Nice day at the beach


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Resource title: Nice day at the beach

Digital resource identifier: R10008

Resource description

A political cartoon by John Tiedemann reflecting on the Cronulla race riots of 2005. The cartoon shows a man lying on his beach towel wearing Australia-flag shorts and a Santa Claus hat. Surrounding him are various weapons including an axe, pistol, sword, hand grenade and brass knuckles. This cartoon first appeared in the Daily Telegraph on 24 December 2005. There is a link provided in this learning object to a unit of work, ‘Reading between the lines’.

Stage of schooling: Lower Secondary

CCE focus: Citizenship in a Democracy



On 11 December 2005, a crowd of more than 5,000 gathered at Cronulla Beach in Sydney, professing that they wanted to 'reclaim the beach'. Some members of the crowd attacked a number of people of Middle Eastern appearance. The violence was incited via text messages and was reportedly related to an earlier attack on surf lifesavers. It revealed deep racial tensions in Sydney's south-western suburbs.

 Opportunities for Civics and Citizenship learning

‘Nice day at the beach’ provides opportunities for students to:

  • consider issues around identity for different cultures

  • explore how racism can undermine a sense of cohesive identity at both community and national levels

  • engage with political cartoons as a means of social commentary

  • examine different forms of political commentary.

Ideas for the classroom

  • Provide students with a copy of page two of the ‘Reading between the lines’ unit of work. This gives details of the elements used in a cartoon to convey a message (caricature, subject, target, style etc). Discuss each of the nine elements identified.

  • Provide students with the background to the cartoon and ask them to share any knowledge they have about the riots.

  • Ask students to look at the ‘Nice day at the beach’ cartoon and complete the following questions:

  • Who is the boy representing? What do the objects symbolise? What is the overall message? Do you think the cartoonist supports the Cronulla riots? (Give reasons for your answer.) What can communities do to combat racism?

  • Invite students to share their answers.