What are the mysteries of Maralinga?

Case Study Overview

Students explore an important Australian Cold War event that is often overlooked in Australian history: the testing of atomic weapons in Australia in the 1950s. They ask what it reveals about the Australia in which it occurred and in doing so explore both their own values, and develop an empathetic understanding of the values and attitudes of Australian society during the Cold War. Students also investigate the effects of nuclear testing on Aboriginal people from that area and ongoing debates about responsibility and compensation since that time.

An interactive entitled, Cold War timeline, is also available for this case study.

Case Study unit of work inquiry structure (pdf)

  • Teacher’s Guide
  • Activity 1: What is your image of ‘the bomb’?
    Understanding the main concept(s) raised in the case study
  • Activity 2: Video visit
    Looking at the video segment of this case study and answering questions about it
  • Activity 3: Group reports
    Examining a range of attitudes to issues relating to the testing of atomic weapons in the 1950s and 60s
  • Activity 4: Outcomes and today
    Coming to a conclusion about the impacts of atomic testing in Australia

About the Interactive

Cold War timeline
A timeline of some significant international Cold War events, including events that involved Australia. This interactive was recently redeveloped for a full screen and touch-device friendly experience.

For Secondary Students

• World War II

Case Study Resources

  • Teacher Guide
  • Print Resources (PDF)
  • Interactive
  • Downloadable High Quality Video
  • STUDIES Magazine Unit
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