Social Movements in South Australia

The rights we have come to expect today – the right to a democratic vote, a fair minimum wage, a 5-day work week, equality between genders, freedom from discrimination, amongst others – were not always in place. In fact, many of these basic human rights have only been enacted and enshrined in law in the last 150 years.

South Australia has long been a progressive example for the other Australian states and territories. It was the first to legalise the formation of Trade Unions in 1876; the first to sanction the right to vote for women, including Aboriginal women in 1894; the first to decriminalise homosexual acts in 1975. In more recent history SA has led the country in environmental policies and innovation.

Builders’ Laborers’ Union of South Australia

Using this Resource

This resource is intended to be used in conjunction with a set of videos produced by the History Trust of South Australia about Social Movements. It can also be used as a stand-alone resource.

Activities have been designed for Senior Secondary students and align with AC History, SACE Modern History, SACE Society & Culture, SACE Women’s Studies and English. These curricula ask students to:

  • Investigate the struggle for human rights, including how rights have been ignored, demanded or achieved in Australia.
  • Identify and analyse different historical interpretations.
  • Examine the continuing nature of efforts to secure civil rights and freedoms in Australia and throughout the world.
  • Understand the role of ideas, people and events in history.
  • Investigate forces for social change or continuity.
  • Explore cultures and subcultures in Australian society.
  • Consider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives.
  • Develop historical skills, including critical analysis of sources and using evidence to develop an argument.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of stereotyping in different social contexts, times, and cultures.
  • Identify and analyse the impact of various social structures and cultural practices on the lives of women of diverse backgrounds and experiences.
  • Identify and analyse examples of disempowerment, and strategies for empowerment and alternative futures.
  • Analyse and evaluate how people, cultures, places, events, objects and concepts are represented in texts, including media texts, through language, structural and/or visual choices.

Video resources

This resource is intended to be used in conjunction with the following videos produced by the History Trust. You can find these videos and others like them on our YouTube channel.