The study of Geography draws on students’ curiosity about the diversity of the world’s places and their peoples, cultures and environments. It enables students to appreciate the complexity of our world and the diversity of its environments, economies and cultures. Students can use this knowledge to promote a more sustainable way of life and awareness of social and spatial inequalities.

In the senior secondary years, Geography provides a structured, disciplinary framework to investigate and analyse a range of challenges and associated opportunities facing Australia and the global community. These challenges include rapid change in biophysical environments, the sustainability of places, dealing with environmental risks and the consequences of international integration.

Geography as a discipline values imagination, creativity and speculation as modes of thought. It provides a systematic, integrative way of exploring, analysing and applying the concepts of place, space, environment, interconnection, sustainability, scale and change. These principal geographical concepts are applied and explored in depth through unit topics, to provide a deeper knowledge and understanding of the complex processes shaping our world. Taken together, the ability of students to apply conceptual knowledge in the context of an inquiry, and the application of skills, constitute ‘thinking geographically’ – a uniquely powerful way of viewing the world.

The subject builds students’ knowledge and understanding of the uniqueness of places and an appreciation that place matters in explanations of economic, social and environmental phenomena and processes. It also develops students’ knowledge about the interconnections between places. Nothing exists in isolation. Consequently, the subject considers the significance of location, distance and proximity.

Through the study of Geography students develop the ability to investigate the arrangement of biophysical and human phenomena across space in order to understand the interconnections between people, places and environments. As a subject of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Geography studies spatial aspects of human culture using inquiry methods that are analytical, critical and speculative. In doing so, it values imagination and creativity. As a Science, Geography develops an appreciation of the role of the biophysical environment in human life and an understanding of the effects of human activities on environments. As a result, it develops students’ ability to identify, evaluate and justify appropriate and sustainable approaches to the future by thinking holistically and spatially when seeking answers to questions. Students are encouraged to investigate geographical issues and phenomena from a range of perspectives including those of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

In Geography, students investigate geographical issues and phenomena at a variety of scales and contexts. This may include: doing comparative studies at the same scale, studying the same issue or phenomenon at a range of scales, or seeking explanations at a different scale to the one being studied. The ability to perform multiscale and hierarchical analysis is developed in the senior years.

Students apply geographical inquiry through a more advanced study of geographical methods and skills in the senior years. They learn how to collect information from primary and secondary sources such as field observation and data collection, mapping, monitoring, remote sensing, case studies and reports. Fieldwork, in all its various forms, is central to such inquiries as it enables students to develop their understanding of the world through direct experience.

Geography promotes students’ communication abilities by building their skills of spatial and visual representation, and interpretation, through the use of cartographic, diagrammatic, graphical, photographic and multimodal forms. In addition, students communicate their conclusions by traditional written and oral means.


The Senior Secondary Australian Curriculum: Geography aims to develop students’:

  • knowledge and understanding of the nature, causes and consequences of natural and ecological hazards; the challenges affecting the sustainability of places; land cover transformations; and international integration in a range of spatial contexts
  • understanding and application of the concepts of place, space, environment, interconnection, sustainability, scale and change through inquiries into geographical phenomena and issues
  • capacity to be accomplished, critical users of geographical inquiry and skills, and have the ability to think and communicate geographically
  • ability to identify, evaluate and justify alternative responses to the geographical challenges facing humanity, and propose and justify actions taking into account environmental, social and economic factors.