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Production   /  Vanna Morosini

Are You Tougher Than Your Ancestors?

“Are You Tougher than Your Ancestors?” challenges modern kids to match the exploits of a child from Australian history.


Impact areas






  • PRODUCER Vanna Morosini & Donna Andrews



“Are You Tougher than Your Ancestors?” is a fun and immersive living history series that pits the skills of today’s kids against the exploits of children from Australia’s past, to find out how they measure up! Fun and fast paced, the series takes today's kids on a wild ride back through time, where they learn as much about themselves as they do about history. Drawing from our rich indigenous and multicultural heritage, the series challenges stereotypes and allows our kids to experience the past in ways they never imagined. They wrestle with disgusting chores, master mind-bending challenges and perform incredible feats of ingenuity as they get down and dirty walking a mile in the shoes of our ancestors. At the end of each episode we find out whether they were up to the task… and what they discover might just surprise us all!

Support this project

19.97% funded
  • $50,085.00

  • $10,000.00

  • 1

Minimum amount is $ Maximum amount is $





The Vasudhara Foundation $10,000.00

Issue Summary

A short summary of the issue the documentary is addressing

We hope to engage, entertain, surprise and thrill our young audience while offering a wider perspective on Australian history than the one they find in the history books. The series celebrates the shared diversity of our past by uncovering incredible tales about the lives of individuals and communities often absent from our traditional historical narratives. And along the way they learn about the challenges faced by our first female Olympic swimmers, the bravery and resilience of our young Muslim Afghan cameleers, the skill and dedication of our 19th century Chinese acrobats, the remarkable maritime abilities of Eora fisherwomen on Sydney Harbour and the dazzling ball skills of Aboriginal Parndo (football) players, among many others. By asking modern kids to "walk a day" in the shoes of a young person from another era we challenge them to master new skills, take on unfamiliar responsibilities, develop empathy and broaden their understanding of themselves and the world they live in.


What is the impact vision statement of the documentary?

"Are You Tougher than Your Ancestors?" is a fresh and surprising television series designed to engage our target audience of children 8 to 12 years, with a focus on exploring Australia's past through a child's perspective. We are passionate about educating, engaging and inspiring young people to celebrate the rich diversity of Australian history.


What outcomes does the project hope to achieve from making this documentary?

• Through using a fun and experiential story telling style we hope to inspire and excite children to engage with Australian history in new ways
• We want to shift perspectives around Australian culture and identity by celebrating the historical exploits of children from our many Indigenous and multicultural communities, creating a sense of belonging, empathy and social cohesion
• Encourage children to explore the history of their families and local communities, using a “history under your feet” approach that is relatable to our young audience
• Inspire schools and community groups to seek out their own untold stories and investigate the marvellous exploits of their child ancestors!
• Begin a dialogue around the changing nature of childhood and how we can create opportunities for young people to develop independence, resilience and confidence in themselves, make mistakes and learn to trust in their own judgement, while still keeping them safe in our modern, digital world.


How will this documentary achieve its outcomes?

As the project will be broadcast on ABC Me, and distributed through associated online channels and internationally by the Australian Children's Television Foundation (ACTF) we anticipate working with the existing networks of our broadcast and distribution partners to measure the project’s impact by measuring how it connects with our target audience. ACTF’s educational outreach division will create project specific study guides and online materials to widely promote the series to the education sector. In addition, the producers will continue to build on the community partnerships we have already established by holding community screenings, developing social media strategies to enhance engagement, facilitate online opportunities for children and their families to share stories from their family and community history and continue to develop strategic partnerships with organisations that share our mission to excite children about Australian history.


How will partnerships with this project help inform the project development?

The project has undergone two phases of development funded by the ABC, Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF) and the South Australian Film Corporation (SAFC). During the course of this development process we have worked with historical institutions, individuals and community groups to discover and research our story areas, including the acclaimed children’s author Jackie French, Sydney Living Museums, the SA History Trust, SA Migration Museum, Moonta Historical Society, the Hahndorf Academy, SA Museum, The Golden Dragon Museum, Tribal Warrior Sydney, Kaurna Elder Michael O’Brien and Ngarrindjeri Elder Major Moogy Sumner, Sydney Heritage Fleet and Wylie’s Baths Coogee, among many others. Many of these groups have offered us in-kind support during the production process, including access to their living history locations, historical props and the resources of their local community and social networks.

Audience Engagement and Social Impact

What actions does this project hope for its viewers after seeing this film?

1. We hope our series will inspire our young viewers to pick up that history book, visit a museum, or research the achievements of a fabulous ancestor from their family or community and discover a love of history in the process.
2. We hope to spark inter-generational conversations between parents / grandparents and their children, where issues of identity, fairness, justice and equality are discussed, along with questions about how kids in the past managed to entertain themselves without YouTube!
3. Broaden knowledge and awareness of Australia’s Indigenous and multicultural history to foster inclusivity and a sense of belonging amongst all members of our target audience.
4. Celebrate the achievements of women and girls in Australian history, which will encourage modern girls to give something a go… If Wilhelmina Wylie could win an Olympic Medal in 1912 despite all the odds, then they can achieve their goals too!

Measurement and Evaluation

What is the projects indicators for success?

We can measure the success of our impact goals in a number of ways:
1. Measurable metrics of success provided by the ABC and ACTF, who are able to accurately determine how much engagement our target audience has with our project
2. Marketplace success as a measure of the overall audience reach of our series
3. Direct contact with our target audience over online platforms
4. Feedback from schools and communities via ACTF educational outreach programs
5. Consultation with community groups involved in the project about outcomes that they have observed in their communities
6. Measurable results in terms of uptake in children’s activities at museums and historical institutions
7. Response to our project in the media, including social media, by creating dialogue around the issues explored in our series