by Jefa Greenaway, this event explored the role of Indigenous design, showcased a range of established local and international First Nations design practitioners and offered an opportunity to reveal design approaches. For the full program, click HERE. It includes the biographies of a range of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander designers, as well as creative practitioners from Indigenous communities in Aotearoa, Samoa, South Africa and Canada.

Ngarara Place by Greenaway Architects

Ngarara Place, an Indigenous landscape designed by Greenaway Architects, has opened at RMIT University's city campus.  It is designed to be a visible presence and recognition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories as connected among the lands of the Kulin Nations.  

Click HERE to discover the story behind Jefa Greenaway's beautiful design.


The Narragunnawali program has free tools and resources for schools to take action towards reconciliation between non-First Nations Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

They have some fantastic resources relevant to Design & technologies, including a Technologies subject guide, Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Businesses and Create a Reconciliation Garden.

All resources are free but sign up is required.

First Nations fashion is more than just the fabric

This fantastic article from the ABC is about the Emerging Mob in Fashion show at the Melbourne Fashion Festival.

It offers some beautiful examples of how First Nations culture and experience influences design, and asks the big question, Can anyone wear First Nations fashion?

Koori Perspectives in STEM by the VAEAI

The Victorian Aboriginal Education Association has produced this great resource for teachers, which includes some great stories relevant to D&T, including information on Budj Bim and a primary project on Fibre Technologies.

The 8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning

This is a pedagogy framework developed by the NSW Department of Education that allows teachers to include Aboriginal perspectives by using First Nations learning techniques.

Teaching through Aboriginal processes and protocols, not just Aboriginal content validates and teaches through Aboriginal culture and may enhance the learning for all students.

Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre

Narana is a not-for-profit organisation which provides an educational and tourism focused destination committed to offering a welcoming introduction to today's’ Indigenous culture. “Narana”, means to deeply listen and understand, in which you take in and give out. It is this concept of listening and understanding which underpins Narana’s mission to be a destination for cultural education.

Victorian Aboriginal Business Directory

Do you want to find a First-Nations-owned business for a case study, or do you want to engage an ethical organisation to provide a service at your school? This directory shared the details of verified Indigenous businesses.

Clothing the Gaps

Clothing The Gaps is a community brand managed by health professionals that celebrates Aboriginal people and culture. Their name is a play on  "Closing the Gap", the Australian Government health initiative that aims to close the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and non-Indigenous Australians.  They make clothes for Mob and Allies, which allows people to wear their values on their clothing. They also have some fantastic education resources on their site, which includes blogs, interviews and podcasts.

NAIDOC Week Resources

National NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia in the first week of July each year , to celebrate and recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The NAIDOC Week website has a wide range of education resources related to each year's theme.

Deadly Story - Engineering

Deadly Story is a cultural resource portal that aims to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young peopleto grow in their knowledge of who they are and where they come from as well as support their connection to Culture, Country and Community. They have a great page on Engineering, which explores many amazing First Nations engineering feats, including designing and building different structures such as watercraft, farming and agricultural systems, houses and more.





ABN 97 315 356 383

 03 9349 5809

 pl@datta.vic.edu.au

  Abbotsford Convent

Room C1.22

Convent Building

1 St Heliers Street


VIC 3067

DATTA Vic acknowledges and pays respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who are the Traditional Owners and ongoing custodians

of the land on which we work.


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