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Reflection questions and activities for 'Elbows in when wrestling sharks'

Clare Deignan |  25 May 2016

Read the article 'Elbows in when wrestling sharks' and answer the following questions. Then share your answers in pairs, small groups or in a classroom discussion.

1. Why do you think Fr Andrew Hamilton used Pat Dodson’s tip on wrestling with sharks as the title of his article? What does ‘elbows in when wrestling sharks’ have to do with Dodson's work in the Senate?

2. Why would knowing your country help you know yourself and what matters?

3. Why do you think Pat Dodson would rather be fishing than give a speech at the Sydney Opera House?

4. What does Dodson mean by thinking into the country and into the land?

5. Do you agree Australians need to get in touch with the sacredness of the country? Why or why not?


1. Think into the land: Spend some time in nature this week. You could go for a walk in a park or just sit in your backyard. As Pat Dodson says, think about people, politics, how Australia is shaped and whatever else pops into your mind. After your finished, write a reflection about your experience. What did you learn? How does taking time to think in nature affect your thoughts?

Share your refection with your class.

2. Australia’s sacredness: Break up into groups of four or five. Imagine an Australia where its citizens understand the sacredness of their land. Write a newscast for this Australia. What would the top stories of the day be? What would parliament be debating? What would businesses be investing in? What events would be occurring? 

You can record your newscast as a radio or TV broadcast. You could also write an edition of a daily newspaper.

Students can present their newscast to the class.

For younger students

Connection with the land: For this activity, students should bring a flat smooth rock and black or coloured sharpie markers. To begin, teachers can bring their students to a quiet place in nature and allow them to ‘sit and think’ for five to ten minutes. Once the time is up students can use their sharpie markers to decorate their rock with symbols, words, an animal or even a natural scene.

After students are finished drawing, they can share about what they drew on their rock and what it means to them.

You can find a ‘How to’ on drawing on rocks at


Topic tags: buildingpeace, indigenousaustralians, socialjustice–australia, men’sspirituality

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