A yearlong project completed as part of Outram School’s Allen Centre extension programme had students creating a precise three-dimensional diorama of the Anzac Cove landscape throughout 2015.
Papier-mâché, paint, sand, steel wool and spiky horse chestnut cases have been used to bring Anzac Cove to life in Outram, Otago.
The yearlong project, completed as part of Outram School’s Allen Centre extension programme, has students creating a precise three-dimensional diorama of the Anzac Cove landscape.
Allan Centre’s Librarian Peggy Stedman thinks the project has been a great opportunity for the students to learn about the important historical site.
“We wanted a hands-on activity for our students that would provide an interesting First World War learning experience,” she said.
Since term one, students have been busy interpreting a wide range of topographical maps and historical photographs of the Gallipoli landscape to help create an accurate scale model. The project began with a grid drawn over an aerial photograph of the Cove, this was then scaled up and transferred to the model’s cardboard base. Elevations of landscape features, including significant sites within the battle zones, were added using bamboo skewers marked at 50 metre intervals. These became the skeleton over which the paper model was shaped – from there the landscape was formed out of crumpled newspaper with brown paper overlaid to get the colour of the terrain.
One of the resources that Peggy and the students found particularly useful and inspiring was the maps and images from Ngā Tapuwae New Zealand First World War Trails, a WW100 legacy project where New Zealand’s story at Gallipoli and on the Western Front is brought to life through captivating audio guides, soldiers' personal stories and historical insights.
“The maps featured in Ngā Tapuwae Gallipoli gave simple and excellent impressions of the terrain,” says Peggy.
For 13-year-old project leader and Outram School student, Ginny Smith, the maps and images on the Ngā Tapuwae website helped her with the accuracy of the diorama.
“I found the maps useful because they gave me a feeling of the distances covered by the soldiers. The photos were good because they showed which cliffs really stood out – the sandstone cliffs and ridges were useful markers in constructing the landscape,” says Ginny.
Ginny has read a lot about the Gallipoli campaign, but this project made it all the more real for her. “It helped me to understand the struggle they had climbing the hills and ridges and the physical challenges they had to overcome because of the steep terrain.”
Ginny has really enjoyed leading the project, even completing some of the more challenging parts. “Getting all the ridges in the correct positions and with the right amount of visual impact was pretty difficult—we did the Sphinx at least three times!” says Ginny.
The diorama has also engaged the students in conversations about the soldiers’ journey up the plateau. “Students discussed what they thought would be better, safer or easier routes to get up to the plateau but then had to revise their thinking as they realise they would be at risk from Turks shooting from the ridges,” says Peggy.
Throughout the school year the students painted the model, added sand to the beaches and sandstone outcrops and vegetation along the ridges, gullies and the plateau. They completed the diorama in term four.
“For our students, this project has kept Gallipoli alive for the whole year, which gives appropriate weight to its significance for New Zealand, especially during the First World War centenary,” says Peggy.
To learn more about this project, visit the Allan Centre Wiki page.