Skip to main content

We’d love to know what you think of this new site — please complete this short survey to give us your feedback.


What is Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom?

Produced with the generous support of Gandel Philanthropy, Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom is a comprehensive student-centred resource covering over 120 Defining Moments in Australian history. It includes an extensive range of interactives, games, quizzes, videos, images and a variety of other learning resources. It has been designed to support teachers and engage primary and secondary students, while addressing key requirements in the Australian Curriculum.


  • An engaging, interactive timeline of Australian history

  • More than 120 Defining Moment stories with embedded questions, critical thinking activities and research tasks

  • A virtual museum visit to the Landmarks: People and Places across Australia gallery at the National Museum of Australia

  • Flexible, ready-to-use learning modules and activities that address key topics in the Australian Curriculum

  • Learning resources written by practising classroom teachers

  • Games and interactives that provide fun, engaging and challenging opportunities to learn

  • Over 100 videos, including archival film clips from the National Film and Sound Archive

  • Interactive and topic-themed quizzes

  • A library of more than 1000 images, including historical photographs, artworks and maps

Support for teachers

Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom has been written ‘to the student’. However there are teachers’ notes available throughout the website to help teachers make the most of the resources. Teachers’ notes include information to help assess resources, plus ideas on how to adapt and use them effectively in the classroom. 

Student showcase

Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom also includes a selection of student-made digital projects. Students from the Australian National University have created games and other resources for the website. Digital projects made by school students will also be featured, beginning with the winning entries in the Gandel Philanthropy Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom competition, which will be held in 2021.

Background to Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom

In 2006 the National Museum of Australia invited a group of eminent historians to choose what they considered to be the 100 most important defining moments in Australian history. It provoked a conversation with the public about what matters in our history and why.

The Defining Moments in Australian History website developed from this conversation. Hundreds of public-inspired moments of profound significance to the Australian people have been added to the historians’ original 100. The Defining Moments pages have become the most popular part of the Museum’s site and are an important and trusted source about Australian history.

Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom is based on the rich content of the Museum’s Defining Moments in Australian History website, adapted for a student audience, for use in Australian classrooms. Its aim is to inspire young people to embrace history and engage with the nation’s story in new and innovative ways.

Gandel Philanthropy

Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom at the National Museum of Australia has been made possible through the support of Gandel Philanthropy — one of Australia’s leading philanthropic foundations. In 2019, founders John Gandel AC and Pauline Gandel AC received the Philanthropy Leadership Award in acknowledgement of the foundation's work over the past four decades. Gandel Philanthropy's generous gift to the National Museum is enabling students and teachers across Australia to access and engage with history, humanities and social science through this exciting and comprehensive digital resource.

John Gandel AC and Pauline Gandel AC

Preferences in terminology

The Museum recognises that First Nations peoples may be referred to in a variety of ways, including as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, First Australians or Indigenous Australians.

Citing or referencing our website

We encourage students to reference any material or content used from Australia’s Defining Moments Digital Classroom. The referencing format includes the name of our organisation, the webpage title, the URL and the date on which the webpage was viewed.

National Museum of Australia, Defining Moments: 1851 Gold rushes in New South Wales and Victoria begin,, viewed 5 August 2020