Head of Department: Matthew Lloyd

Year 9


The Stage 5 Elective course for Year 9 is a practical, student-centred course. Students study both the physical and human elements of Geography. There is an overnight fieldwork trip to the Illawarra including a variety of exciting and pertinent activities such as canoeing on the Minnamurra River, a walk through the rainforest, snorkelling near the river’s end, a dairy farm visit and a visit to the Jamberoo Action Park. The Stage 5 Elective course for Year 10 is a different, stand-alone course. A precis of the course content is outlined below for comparison purposes.

The Year 9 topics include oceanography, catchment geography, town planning/infrastructure and a study of chocolate as a primary crop/product. There is plenty of scope for students to explore topics of interest further.

The knowledge and understanding explored in Year 9 Elective Geography includes:

• Catchment Management (including the Minnamurra Fieldtrip)
• Oceanography
• The Geography of Primary Production – with a focus on Cocoa to Chocolate
• Infrastructure/Town Planning (including model building options) - with focus on some of the world’s greatest infrastructure projects such as the Millau Viaduct in France
• Sustainable Futures – including Sustainable Sydney

The skills to be engaged with in Year 9 Elective Geography include:
• Oral presentation skills, guided inquiry, small group work
• Development of written expression skills
• Geographic skills reinforced and used in the context of case studies
• Team building envisioning-model-building infrastructure unit

The ICT aspects of Year 9 Elective Geography include:
• Relevant internet work – enhancing research skills, be a “Super Searcher”!
• Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – spatial analysis
• Google Earth Pro, ArcView On-line and NSW Globe
• Interactive on-line fieldwork activities
• Simulation games

The Fieldwork students engage in during Year 9 Elective Geography consist of:
• Rainforest to Sea to the Land - Illawarra/Jamberoo Fieldtrip (two nights)
• Sustainable Living – Kimbriki Resource Recovery Centre – Ingleside and Narrabeen Lakes

Year 10 Elective Course Outline
1. We’re On Fire! – a study of the Mt Gosper fire, our area and how fire ready we are.
2. Poles Apart/A View to a Krill! – a look at Polar regions with a stop at the Equator on the way between the two poles.
3. Run Your Own Race – Using the Transcontinental Bike Race ( and the Darling River to investigate transects.
4. United Nations? – looking at world politics, political tension and conflict, conflict resolution, with a “Pick Your Own Conflict” investigative study.

Assessment Structure

The Year 9 Geography Assessment Program includes:

  • A Catchment Studies and Oceanography fieldwork report based on the Illawarra Fieldwork with some short answer questions regarding the Oceanography topic.
  • The second task regards Primary Production wherein students prepare an ICT presentation for delivery in class. The students also complete some short answer questions.
  • Task 3 pertains to Weather and Climate as an in-class test.
  • The final assessment is the Semester 2 Examination; a written examination of geographical skills learnt throughout the year and on topics studied in the second half of the year.


Year 11

Preliminary and HSC Course

The Preliminary course refines students’ knowledge and understanding about spatial and ecological dimensions. It uses enquiry methodologies to investigate the characteristics of our world through fieldwork, geographical skills and study of contemporary geographical issues.

The HSC course enables students to understand and appreciate geographical perspectives about the world. The case studies focus on biophysical and human processes, interactions and trends through the application of enquiry methodologies involving fieldwork.

Through their studies, students should understand:
- The fragile beauty of the planet and the importance of ecologically sustainable development
- The geographic processes that produce diverse landscapes and ecosystems
- That communities and environments change over time
- The need for geographic outcomes that ensure social justice and equity

Main Topics

Preliminary Course - 2 Topics:

1. Biophysical Interactions

Biophysical Interactions involves study of how atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biosphere, function and interact. It also involves study of an environmental issue related to one of the components in a coastal context. Students will visit the Myall Coast overnight to conduct two days of fieldwork.

2. Global Challenges 

Topics covered will include:
- Population Geography
- Development Geography
- Natural Resource Use

HSC Course - 3 Topics

- Ecosystems At Risk
- Urban Places
- People and Economic Activity

Ecosystems At Risk studies:
- How ecosystems function
- Their vulnerability/resilience
- The need to manage them effectively
- An evaluation of management strategies

There are two case studies:
- Bicentennial Park Intertidal Wetlands, Homebush Bay - including fieldwork.
- The Great Barrier Reef.

Urban Places studies:
- World cities and their place in the global network
- The nature of megacities and challenges of living in them
- Urban dynamics in Sydney incorporating fieldwork to Pyrmont
- Strategies for Sydney’s Ecologically Sustainable Development

People and Economic Activity studies:
- The nature and spatial patterns of The Global Wine Industry, factors explaining these patterns.
- An economic enterprise at a local level - participating in fieldwork to the Hunter Valley.

Jobs for Geographers 

More and more, students with geographical skills are highly sought after. Hear what Royal Society Director, Professor Joe Smith has to say about why you should choose Geography.

Assessment Structure

Task 1: Biophysical Interactions Test Stimulus-based short answer questions referring to the biophysical components that make Sydney what it is.

Task 2: Senior Geography Project investigation of an issue that involves designing and conducting geographical research; both primary and secondary

Task 3: Semester 2 Examination formal written examination of the geographical skills learnt throughout the year and the topics studied in the Preliminary Course. Includes multiple choice, short answers and extended response.