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Curtin University
John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library
Curtin University Library

Cartoon PD in a Package Overview

Exam markers have identified cartoon interpretation as an area of weakness in the teaching of History in Australian schools. Cartoon PD in a Package is a resource from the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library, developed with the support of a grant from the Public Education Endowment Trust. The package is designed to develop confidence and proficiency in teachers and students using cartoon resources.

The value of this resource lies in its self-contained nature which allows it to deliver quality professional development without a presenter and at a time that suits the individual teacher. Teachers will find this package invaluable.

Authors: Liz McGinnis, Meredith Wright, Jan Bishop and Rosslyn Marshall.

The package is freely downloadable as a series of .pdf files.

We welcome feedback from teachers about the package.

e.g. Were the instructions clear and easy to follow? Was there sufficient historical content provided? How successful was the package as a method of providing professional development?

Cartoon PD in a Package

Section 1: Instructions to the Teacher

Download cover, acknowledgements, contents and Section 1 (Pages 1-10) (159 Kbyte .pdf file)


Connections to Curriculum Framework and History Syllabus    Page 4
General Introduction    Page 5
Suggested Reading    Page 6
Interpreting Cartoons: a process    Page 7
Interpreting Cartoons: an example    Page 8
Interpreting Cartoons: terminology    Page 9
Common Symbols used in Cartoons    Page 10

Section 2: Scaffolding Cartoons suitable for years 9 and 10

Download Section 2 (Pages 11-71) (2.2 Mbyte .pdf file)

Cartoon - Look Bert and no Yanks about! - by Norm Rice

'Look, Bert; and no Yanks about!'    Page 11

Teaching point: Australian male perspective on the attractions of American servicemen in Australia during WW2.

Download 'Look, Bert...' Pages 11-19 (178 Kbyte .pdf)

Cartoon - Her letter to her soldier  - by Ted Scorfield

Her letter to her soldier    Page 20

Teaching point: Use of caption and text to clarify and provide the cartoonist’s bias to the pictorial message.

Download 'Her letter...' Pages 20-30 (435 Kbyte .pdf)

Cartoon - I'll have you - by Claude Marquet

'I’ll have you!’    Page 31

Teaching point: Conscription and Hughes: use of caricature to create a negative impression of a person.

Download 'I'll have you...' Pages 31-40 (332 Kbyte .pdf file)

Cartoon - Leg-roped - by  Bill Mahony

Leg-roped    Page 41

Teaching point: How a cartoonist presents a message and opinion using symbols, words and a caption.

Download 'Leg-roped' Pages 41-51 (635 Kbyte .pdf file)

Cartoon - Fall of Singapore - by  Peter Dent

Fall of Singapore    Page 52

Teaching point: Fall of Singapore and its impact on Australia.

Download 'Fall of Singapore' Pages 52-60 (258 Kbyte .pdf file)

Cartoon - Diggers arrive in Vietnam - by  Paul Rigby

Diggers arrive in Vietnam    Page 61

Teaching point: The nature of Australia’s participation in the Vietnam War.

Download 'Diggers arrive...' Pages 61-70 (377 Kbyte .pdf file)


How to Scaffold a Cartoon    Page 71
Download 'How to Scaffold...' Page 71 (9 Kbyte .pdf file)

Section 3: Chunking Cartoons suitable for year 12 (1900-1945)

Download Section 3 (Pages 72-88) (628 Kbyte .pdf file)


How to Chunk a Cartoon    Page 72
Download 'How to Chunk...' Pages 72-73 (48 Kbyte .pdf file)


Pegged    Page 74
Leg-roped    Page 80
Choose your bonds    Page 85
Download Chunking Cartoons Pages 74-88 (588 Kbyte .pdf file)

Section 4: Chunking Cartoons suitable for year 12 (1945-1990)

Download Section 4 (Pages 89-106) (285 Kbyte .pdf file)


It’s the only language they understand    Page 89
Wedding of the year    Page 93
Gallipoli to Vietnam    Page 103

Public Education Endowment Trust logo

Supported by a grant from the Public Education Endowment Trust.

Additional cartoon interpretations can be found in other online activities associated with JCPML resources.