J J Cahill Memorial High School logo

J J Cahill Memorial High School

J J Cahill Memorial High School

Honour - Excellence - Responsibility - Opportunity

Telephone02 9669 5118


Stage 5

Stage 5 HSIE Overview

At J J Cahill Memorial High School we have chosen to semesterise Stage 5 History and Geography. This has given us the capacity to build the skills and knowledge required for future study. By dedicating time to each subject we ensure that students are equipped with deep knowledge and deep understanding of content which leads to high expectations and a marked growth in engagement in classrooms. This decision has been carried through Stage 4 HSIE as well in order to create 21st Century Learners and prepare students for Stage 6 study. 


Commerce provides the knowledge, skills, understanding and values that form the foundation on which young people make sound decisions on consumer, financial, business, legal and employment issues. Students gain greater competence in problem-solving and decision-making by evaluating the range of consumer, financial, business, legal and employment strategies. 100 or 200 hour courses are available.

A 100 hour course will run for one year – students complete a minimum of two core topics and a minimum of three optional topics.

A 200 hour course will run for two years – students complete four core topics and a minimum of four optional topics.

Core Topics include:

  • Consumer and Financial Decisions
  • The Economic and Business Environment
  • Employment and Work Futures
  • Law, Society and Political Involvement

Optional Topics include:

  • Our Economy
  • Investing
  • Promoting and Selling
  • Running a Business
  • Law in Action
  • Travel
  • Towards Independence
  • School-developed option 


In Stage 5 Geography, students build on their knowledge from Stage 4 about the features and characteristics of places and environments. They begin to analyse the connections between different people, places and environments explaining patterns of human societies. Students also compare changing environments and suggest reasons for and possible consequences of these changes.

Year 9: Australia’s Physical and Human Geography

Topics include:

  • Sustainable Biomes
  • Changing Places

Year 10: Management Issues for a Successful Australia  

Topics include:

  • Environmental Change and Management
  • Human Wellbeing


By the end of Stage 5, students describe, explain and assess the historical forces and factors that shaped the modern world and Australia. They sequence and explain the significant patterns of continuity and change in the development of the modern world and Australia. Students must study overviews, core topics and one option per year.

Year 9: The Making of the Modern World

Students investigate the history of the making of the modern world from 1750 to 1945. It was a period of industrialisation and rapid change in the ways people lived, worked and thought. 

Topics include:

  • Overview – The Making of the Modern World  
  • Depth Study 1 – Making a Better World (optional)
  • Depth Study 2 – Australia and Asia (optional)  
  • Depth Study 3 – Australians at War: WWI & WWII (core)

 Explore Stage 6 courses

Year 10: The Modern World and Australia  

Students will examine the reasons for Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War and the social, political and cultural changes that resulted from it. Students will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of the experiences of different cultural and social groups in Australia during the 20thcentury and their struggle for recognition and civic rights.

Topics include:

  • Overview – The Modern World and Australia  
  • Depth Study 4 – Rights and Freedoms (core)
  • Depth Study 5 – The Globalising World (option)
  • Depth Study 6 – School Developed Topic [Holocaust] (option)