Making of the Modern World – The First World War

Program Description

Australian Light Horseman

In this performance, students learn of the social and political upheavals of the Industrial Revolution in England from two different perspectives. First, they will hear about a young lad who is forced from his life of tenant farming by new industrial harvesting machines and techniques. The young man’s name is Jebediah and he will be represented on stage by a student, as our presenter relates the story of how he then moves to the large, bustling city of Newcastle and is overjoyed when he finds a job. His happiness turns to outrage however, when he loses his employment to new-fangled machinery and his anger then turns towards those who would use such devices to rob hard working men of honest work.

Australian soldier - Desert Rat

A student volunteer will then be brought up on stage to become Jack. Our presenter will explain why Jack decides that his only option is to join the Army, a career considered by most Englishmen as the lowest of the low. He learns very quickly that disobedience of an officer’s orders leads to severe punishment, so in order to survive, he does what he must.

Students can then compare these two men’s stories and discover that while both are dealing with social upheaval in different ways, they are on a collision course when an unfortunate incident occurs one day near a factory…

The birth of the New Wealth driven by these industrial concerns leads to a wave of Neo-Imperialism, and sooner or later, these new Empires will clash. The Great War breaks out, and Australia, a nation only 13 years old, is eager to prove itself on the World Stage. One of our presenters will introduce himself to the audience as Roly Harper, a member of the Australian Light Horse Brigade. He will talk about life on the front at Gallipoli and tell a tale of youthful eagerness, naivety, mateship and ultimately tragedy. Our presenter will then encourage students to reflect on this haunting narrative and will ask students to question…was this great struggle and loss of life worth it and how should we remember those that were there?