“Missing” by Elaine Mayer, OAM

Lesson idea:

Read the poem “Missing” by Elaine Mayer OAM with your class and discuss the following:

  • What important issue was the author highlighting in her poem “Missing”?
  • What poetic devices or language features has the author used to emphasise her message?
  • What is the tone of the poem and how does it change from start to end?
  • This poem was written in 2009, what changes have occurred since this time? / How and when did the flag get a permanent place upon the bridge?
  • Why is having the Aboriginal flag permanently on the Sydney Harbour Bridge so significant?
  • Many people contributed to highlighting the need for this change to occur, one such leader was Cheree Toka. Investigate how Cheree used her voice to create change. Explore the challenges she faced along the way and any obstacles she had to overcome to fight for change.
  • Now that the flag is no longer “missing” from the bridge, write your own response poem that highlights the significance of the flag permanently flying on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.


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Many of these resources and activities have been developed in consultation with NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) to ensure that the program meets NSW curriculum outcomes for Stages 3, 4 & 5.