Case of the [Enemy Aliens]

Stages 4 and 5 of the New South Wales History syllabus

Case of the ‘Enemy Aliens’ is a skills-based education kit based on the idea of the historian as detective.  Inspired by the Migration Heritage Centre’s online Enemy at Home exhibition, this program focuses on the art and strategy of critical thinking and creative questioning.  The Enemy at Homeinvestigates the experience of German-Australian concentration camp internees as “enemy aliens” during World War I and boasts a wide variety of sources from various perspectives, making it an exemplary case study for student-historians. The online exhibition won a 2012 National Trust Heritage Award.  

This secondary education kit primarily addresses learning outcomes from Stages 4 and 5 of the New South Wales History syllabus, with strong curriculum links to the theme of Immigration.  It may also be of value to other subject areas including English, Society and Culture, and Geography.

In this ‘Age of Information’, students encounter an abundance of sources manifested in ever-evolving formats with easier access.  Even so, the skills of critical analysis and healthy scepticism that Case of the ‘Enemy Aliens’ aims to develop remain fundamental.

The overall objective of this education program is for students to acquire and develop critical questioning skills, which they are encouraged to apply in and outside of the school environment.

Case of the ‘Enemy Aliens’: An Interrogation of Sources was created by Carina Tang for Liverpool City Council and NSW Migration Heritage Centre



Educational Theory


Curriculum Links

Stage 4 History Mandatory Course
Stage 5 History Mandatory Course
Historical Skills
Life Skills

Program Sequence

Preparation Suggestions

Key Tasks

Getting to Know ‘The Enemy’
Briefing the Case
Detective Diary/Journal
Closing the Case

Suggested Supporting Activities
Socratic Questioning Warm-up
Discovering ‘The Enemy at Home’
Newspapers and Journalism
Community and Multicultural Media
Photographic Records
Family Historian
Source-maker Simulation

Source Guide


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