Before you start
Before you begin your actual work, read through this entire process and take a look at the evaluation rubric. This will help to give you a ‘big picture’ of the job ahead and of how your work will be evaluated. The process to complete the WebQuest has 3 steps.
Step 1: The Petrov Affair 1954
Part A: Who were the Petrov Affair Key Players? Research the Affair and develop a chart of the Key Players.
Part B: Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Report on the Affair from the perspectives of an Historian, a Journalist and a Social Commentator.
Step 2: The Royal Commission
Step 3: Conclusion and Recommendations
Step 1: The Petrov Affair
Part A: Who were the Petrov Affair Key Players?
1. Get a copy of The Petrov Affair Key Players chart.
2. Before you begin to gather information about each of the characters, make sure that you have an understanding of the complicated events leading up to the Petrov Affair in 1954. Review any class notes you have taken and any other material (e.g. textbook) relevant to this event.
EVERYONE should read the information on the following websites:
- The Petrov Affair – Old Parliament House
- The National Archives National History Challenge Essay Winner – ‘Conflicts and resolutions arising from the Petrov defections’ by Nicola Connell, 2003
- ‘Mrs Petrov’s death brings bizarre affair to end’ by Robert Manne, The Age, 27 July, 2002
- Wikipedia entry – The Petrov Affair
- Discovering Democracy – Topic 3: ‘Movements against Communism 1951–4. Read ‘Why Communism was feared?’ and pp.130 – 133 of ‘Australia’s Democracy: A Short History’ by John Hirst found at PDF pp128-140
3. Complete the Petrov Affair Key Players chart
Part B: Extra! Extra! Read all about it!
1. Students get into groups of three.
2. Each student is allocated a role: Historian, Journalist or Social Commentator.
3. Click on your role to see the tasks that have to be completed:
4. After you have completed your tasks within your roles (Historian, Journalist or Social Commentator), you are to work together to create the front page of an newspaper from the early 21st century commemorating the anniversary of the Petrov Affair of 1954.
5. You will present this front page to the class and display it in the classroom for comment and discussion.
Step 2: The Royal Commission
1. Before you commence this section of the webquest, please go to the following sites to obtain information about the 1954 Royal Commission:
- National Archives of Australia factsheet: The Royal Commission on Espionage, 1954-55.
- Royal Commissions' Act of Australia
2. Divide into 10 groups of three. There will be 9 Witness groups and 1 Royal Commissioners group.
In your group, your job is to prepare your character to be a witness at the Royal Commission. Each Character will have a Brains Trust and/or an Exhibit Specialist depending on the number of students in the class.
A witness is someone who has first-hand knowledge about a crime or dramatic event through their senses (e.g. seeing or hearing), or through being involved. They can confirm that it happened. A witness who has seen the event at first-hand is known as an eye-witness.
The Witness group
You will be allocated either the:
- Brains Trust; or
- Exhibit Specialist.
Your job will be to portray the character when it is time for testimony to be presented.
A testimony is a form of evidence that is obtained from a witness who makes a solemn statement or declaration of fact. A testimony may be oral or written.
You must familiarise yourself with the character very well – especially the additional information for the Royal Commission (see the Secret Area in each Character profile).
You will be expected to use direct quotations from primary documents as part of your testimony.
As you will be a witness, you will be expected to:
- prepare notes describing yourself and your role in the Petrov Affair – this is your testimony: and
- during the Royal Commission your answers to questions from the Royal Commissioners will be about the espionage activities that you have been involved in.
The Brains Trust
Your job will be to assist the Character to help him/her in the delivery of their testimony. You might be asked to step into the Character’s role at any time. You will have additional material ready in case the Royal Commissioners ask questions that the Character has not prepared for in his/her testimony.
The Exhibit Specialist
Your job will be to put together the exhibits that will be presented along with the oral testimony of your character. As you look at the websites for your character, keep in mind that you will need primary documents and images to include in your presentation. Save images and documents that might apply to your character. This exhibit should include at least 3 of the following:
- photographs (Picture Australia (Now Trove) – enter the term ‘Petrov.’ Beware! Not all the photograph captions are correct. Check the Old Parliament House Petrov Affair website for character identification);
- excerpts from memoirs;
- other important documents; and
- an ‘artefact’ (a re-creation of an object closely associated with the testimony of your character).
You will work closely with the other members of your group to choose the items that will be entered as exhibits, but it is up to you to decide what will be displayed. You may put them into a brief (2–3 slide) PowerPoint presentation, or you may mount them onto a poster to pass among the Royal Commissioners. Whatever method you choose, your exhibits should include descriptions.
3. You are to investigate one of the following characters. Your teacher will allocate characters for each group:
- Evdokia Petrova
- Vladimir Petrov
- R G Menzies
- Dr H V Evatt
- Colonel Charles Spry
- B A Santamaria
- Rupert Lockwood
- Betty Searle
- Dr Michael Bialoguski
4. Your assessment on this segment of your work will be based on how well you are able to convey basic information, respond to questioning, and represent your character.
After the testimony is presented, hand in for evaluation: * character’s testimony (include quotations from primary documents used during presentation); and * printout of exhibits, mounted exhibits or PowerPoint slides used.
5. Note: not all of these people came before the Royal Commission on Espionage 1954. However, they have been included here as they all had a role in the Petrov Affair and its effects on Australia in the 1950s.
The Royal Commissioners group
You are one of the four Royal Commissioners in this Royal Commission. A detailed account of your job as a Royal Commissioner can be obtained here.
Holding the Royal Commission
Setting up: on the due date assigned by your teacher, the class will hold the Royal Commission. This entails setting up the class with the four Royal Commissioners (three students and teacher) at the front, and a place where the character/witness can give their statements and be questioned.
Order of Proceedings
- Chief Royal Commissioner (teacher) delivers opening remarks.
- Royal Commissioners call witnesses in turn.
- Each witness team will present their Character’s testimony and be prepared to answer any questions posed by the Royal Commissioners.
- After your testimony, you will take on another role! When you are not presenting your own group’s character/witness, you will act as a reporter, listening carefully to the testimony of all the other characters/witnesses. You should take notes to help you remember what was said. You will need this information for the class discussion.
- Royal Commissioners deliver findings.