Today was an exciting day in our learning. We went on an excursion to the city of Adelaide to explore 2 different places. Our current Inquiry topic is about investigating how items have changed over time and so we visited Ayres House and the Migration Museum to see what they could show us.
First, we arrived at Ayres house to see if we could apply for jobs as servants in the grand old house. There was going to be a Ball that night and they needed extra help. When we knocked on the front door 2 ladies came to answer the door Mrs Wood and Mrs Peters. They asked to see if our hands were clean and then inspected our teeth – making sure there were no rotten teeth. Then we had to twirl on the spot while they watched our movements. We were taken into the main dining room area and were taught how to carry trays with special crockery on them – making sure to be careful not to drop them and the tray wasn’t allowed to rattle. We had to work silently at all times and with grace!
One of our first tasks was to learn how to do jobs in the kitchen, such as cooking, grinding coffee beans, grinding spices, making butter, making jelly in moulds, preparing dinner, rolling out pastry and making baked goods.
Then we toured the house with Mrs Wood and she showed us how to clean and polish the furniture and grand staircase. We went into the bedrooms to learn how to make the beds, dust the furniture and clean out the chamber pots – luckily they we didn’t have to empty them out! Then we went to the Nursery to look at the room where the children are fed, play and sleep. The golden rule was ‘children were to be seen and not heard’.
When we returned downstairs we had to learn the different bells that are used by the owners of the house. There were 3 bells to learn – the Gentleman’s bell, the Ladies bell and the bell for the children’s room. The bells helped us to learn which rooms we were needed in.
We thanked the ladies for having us as visitors and headed off along North Terrace to the Migration Museum.
After a lunch under the lovely verandah of the Migration Museum we began exploring.
We divided into 2 groups – one group went to the classroom area and one group went into the Migration Museum.
In the Migration Museum we learnt about the Aboriginal people who lived here when explorers landed here from England. It was interesting to learn about all of the different Aboriginal groups in Australia and find out about their lives. Then we moved further into the museum to find out about the early settlers in Australia. We learnt about the items they brought with them from England and why they’d brought them here. There were lots of slides, artefacts, maps and models to look at in this area.
We dressed up in uniforms from the olden days and given new names that were quite different to ours. We always had to let the ladies go first when moving around the different displays.
Then we moved over to the old classroom area. We had to march into class and sit on the special mat for the class. We learnt about how Aboriginals were treated by the new settlers to Australia and how lives started in a new country. We then practised being in an old fashioned classroom – even doing handwriting lessons on blackboards with slate pencils, writing in cursive. Again, we saw models of meals that people ate and it didn’t look very tasty.
Our last activity was to play old fashioned games in the Migration Museum courtyard. We played hoops with sticks, knuckles and quoits. It wasn’t as easy as it looked.
We had a fantastic day of learning and gained a far greater insight into just how much things have changed from the 1800’s to today.
We’d like to say a huge thank you to the staff of Ayres House and the Migration Museum. They all gave us such a wonderful insight into our history and how lives and items have changed so much over time.
We’d also like to say thanks to Kath and Ahmad – the 2 best parent helpers on the day! They were a wonderful support.
What were some of your highlights of our excursion?