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Unit of study_

HSTY2631: Sin City? A History of Sydney

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

From its beginnings as a convict colony, Sydney had to deal with an unsavoury reputation. This course explores the history of the city we live in, its people and its places. Distinct communities and neighbourhoods emerged as battles were fought over who belonged in Sydney, and how they should behave. Topics include Aboriginal resistance, convict scandals, poverty and plague, the 'Razor Gang Wars', Mardi Gras protests, the 'Emerald City' excesses of the 1980s, and the Cronulla riots.

Unit details and rules

Unit code HSTY2631
Academic unit History
Credit points 6
12 credit points at 1000 level in History or 12 credit points at 1000 level in Ancient History or 12 credit points at 1000 level in Socio-legal Studies
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator James Dunk,
Lecturer(s) James Dunk,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Participation Tutorial participation
10% - n/a
Outcomes assessed: LO1
Final exam (Take-home extended release) Type E final exam Exam
Take-home extended release
30% Formal exam period
Due date: 04 Dec 2020 at 17:00
48 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Assignment Tutorial paper: Walking Exercise
10% Week 06
Due date: 02 Oct 2020 at 17:00

Closing date: 30 Nov 2020
500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO6
Assignment Research essay bibliography
5% Week 07
Due date: 16 Oct 2020 at 17:00

Closing date: 30 Nov 2020
250 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Research essay outline
5% Week 07
Due date: 16 Oct 2020 at 17:00

Closing date: 30 Nov 2020
250 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Research essay
40% Week 11
Due date: 13 Nov 2020 at 17:00

Closing date: 13 Dec 2020
2500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6
Type E final exam = Type E final exam ?

Assessment summary

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas. 

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a High distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a Distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.


For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Stories of the City: I Sin City? II Barani-Yesterday Lecture (2 hr)  
Stories of the City Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 02 Crime and Punishment: I Swindlers and Rogues II Rebels and Rebellions Lecture (2 hr)  
Crime and Punishment Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 03 Making Sydney: I Jobs and Growth II Status Anxiety Lecture (2 hr)  
Making Sydney Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 04 All Things Fall Apart: I Madness in Sydney II On Death and History Lecture (2 hr)  
All Things Fall Apart Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 05 Self-Presentation: I Sidere Mens Eadem Mutato II Push and Panic Lecture (2 hr)  
Self-Presentation Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 06 The Undercity: I Bohemians and Noir II Sex Lives Lecture (2 hr)  
Walking Tour Exercise Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 08 Interwar Stories: I Razor Gangs II Flappers Lecture (2 hr)  
Interwar Stories Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 09 Living Through Crisis: I The Great Depression II Wartime Sydney Lecture (2 hr)  
Living Through Crisis Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 10 Ecological Histories: I Harbourside, Riverside II Parks and Recreation Lecture (2 hr)  
Ecological Histories Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 11 New Visions of the City: I Migration Nation II Green Bans Lecture (2 hr)  
New Visions of the City Tutorial (1 hr)  
Week 12 Present Tense: I Riot and Excess II Smoke, Statues & Lockdown Lecture (2 hr)  
Present Tense Tutorial (1 hr)  

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: According to Faculty Board Resolutions, students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences are expected to attend 90% of their classes. If you attend less than 50% of classes, regardless of the reasons, you may be referred to the Examiner’s Board. The Examiner’s Board will decide whether you should pass or fail the unit of study if your attendance falls below this threshold.
  • Lecture recording: Most lectures (in recording-equipped venues) will be recorded and may be made available to students on the LMS. However, you should not rely on lecture recording to substitute your classroom learning experience.
  • Preparation: Students should commit to spend approximately three hours’ preparation time (reading, studying, homework, essays, etc.) for every hour of scheduled instruction.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. demonstrate an understanding of the history of Sydney between the late eighteenth and early twenty-first centuries
  • LO2. demonstrate an understanding of a variety of approaches to interpreting the past, in particular spatial history, social history, cultural history, histories of crime and deviance and gender history
  • LO3. demonstrate familiarity with identifying and interpreting written, oral, visual, digital and material primary sources and secondary materials such as monographs, scholarly articles, websites and documentaries
  • LO4. examine historical issues by undertaking research that begins with a problem, establishes its historical context, and uses methodologies chosen from the key disciplines outlined in point one
  • LO5. analyse historical evidence, scholarship and changing representations of Sydney and its history, using the skills of sifting through information to weigh its significance and close reading of various texts
  • LO6. construct an evidence-based argument or narrative in audio, digital, oral, visual or written form according to the options laid out in assignments.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

Some changes to course content and delivery have been made since this unit was last offered, in line with changing staff and to respond to conditions imposed during the pandemic. These changes incorporate student feedback about preferred learning modes under these conditions.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.