Telephone02 9631 9410


Human society and its environment

In human society and its environment (HSIE), both subjects of history and geography are mandatory from Kindergarten to Year 10.

Students learn specific historical and geographical concepts and skills in history and geography. They also have an opportunity to learn more about people and the societies and environments in which they live through elective subjects in Years 7 to 10 (Stages 4 to 5).

A large number of individual subjects make up the key learning area of HSIE in which students:

  • research, gather and analyse information
  • question and make judgements
  • write for a variety of purposes. 

In Year 11 and 12, students can choose from a range of HSIE courses. These include:

  • Aboriginal Studies
  • Ancient History
  • Business Studies
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • History Extension
  • Legal Studies
  • Modern History
  • Society and Culture
  • Studies of Religion.


History (Stage 4) has been designed to provide students with an understanding of world history from ancient times to the modern world and the basic skillsrequired for the effective study of history.

The content is divided into 4 topics with internal options:

  • investigating history
  • societies and civilisations of the past
  • Aboriginal and Indigenous peoples, colonisation and contact history
  • shaping the modern world (optional study).

History (Stage 5) has been designed to provide students with an understanding of Australian history and civics and citizenship. Students will also develop the skills required for the effective study of history.

  • Australia to 1914
  • Australia and World War I
  • Australia between the wars
  • Australia and World War II
  • Australia in the Vietnam War era
  • Changing rights and freedoms
  • People power and politics in the post-war period
  • Australia's social and cultural history in the post-war period

Ancient history

Ancient history is a valuable study for people taking their place in modern society. By offering opportunities to study ancient civilisations comprehensively, it affords perspectives on human society and human behaviour.

It provides knowledge of civilisations which have influenced the ideas, beliefs and values of modern society, while it offers the detachment of distance for assessing these traditions of the ancient world. It fosters the qualities of analysis and judgement and develops skills which enhance the student's personal growth and participation in society.


Geography allows students to develop enjoyment of and interest in the interaction of the physical and human environments. Students will develop geographic knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes in order to engage in the community as informed and active citizens.

What will students learn about?

Global geography consists of four focus areas in which students learn about the geographical processes and human interactions that shape global environments. They also learn about geographical issues and responses to them, including appropriate methods of citizenship for their management.

Students studying the Australian Geography course will learn about the interaction of human and physical geography in a local context. They examine Australia's physical environments and communities and explore how they are changing and responding to change. Students also look at Australia's roles in its region and globally, and how individuals and groups are planning for a better future. An important feature of the Australian Geography course is to allow students to become more informed and active citizens.

What will students learn to do?

Students learn to gather, process and communicate geographical information from a variety of primary and secondary sources. The study of geography also provides opportunities for students to learn to use a wide range of geographical tools including ICT. Geographical tools such as maps, graphs, statistics, photographs and fieldwork assist students to gather, analyse and communicate geographical information in a range of formats.


Commerce enables young people to develop the knowledge, understanding, skills and values to form a foundation on which they can make sound decisions about consumer, financial, legal, business and employment issues. It develops in students the ability to research information, apply problem-solving strategies and evaluate options in order to make informed and responsible decisions as individuals and as part of the community.

What will students learn about?                          

  • Consumer choice and personal finance: In these topics students learn about responsible spending, saving, borrowing and investment decisions.
  • Government and legal issues: Students will develop an understanding of their legal rights and responsibilities and how laws affect individuals and regulate society.
  • Employment issues: Students will also learn about commercial and legal aspects relating to employment issues, and their rights and responsibilities at work.
  • Optional topics: investing, promoting and selling, e-commerce, global links, towards independence, political involvement, travel, law in action, our economy, community participation, running a business, and a school-developed option.

What will students learn to do?

Commerce promotes critical thinking and the opportunity to participate in the community. Students learn to identify, research and evaluate options when making decisions on how to solve consumer problems and issues. They will develop research and communication skills, including the use of ICT, building on the skills they have developed in their mandatory courses.

They will also develop skills in personal financial management and advocacy for rights and responsibilities in the workplace.