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SLA - What's new

Step out of the classroom and into the places where history lives on with Sydney Learning Adventures' curriculum-linked primary and secondary excursions. 

We hope you can join us for an interactive, hands-on experience in Sydney's historic areas of The Rocks and Darling Harbour.

Updated Cesspits and Old Rubbish - Stage 4 History

How do historians and archaeologists investigate the past?
Archaeology has been dubbed "the science of rubbish" because it involves the excavation and analysis of object people have thrown away.  The Cesspits and Old Rubbish program enables students to work as archaeologists, exploring the Big Dig archaeological site, examining historical sources and analysing artefacts discovered in wells, cisterns, cellars and backyards.  This differentiated investigation will see students identify key challenges of everyday life that Colonial Sydney faced and compare them to life in Ancient cities as they explore the lives of some of the more colourful individuals the cosy little houses, narrow lands and twisted streets of The Rocks' close-knit community.

Little Diggers - Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 HSIE
Learning to use historical enquiry and communication, students look at how family life has changed over time and how we can show that the present is different or similar to the past.  Excavating artefacts from our simulated archaeological dig, hearing stories of families who lived in The Rocks during the 1800s and examining artefacts together with our interactive map, students will gain a sound understanding of how the past can be communicated.
This program helps students connect to and form a greater understanding of the past through hands-on learning facilitated by our experienced Guide team.

Gadigal Mudjin - Early Stage 1 and Stage 1 History, Science, Geography and Aboriginal Languages

Gadigal Mudjin meaning "Gadigal family", is a program that allows students to explore the differences between their own personal and family histories and those of the Gadigal peoples.
Students will engage in hands-on experiences investigating bush tucker and other resources in the area, Aboriginal artefacts and stories of Aboriginal role models of the past. 
The program is linked to Early stage 1 - Stage 1 curriculum and incorporates Aboriginal languages taking students on a journey through local Aboriginal history, culture and heritage.

Piecing the past together
Students work as archaeologists to build up a picture of The Rocks in the 1800s on Sydney Learning Adventures' Pieces of the Past program (curriculum link: Stage 3 History).   This program helps students connect to and form a great understanding of the past through hands-on learning facilitated by our dynamic Education Guide team.

For more information about this program or to book, please please email  or give us a call on (02) 9240 8552.        

Groundwork Extended (full day) program is offered throughout the year. This interactive, hands-on full day program incorporates all the components of the Groundwork two-hour program, plus exclusive access to the Dawes Point archaeological site, and a visit to The Rocks Discovery Museum to see artefacts excavated from the site of The Big Dig.

Groundwork Extended

How do historians and archaeologists investigate the past? What types of questions do they ask? What ethical issues are involved in the excavation, conservation and interpretation of a site? Students use written and archaeological sources to undertake an enquiry-based investigation into topics such as the lives of real men and women who lived and worked in The Rocks during the 19th century, the impact of the industrial revolution on them, and the sociocultural identity of The Rocks.
Program components
• archaeology presentation
• exclusive access to The Big Dig archaeological site tour
• hands-on artefact analysis
• exclusive access to the Dawes Point archaeological site
• visit to The Rocks Discovery Museum

Time:    9.30am – 2.15pm
Cost:    $25 per student (minimum cost for 20 students applies)

For more information about this program or to book, please email or give us a call on (02) 9240 8552

2019 brochure released                    

We recently sent our 2019 Education programs brochure to your school.  If you haven't received it yet and you'd like a copy, please email or give us a call on (02) 9240 8552 for our full program or to download a copy  Sydney Learning Adventures Brochure 2019 .pdf

Primary program prices
$14 per student for Little Diggers; Dirt Detectives; Pieces of the Past; Gadigal Mudgin and Ngara programs.
$16 per student for Chinese Whispers program.

$26 per student for Stage 2 package (Chinese Whispers and Dirt Detectives) or Stage 3 (Chinese Whispers and Pieces of the Past).
 * This discounted rate will only apply when any of the two programs are booked for the same day.

Secondary program prices
$14  per student for Cesspits and Old Rubbish; Shopfront to Western Front; Groundwork: Archaeology at The Big Dig; Giba-Nura; Mana-Nura and Resistance & Resilience - Warriors to Soldiers programs.
$25  per student for Groundwork Extended program.

All prices above include GST.

For more information about 2019 program prices, and to book, please call us on (02) 9240 8552 or email

Aboriginal secondary programs

There are two Aboriginal secondary programs on offer, Mana-Nura (Stage 5 - 6 History, Science, Geography, Aboriginal Studies and Aboriginal Languages) and Resistance and Resilience - Warriors to Soldiers (Stage 5 History - Mandatory study, Aboriginal Studies and Aboriginal Languages).

Mana-Nura will allow students to explore the significant social and political events that have affected and continue to affect Indigenous Australia, as well as the local history, heritage and culture.

Resistance and Resilience is a fabulous program that will explore Aboriginal soldiers and  their contribution to the armed forces and world wars.  From the Boer Wars, WWI, WWII through to current conflicts, Indigenous Australians have a proud history as diggers and peacekeepers.  Indigenous Australians continue to contribute to the armed forces and protection of our borders.

For more information about these programs or to book, please please email  or give us a call on (02) 9240 8552

Chinese Whispers
Stages 2 and 3: History and Geography

Teachers’ feedback:SLA - Chinese Whispers program image
“Good insights and tour through Chinatown.”
“Engaging and interesting program, the key ceremony and book reading were the highlights.”
“Students were actively engaged and loved the treasure hunt format.”

Stage 2
Inquiry question: How have Chinese individuals and groups contributed to changes in our community over time?

Stage 3
Inquiry question: How has the Chinese community contributed to Australian society, and what key challenges have they experienced as individuals and as groups?

There are two main components to the program:

1. Chinatown (45 mins): students will experience the vibrancy and colour of Chinatown as our guides share stories of Chinese culture and community in relation to first contact, British colonisation, celebrations and commemorations.

(15 mins allowed for walking)
2. Chinese Garden of Friendship (1 hr): students will be guided on a quest to find an ancient Chinese story book hidden somewhere in the garden. On the journey students will solve riddles and complete tasks to piece together the legend of the Chinese zodiac. Students will also explore the garden’s features and characteristics, plus learn about how it is maintained, and the significance of the garden within Sydney’s Chinese community.

    For more information on the programs or to book, please call us on (02) 9240 8552 or email

    Walking The Rocks AppWalking The Rocks Ap

    Now you can uncover the unique heritage heart of Sydney with an app that takes you on a self-guided tour of nooks, pathways and cobbled streets to reveal fascinating facts about The Rocks.  Sydney Cove and The Rocks have been pivotal in the development of the Australian nation for more than 200 years; for thousands of years before that, the Gadigal people utilised the fresh water of local streams and the abundant seafood found in Sydney Harbour. 
    Download the free app from the App store or Google Play.

    Get a glimpse of The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre before you book!

    Check out our new video and discover why teachers and students are queueing up to experience The Big Dig.

    • Gain an understanding of what to expect at The Big Dig when you book a program.
    • See the unique hands-on learning experiences offered at The Big Dig.
    • Reveal some of the resources and activities the programs offer.
    • Preview the digsite and see the exclusive access students get on our programs.
    • See the engagement and knowledge of our experienced guide team.

    View our unique hands-on Big Dig archaeology programs for students in years 1-12 below.

    Blog: History in the classroom – image makeover

    Drawing on her experience as a secondary school teacher, volunteer archaeologist and education officer at the Port Arthur Historic Site in Tasmania, Sarah Stockwin blogs about why history has a serious image problem and how educators can turn boring on its head.

    SLA Term 2, 2019 Prize Winner 

    Congratulations to St Aloysius College, the winner of our book prize for Term 2, 2019.

    Thanks to everyone who filled in a program evaluation form, which are automatically entered into the draw for our book prize each term.

    Pre-visit resource: The Rocks Beneath our Feet video