Anthony McClorey: Franklin Dam


Copyright Education Services Australia

Resource title: Anthony McClorey: Franklin Dam

Digital resource identifier: L362

Resource description
This learning object explores the issues surrounding the Tasmanian state referendum on the Franklin Dam.

Stage of schooling: Lower Secondary

CCE focus: Citizenship in a Democracy


Anthony McClorey, a young man living in western Tasmania in 1981, has to consider his vote in the referendum to build a hydro-electric dam in Tasmania.

In this learning object, students examine conflicting opinions on the proposed dam project and learn the results of the referendum and events that led to the High Court judgement against the building of the dam. Through investigation of the evidence, students can appreciate the way in which groups can influence government. They also have the opportunity to form their own opinion about the proposed damming of the Franklin River.

Opportunities for Civics and Citizenship learning

‘Anthony McClorey: Franklin Dam’ provides opportunities for students to:

  • investigate a historical turning point in Australian environmental politics

  • understand that in a democracy different groups have different interests and views

  • examine competing arguments over the use of scarce resources

  • reflect on the importance of environmental sustainability as a social good

  • engage with the referendum as a mechanism for decision making in a democracy

  • analyse the participation of interest groups in democracies

  • investigate a landmark High Court case in Australian federalism

Ideas for the classroom

  • Ask students, in pairs, to explore the learning object and analyse the campaign of one party to the dispute over the building of the dam. Ask them to think about the appeal of the arguments, their justifications and how opposing arguments might have been dealt with.

  • Encourage pairs who have examined the same material to discuss their findings.

  • Ask students to role-play a council meeting where they take responsibility for representing one side of the dispute, then ask them to weigh and refute counter arguments.

  • To complete the activity, draw an imaginary line on the floor of the classroom. One end represents full agreement with the damming of the Franklin River, the other represents total objection. Ask students to position themselves on the line according to how strongly they feel about the issue now that they have considered all the arguments. Take a selection of the group and ask them to share the reasons why they are standing in a particular spot.