This exercise asks students to read the primary source documents that we have regarding the decision to settle NSW by the British Government in 1788.
Students then need to construct their own explanation based solely on these sources. Students soon realise that very different interpretations are possible. We then discuss in a tutorial how historians have used the same sources.
This is a very useful assessment as it quickly shows students how integral primary sources are to the discipline of history, but also how problematic they can be. The better students are able to make judgments on the differing ‘value’ of the sources.