In Search of Ben Chifley is an education program designed for Human Society and Its Environment K – 6 together with Secondary History 7 -10.

In Search of Ben Chifley

Human Society and Its Environment K – 6

Using Prime Minister Ben Chifley and his original household collection in Bathurst as the key focus, this program looks at discovering and evaluating historical evidence through artefacts and artworks. The importance of oral history as a way of accessing primary historical knowledge is also discussed - together with how to conduct a site study using the Chifley Home and its immediate community as case examples.

A particular emphasis is what Ben Chifley was like as a person and how he is remembered today both as a politician and a citizen of Bathurst.

Secondary History 7 – 10

The main focus is the period of Ben Chifley’s Government following World War Two 1945 -1949 and its effects on Australian society and nation building.

Themes discussed here include:

  • Overview of the Chifley Government 1945–1949. Ben Chifley becoming Prime Minister on the death of John Curtin in July 1945 and Chifley's duel role of Prime Minister and Commonwealth Treasurer.
  • The Chifley government's role in international affairs in relation to Britain, America and Asia.
  • The establishment of learning institutions and universities after WWII, including the Australian National University in Canberra. 
  • The effects of the post-war immigration scheme on the Australian work-force and society as a whole.  The migrants' role in developing major construction projects, such as the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme, and how they influenced changes in Australian mainstream society such as food and fashion.