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Maitland High School

Maitland High School

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Human Society and Its Environment

‘History is a vast early warning system”. Norman Cousins

‘Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall’. Confucius

‘We are not makers of history. We are made by history”. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again”. Maya Angelou

“I believe that in each of us there is a small piece of history. In one half a page, in another two or three. Together we write the book of time. We each call out our own truth. The nightmare of nuances.” Svetlana Alexievich

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. 

Human Society and its Environment (HSIE) encourages students to investigate and critically analyse the historical and contemporary issues that span the environment, business, the economy, law, and the significant human events from the past.

Our faculty delivers a range of subjects which overlap and interconnect in ways that foster students’ abilities to develop empathy, awareness and understanding of cultural contexts, an appreciation of the value of sustainability, and skills in objectively collating and analysing objective information.

HSIE subjects contain a range of specific practical and literary components which aim to develop the fieldwork, interpretive, and communication skills of students so each young man can effectively engage and positively contribute to their world.

Our staffroom is always available for students who need additional support or have a query and providing substantive and practical feedback is at the core of our philosophy

Subjects Offered

Stage 4 and 5 (Year 7 to 10)

All students in Years 7-10 study History for one semester and Geography for one semester each year. More details can be found under the headings below.

Years 7 and 8 History students study the Ancient World with studies of Ancient Egypt, China, Japan and Medieval Europe.

Years 7 and 8 Geography students cover topics such as Water in the World, Landscapes & Landforms, Interconnections and Place and Liveability.

Students in Year 9 and 10 who particularly enjoy History have the option to select a History Elective (Crimes or Catastrophe or Mysteries and Conspiracies) or Commerce in addition to the mandatory course.

Crimes and Catastrophe

This course focuses on an investigation of a range of crimes and catastrophes throughout ancient and modern times. Students will study and investigate the true story behind some famous criminals and draw conclusions about the available evidence.

Mysteries and Conspiracies

This course focuses on an investigation of a range of mysteries and conspiracies throughout ancient and modern times. Students will investigate various theories behind some famous historical mysteries and conspiracies and draw conclusions using the available evidence.


Commerce assists young people to make sound decisions on consumer, financial, business, legal and employment issues. It develops financial literacy, which enables the participation in the financial world in an informed way and prepares students for living independently, being able to understand the voting system, buying a car and other life skills.


In Years 7-10 student can participate in excursions to local historical sites, create documentaries and museum exhibits. 


  • Anzac Day Commemorations
  • Remembrance Day Commemorations
  • Medieval Day
  • Sydney Jewish Museum Excursion
  • Tut Road Show


Year 11 and 12

Senior students can select from a range of specialised HSIE courses in Year 11 and 12 including:

·         Ancient History

·         Modern History

·         Legal Studies

·         Society and Culture

·         Extension History

·         Geography

·         Business Studies and Retail Services VET


This course focuses on the historical events and personalities of the ancient past. The subject provides insight into the skills of the subject including, historiography, science and archaeology. Ancient History stimulates students’ curiosity and imagination. It enriches their appreciation of humanity by introducing them to a range of cultures and beliefs as well as to the origins and influences of ideas, values and behaviours that are still relevant in the modern world.


Offers to learn from the planning of a small business to the management of operations, marketing, finance and human resources in large businesses. Contemporary business issues and case studies are embedded in the course to provide a stimulating and relevant framework for students to apply to problems encountered in the business environment.


Based on their study of Modern or Ancient History, students can engage in extension studies based on the theory of historical research. Students also complete a historical research task.


Continues to build on Junior Geography and provides students with opportunities to investigate contemporary geographical issues within spatial and ecological dimensions, at increased depth. The course also examines and explores the importance of effective management strategies and actions that can be taken to shape societies of the future. A significant component of Senior Geography is the use of fieldwork and case studies to help students develop their knowledge and understanding of biophysical and human geography issues.


This course focuses on how the law is generated, and how it is structured and operates in Australian and international contexts. Learning about our legal system will allow students to investigate the way our society operates and the influences that shape it.


This course focuses on the historical issues and events of the contemporary world. The subject instils analytical skills in a variety of available source materials. Modern History enables students to trace the historical background of contemporary issues and to explore the significance of individuals, events and ideas. It equips students with knowledge, understanding and skills to help them examine and make sense of the world around them.

STAGE 6 Society and Culture

In the study of Society and Culture, students study three contemporary topics at a local, national and global level. They seek to discover how our modern society is changing and why, whilst also learning how societies are connected and interdependent.

HSIE Staff

Mrs Matthews (HT):

Mrs Gillian Anderson:

Ms Olivia Bell:

Mr Ryan Spinks:

Mrs Kirstyn Taylor:

Mr Ryan Ewing:

Mrs Young:

Mrs Zok: