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Year 8 English

In preparation for their study of the novel Runner, Year 8 students made use of Virtual Reality (VR) technology in the Learning Centre to explore the streets of Richmond. 

Runner, written by Robert Newton, is set in Richmond in the early 20th century and details the exploits of notorious gangster Squizzy Taylor. Although the technology can’t show what it looked like in Squizzy Taylor’s time, students were able to ‘walk’ down Darlington Parade where he lived, follow the protagonist Charlie’s run along Bridge Road and into the city, and visit some of the city laneways featured in the novel.

Students discussed how these settings impacted on the experiences of the characters and ultimately how the author used setting to depict the poverty and hardship experienced. By understanding the conditions of Richmond, students can also understand how a man like Squizzy Taylor became so influential and how he could be both celebrated and feared by the people in the local area.

This wasn’t just a chance to discuss the setting of the novel, but it was also a great opportunity for the students to experience how VR technology can help us to explore the world around us.


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