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Galston High School

Galston High School

Achieving Excellence - Inspiring Success

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Human society and its environment

In human society and its environment (HSIE), the subjects of history and geography are mandatory from Kindergarten to Year 10, where students study specific historical and geographical concepts and skills. 

In HSIE, students explore varied subjects in human society and its environment to learn about history, geography, people, societies and culture.

Students also have an opportunity to learn more about people and the societies and environments in which they live through elective subjects.

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. 

In Year 11 and 12, students can choose from a range of HSIE courses. These include:

  • Aboriginal Studies
  • Ancient History
  • Ancient History Life Skills
  • Business Studies
  • Economics
  • Geography
  • History Extension
  • Legal Studies
  • Modern History
  • Modern History Life Skills
  • Society and Culture.


Commerce is an interesting and practical subject that provides students with the knowledge, understanding and skills to help them make decisions on consumer, financial, business, legal and employment decisions. It is a very useful and relevant course that has been developed to suit the needs and interests of all students.

The students are given the opportunity to use the knowledge they are learning in class and apply it to a practical situation. Activities include:

  • taste testing
  • visiting a retail centre
  • developing a product
  • running a business
  • visiting a local business
  • participating in the ASX Schools Share Market Game
  • observing various law courts.

Download the commerce poster (PDF 682KB) for more information.

Elective geography

This course has been designed to suit the needs and interests of the student. Elective geography allows the student to explore areas of physical and human geography that are very interesting, topical and not studied in the mandatory Geography course. For all the fascinating details, download the elective geography poster (PDF 349KB).

Elective history

Elective history is available for students in Year 9 and Year 10 who love history and want to find out more than what is on offer in the mandatory course. We follow your interests and delve into history mysteries such as the John Fitzgerald Kennedy assassination, disasters like the sinking of the Titanic and world issues such as terrorism.

Download the elective history poster (PDF 101BKB) for more details.

Modern history

Modern history is one of the most interesting NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) subjects as it studies many modern revolutions and wars and how they have impacted the world today. Through studying modern history students will understand the events that have influenced and impacted our world in both positive and negative ways.

For more information on this fascinating topic, download the modern history poster (PDF 1476KB).

Ancient history

In the senior school, history allows our students to find out about the forces that have shaped our social and physical worlds. Through the study of ancient history, students learn both about the interaction of societies and the impact of individuals and groups on ancient events and ways of life. For more information about exactly what we study, download the ancient history poster (PDF 533KB).

History extension

History extension is a one unit course that is studied in Year 12. It is for students who love history and want to be challenged intellectually. It is a university style course, similar to the old 3 unit courses that your parents will be familiar with.

History extension is divided into three key components:

  • Section 1 is 'what is history?' and explores historiography, inlcluding, the writing of history and how it has developed over time including historians such as Herodotus, the Venerable Bede, Von Ranke, Karl Marx and Keith Windshuttle. 
  • Section 2 is a major historical investigation of your choosing. This is internally marked and not sent to NESA.
  • Section 3 is a case study where we apply what we have learnt to a particular area of history. For the last few years we have been investigating Elizabeth I.

The classes for History extension are held offline; either before or after school depending on the majority vote of the students.