Saving the Uiver: How One Australian Town Made Aviation History

article by Angela Tonilo , illustrated by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall

Learning Intention:


I am learning to examine texts and identify how the ideas and events presented reflect the content in which they are created so that I can better understand the context of texts I read.


Success Criteria:


  • Identify the context of a specific text.
  • Identify elements of your school context.
  • Consider the perspective of those who attend school in a different context.
  • Compose a letter.
  • Include features of interest from the perspective of those who attend school in a different context.


Essential knowledge:


View the video Context from the English Textual Concepts. Ensure students note the following:

  • Context refers to the factors outside the text that shape its meaning
  • This means our own experiences and knowledge influence how we create texts, and how we respond to them
  • Context can include the time, place, and culture in which the author lives that influences the composition of the text.


Oral language and communication or Vocabulary:


View the following webpage Welcome to Airspace Cabin from Airbus. Click on different sections and examine the information, such as Inspiring Space, Relaxing Space and Beautiful Space.

Identify features of the aircraft, paying close attention to technological elements and factors that influence passenger comfort, for example:

  • State of the art LED lighting
  • The quiet cabin
  • Flexible seating
  • Spacious design

Inform students that this is a modern design for a comfortable aircraft.


Understanding text:


Prior to allowing students to view copies of the magazine, read the article, Saving the Uiver: How One Australian Town Made Aviation History, up to the end of the first section (right before the fourth subheading, Albury lights the way, page 15).

Note: As you read, omit the year the airline acquired the aircraft.

Inform students that their goal is to identify the context of the event outlined in the article. Discuss features of the aircraft that are described in the article and anything worth noting about the race. For example:

  • The aircraft featured automatic steering, retractable landing gear, a separate cockpit and a food preparation area
  • The prize for winning the race was fifteen-thousand pounds
  • People around the world were listening to radios to follow the story.

Discuss the context, ensuring students identify that the event described in the article occurred many years ago. At this point, you can reveal the year of the race, 1934.

Place students with a partner and instruct them to continue reading the article to identify further elements that reveal details about the context. Examples include:

  • The fact the call for help was broadcast across the radio, by the radio announcer Arthur Newnham, rather than on the internet or on television
  • News travelled fast despite there being no mobile phones
  • The captain expressed his thanks to the people of Albury via a radio interview, rather than online or on television.

Briefly discuss how these events would differ in the modern context, for example:

  • The plane would be far comfortable and include more advanced technology, similar to the Airbus examined earlier
  • The news would be broadcast on television, via the internet or on mobile phones
  • The landing strip might be lit with the lights from mobile phones or with LED lighting
  • People would video the plane landing using their mobile phones.


Creating text:


Tell students that there are many different types of school contexts around Australia. Discuss examples of these, such as those in rural, coastal, or city settings, on farms, or those that utilize remote learning. Inform students that they will be composing a letter to send to students in a different type of school context than their own. Tell students that the letter should describe their own context. Inform students that they will need to consider the perspective of the students they are writing to, to enable them to identify what those students might find interesting or engaging. Use a search engine to view photos of a context different from the one where the school is based, for example a coastal, rural or city context.

Discuss elements that might be common to the students in the context you will be writing to, for example:

  • Rural: Walking long distances to school, having multi-age classes
  • City: Being based in an urban, often a busy city location
  • Coastal: Being close to the beach, including beach culture into learning, for example surfing lessons

Then, discuss what students in the context might find surprising about the school where you are based. Display the following suggestions and add any additional ideas students think of:

  • The extra-curricular opportunities
  • The way students travel to school
  • The number of students/age range in the classroom
  • The subjects undertaken
  • What students like to do for leisure time?

Briefly discuss the format of a letter, including that they open with formal terms of address such as Dear and they end with the name of the person who has written the letter. Place students with a partner and instruct them to make notes on the displayed topics before constructing their letter.


Assessment for/as learning:


Refer students to the success criteria and instruct them to re-read their work, ticking elements from the success criteria that they have included. Where students identify success criteria that they haven’t already addressed, allow time for them to edit their work and include these elements.