As part of the Foundations of Western Civilisation Program, the IPA has produced a series of practical classroom resources for Years 6- 9 students, written and designed to meet the specific requirement of compulsory areas of the National Curriculum, such as History, and Civics and Citizenship.
Most recently, the IPA has produced a classroom unit called ‘Is Western Civilisation part of your life today?’ which is suitable for Years 7-10 Civics and Citizenship and Years 7-10 History.
If we want to understand Australia’s success as a modern nation, as one of the world’s oldest continuous democracies, we must look back to the origins of our institutions. Civil society, liberal democracy, constitutional government, the rule of law and individual rights are all essential features of our free society.
Institutions provide an important foundation for a society to attain its full potential. They are a legacy to this generation, passed down by those who have sought freedom of conscience, religion, speech, and the right to participate in politics and public debate.
As part of the Foundations of Western Civilisation Program, the Institute of Public Affairs has produced a series of videos. The most recent addition to the series is “How the Enlightenment came to Australia.”
How the Enlightenment came to Australia
In 19th century Australia, the early colonists had to decide what sort of institutions they were going to choose, if they going to be a protectionist or free trade set of colonies, if they were they going to focus on individual liberty or if they were to continue as a military outpost.
The research presented in the film shows the early colonists turned to classics of the Enlightenment to answer these questions. Rather than attempting to start from scratch, they consulted the great economists, philosophers and legal minds of the 18th and 19th centuries and applied the ideas contained within their works to building a new society.
We must never forget that the European settlement of Australia came at a time in the history of Western Civilisation when ideas about the role of government, individual liberty, religion and science had been debated, tried and tested. When the colonists were thinking about how to build their new society, they applied the ideas of Economic Freedom, the Rule of Law and Equal rights. Many of these ideas were contained within the books they brought with them.
The Magna Carta in Australia
The Magna Carta is the founding document of individual liberty, the rule of law, and parliamentary democracy. It is the very document which planted the seeds of political freedom for all and the concept of individual rights which we enjoy in Australia today.
‘The Castle’ in 18th Century Australia
Just six months after the arrival of the First Fleet in Botany Bay in 1788, one event in particular demonstrates just how important the concept of the rule of law was to the British founders of the colony of New South Wales. This is the remarkable story of two convicts, a ship’s captain and a missing package.
Australia’s own Tea Party Revolution
Wealth was not the only thing to come out of the Australian gold rush of the nineteenth century. Thanks largely to both the presence of the Chartists on the Victorian goldfields during the 1850s, and the demands they made following the Eureka Stockade, the political landscape of Australia was to change forever.