Follow my Umbrella!

The idea

Every place has a story. Not every story has a voice. Whose story will you tell?

Have you ever been on a walking tour with a guide?  They often have an umbrella they hold up so that the group can easily find them in crowded places.

What if we could have a virtual guide that pops up like an umbrella at places of interest?  What if that guide was available to teachers who were planning excursions around local places?  What if parents wanted to converse with their kids about a war memorial while waiting for the bus?

What problem are we trying to solve?

While our idea began as a seed - tours around local places where students can participate in challenges that help them understand the local area - some educators joined the mix and started throwing around words like interactive, knowledge construction rather than consumption.

Anyone can google their local area and find some facts around point of interest. The recorded facts are usually the dominant histories of a place.  Where is the opportunity for students to ask questions, uncover the hidden stories connected to place or contribute their own stories?

So what if we had an app that lifted the data sets attached to local areas and users could construct the histories of that place.  Work like historians and archaeologists digging deeper into the significance of a place?

Which stories would engage?  We considered the idea of a tour featuring  “Rogues and Villains”  - opening up the dark side of locations and discover the “bad guys”

What about the silenced voices? What about a tour that explored “Disruptive Dames” - women who railed against the system, or had a criminal history.

Whose stories?

We spent quite a while discussing Elizabeth Woolcock. The only woman hanged in Adelaide Gaol.  Read her history and you are alerted immediately to a story with twists and turns, of tragedy and injustice.  So immediately students would be engaging with the story.  But then they can be challenged with primary and secondary sources of information as is required in the Australian Curriculum History. Elizabeth’s confession, a primary source, may not reflect what actually happened.  A historian considers her confession as a her last attempt at redemption in the eyes of the reverend assisting her at the execution. The historian has lobbied for a posthumous pardon as her life was one of struggle with hardship as a child, rejection, spousal abuse and opiate addiction.

Challenging the sources of information and digging deeper into the other sources around an event is important work for historians.

Links to the Australian Curriculum

A big idea in the Australian Curriculum History is understanding cause and effect.  How did the events of Elizabeth’s life lead to her ultimate demise? Why was she sentenced to death when the jury suggested leniency? How interesting that a tradition of laying flowers on her grave survives to this very day.  

Data story

SA History Hub information

This dataset provides information about about points of interest from around South Australia.

Points of interest include:

  • Places
  • Things
  • Organisations
  • Events

Each of these points of interest include a description and a link to the SA History Hub website where you can find more information.

Catherine Manning from the History Trust helped us out with data linked to historical events, places, organisations and things paired with location data.

We are hoping to be able to talk further with the SA History Hub website developer/technical team to see if additional data could be included in these datasets as the site has a wealth of additional information that is presented in structured ways that would be of interest to educators, students, visitors and tour guides.

Access the SA History Hub dataset

Preschool and school locations

This dataset offers the locations of all preschools and schools in South Australia.  The idea behind using this dataset is to support educators who want to do find places of interest near their school to link learning to the local commup::nity.

The original data comes from the Department for Education and Child Development and the team at the Department of Premier and Cabinet have done some additional work on this dataset and shared the revised data at

Online spaces


Team name
Follow my umbrella
State, Territory or Country
Event location
Datasets used
Dataset Name
SA History Hub
Dataset Name
Get Site Information: Sites Location Data DECD (DPC -
Project image
Video URL (YouTube/Vimeo)