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Royal Geographical Society (with IBG): the heart of geography
Locating Australia
Australia's diverse landscape
Weather and climate
The Australian population
Australia's cities
Daily life in Australia

Australia - Daily life in Australia

This lesson provides pupils with more information about the daily lives of Australians

In this lesson pupils discover more about the lives of Australians. They learn about what types of jobs and activities Australians do. Pupils watch interviews with Australian children from two contrasting places (rural and urban) and answer questions related to the videos. Pupils consider the similarities and differences between two contrasting localities in Australia and also the similarities and differences between Australia and the UK.

Key questions

  • What is meant by the geographical terms ‘rural’ and ‘urban’?
  • What is the cycle of daily life like in Australia?
  • What things to Australians do that makes them distinctively Australian?
  • What things are similar and different to life in the UK?

Key ideas

  • Rural areas are less densely populated than urban areas. Urban areas include towns and cities. There are more homes, jobs, buildings and services available in urban areas.
  • People work in a range of different jobs in Australia, some are in urban areas (finance, media), and others are in rural areas (mining, farming).
  • The UK has many of the same jobs available to people as in Australia, however there are some differences e.g. no diamond mining in the UK.
  • The lives of people living in urban areas have both similarities and differences to those in rural areas.
  • The lives of people living in Australia have both similarities and differences to those in the UK.

Subject content areas

  • Locational knowledge: Locating Australia and the UK on a world map and globe, locating the focus locations in rural and urban Australia.
  • Place knowledge: Exploring the similarities and differences between a rural and urban area in Australia. Comparing and contrasting aspects of life in Australia to the UK.
  • Human Geography: Discovering industry and employment characteristics of Australia, and comparing these with the UK. Comparing the daily lives of children living in rural and urban areas of Australia.     
  • Physical Geography: Considering the physical characteristics of rural and urban places, including weather and how this impacts daily life.
  • Geographical Skills and Fieldwork: Pupils practice watching a factual video about two contrasting places in Australia and pick out relevant geographical content to record.


Additional resources

  • Interactive Whiteboard with speakers


Introduce the concept of contrasting places; places can have different human and physical geographical characteristics. 

Explain that the terms ‘rural’ and ‘urban’ can describe the characteristics of a place and use the Daily life in Australia PowerPoint definitions on slide two (see downloadable resources) to explain these terms.


Using the Daily life in Australia PowerPoint slides three to six (see downloadable resources), explore the human geography of Australia: industry, jobs and employment statistics. Pose the question: Do you think these jobs are in rural or urban places? Where do most Australians live?

Ask pupils to compare the jobs and industry in the UK and Australia. Highlight how the physical characteristics of a place influence the human geography too (e.g. coastal cities in Australia, natural resources influence industry). Use the changing industry in Australia (movement away from mining and farming with mechanisation) as an example of changing places.

Using slide seven of Daily life in Australia PowerPoint (see downloadable resources), examine the table of unemployment rates in Australian states. Pose the question:

  • Which state has the highest number of employed people? Why might this be? (The country capital city Canberra).
  • Which has the highest number of unemployed? (Tasmania)

Encourage pupils to think about the differences between UK and Australia by considering risks (poisonous creatures, extreme weather (drought, cyclones, and bushfires). Greater sunlight and heat might make Australia more arid and thus susceptible to bushfires.

Also consider the types of leisure activities people do and encourage pupils to think geographically about how and why these activities may differ in the UK (surfing, skiing, rainforest treks, scuba diving etc.)

Using slide 10, display the table on the following page on the board to encourage pupils to consider aspects of daily life in a range of places, and the contrasting characteristics of places. Add to the table with ideas from the pupils.

Location Weather School Coast Travel Water Environments Income
UK Fine, moderate but often cool Local schools Large coast as it is an island Travel is easy as distances are small Plentiful Coastal areas, hills and mountains, flat land Wealthy country
Australia Depending on location, but often consistently warm Schools might be distant Extremely long coastline as it is a large island Travel takes a long time as distances are large Supply can be difficult in some areas Many large landscapes of varying kinds (rainforests, reefs etc.) Wealthy country

Play the children’s video Interviews – Meet some Australian children (see downloadable resources) showing aspects of daily life in Australia and their experience of the places they live.

  • Encourage pupils to look for things that might be the same and different to pupils' experience of their own lives.
  • Highlight to pupils that whilst rural areas are vulnerable to bushfires, those in cities are normally better protected.
  • Ask pupils to think through how threats in Australia might differ from threats in the UK and encourage pupils to think about why these differences might occur.

Main Activity

As whole class activity pupils have compared the UK and Australia. In the main activity they compare two contrasting localities within Australia: rural Picola and urban Sydney.

Watch the Interviews – Meet some Australian children video (see downloadable resources).

Pupils answer the questions on the Daily Life Activity handout (see downloadable resources) and teacher pauses at points to ensure time for pupils to write their answers.

There is an answer sheet for this activity: Example of Pupil Work pages 1, 2, 3 PDF (see downloadable resources).


Pupils construct compound sentences with positive and negative aspects of Australia’s geography such as: "The good thing about living in Australia is the amount of sunshine but the bad thing is how often there are bushfires." Ask them to keep both positive and negative ideas within the compound sentence. This could be continued with a similar sentence exercise for the UK. 

Optional activity

As a final celebration of learning, the pupils could try some classic Australian foods such as Vegemite on toast or bake Lamingtons. Vegemite, and Lamington recipes, can be found readily on the internet. There is a useful history of the Lamington on Wikipedia.


Review there are similarities and differences between places within countries and internationally. Sometimes life elsewhere can be very different to our own in the UK and sometimes it can be very similar.

Pupils compare their answers to the activity questions. Ask pupils where they would rather live in Australia or the UK and why.

End of unit assessment

To finish the topic there is an End of Unit Assessment (see downloadable resources) for pupils to complete or teachers may choose to read questions out to the pupils. There is also an End of Unit Assessment Answer sheet (see downloadable resources) for teachers.

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