Suggested Reading List
A Commonwealth of Thieves, The Improbable Birth of Australia
Author: Thomas Keneally
Description: With drama and flair, novelist Keneally illuminates the birth of New South Wales in 1788, richly evoking the social conditions in London, the miserable sea voyage and the desperate conditions of the new colony. His tale revolves around Arthur Phillips, the ambitious (and bland) captain in the Royal Navy who would become the first governor of New South Wales. You may be familiar with Keneally as the author of the acclaimed work (made into an equally-renowned film) "Schindler's List".
A Complete Guide to Reptiles of Australia
Author: Steve Wilson
Description: A comprehensive account of the 800 species of Australian reptiles, grouped by family. Each entry includes a distribution map, notes on habitat, range and conservation status. Covering crocodiles, sea turtles, freshwater turtles, geckos, flat-footed lizards, skinks, dragons, goannas, blind snakes, pythons, file snakes, colubrid snakes, terrestrial elapids, sea snakes, and, sea kraits.
Author: Wally Caruana
Description: This well illustrated survey of Aboriginal art, ancient and modern, focuses on the spiritual and geographic sources of art and ritual traditions in Australia. It covers the range of art from all parts of the continent, including a chapter on the Wandjina rock art of the Kimberley region. The concise text is augmented by 187 well produced black-and-white and color illustrations.
Author: Stephen Muecke
Description: A lively illustrated overview of the culture and history of the Aborigines. The authors explore how the Aborigines came to be in Australia, their rituals and Dreamings, and the importance of kin in their social structures. With a chapter on the atrocious treatment at the hands of white settlers and the pervasive racial prejudice that remained enshrined in the Australian constitution until 1967. The final section deals with the massive indigenous cultural renaissance over the past four decades, and discusses how Aboriginal art - whether Central Desert acrylic art, batik, contemporary urban painting, sculpture or traditional bark painting - has become a flagship for Australian culture.
Description: This large folded map of Australia, at a scale of 1:3,500,000, includes national parks, reserves and roads, all clearly marked. Two Sides. 34x40 inches.
Australia, A Traveler's Literary Companion
Author: Robert Ross
Description: Arranged geographically, this collection of mostly local writers is an excellent overview of the cultures, geography and mindset of Australia. It includes stories by Patrick White, Peter Carey and other luminaries, as well as transcriptions of several aboriginal myths.
Australia, An Ecotraveler's Guide
Author: Hannah Robinson
Description: A handbook and guide to wildlife, habitats and travel in Australia with 400 color photographs and excellent descriptive information on birds, mammals and other creatures. Organized geographically, each section includes suggested places to visit, national parks and reserves, maps and sidebars on habitats, flora and fauna.
Australia: The East, Travellers’ Wildlife Guides
Author: Les Beletsky
Description: A wonderfully comprehensive guide to the plant and animal life of eastern Australia. This colorful book features illustrations of 650 commonly encountered fish, reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds and special sections on the Great Barrier Reef and eastern Australian and Tasmanian wildlife parks and reserves.
Author: Pocket Naturalist
Description: A fold-up, laminated card featuring color drawings and short descriptions of commonly encountered Australian birds.
Author: James Kavanaugh • Raymond Leung (Illustrator)
Description: This illustrated fold-out guide features almost 150 species of Australian animals. Laminated for durability; pocket-size for quick reference in the field.
Bradt Australian Wildlife
Author: Stella Martin
Description: A guide not just to kangaroo and koala, this compact, illustrated survey, featuring 250 color photographs, takes in habitats, parks and conservation, marsupials, birds and bats.
Captain James Cook
Author: Richard Hough
Description: A vividly written narrative of the life and three great voyages of Captain Cook. This fine book includes a gripping account of his discoveries throughout the Pacific and his demise in the Sandwich Islands.
Author: Tim Flannery
Description: An ode to the kangaroo in all their splendid diversity and oddity. Revisiting his early love of kangaroo fossils, Flannery weaves engaging tales of his adventures on the trails of marsupials past and present with his travels and encounters with eccentric scientists and Aborigines.
Cronin's Key Guide to Australian Mammals
Author: Leonard Cronin
Description: An indispensable guide to Australia's fascinating monotremes, marsupials, and placental mammals. This book, the third in the Cronin's Key Guide series, is packed with information about the behavior, development, food, and habitat of Australia's remarkable mammals.
Cultural Atlas of Australia, New Zealand & the South Pacific
Author: Richard Nile & Christian Clerk
Description: This handsome volume weaves together history, geography, archaeology, and the arts, covering the Australasian region from prehistory up to the founding of the modern nations. Features hundreds of illustrations.
Culture Smart! Australia
Author: Barry Penney
Description: A concise, no-nonsense guide to local customs, etiquette and culture with a short overview of the land and people along with practical travel advice.
Daisy Bates in the Desert: A Woman's Life Among the Aborigines
Author: Julia Blackburn
Description: In this wonderfully original biography, tBlackburn recreates the life of Daisy Bates (1861-1951), who abandoned her comfortable surroundings in 1913 to live for 30 years in the wilderness. It opens memorably "There was once a woman who lived in the desert" -- setting an appropriate tone for a book which artfully combines biography, fiction and history. Blackburn consulted the archives and interviewed contemporaries to create this absorbing portrait of a fascinating character.
Dirt Music, A Novel
Author: Tim Winton
Description: Among Australia's finest writers, Tim Winton fashions powerful and elegant tales set within the arid outback of Western Australia. An alcoholic mother and a down-on-his luck poacher are the protagonists of this recent novel, where landscape and nature play just as much a role as the characters themselves.
Eyewitness Guide Sydney
Author: Eyewitness Guides
Description: This superb guide to Sydney features color photography, dozens of excellent neighborhood maps and a district-by-district synopsis of the city's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry.
Eyewitness Guides Australia
Author: Eyewitness Guides
Description: A compact guide to sites, attractions and places throughout Australia featuring excellent maps and hundreds of full color photographs and site diagrams. With select recommendations on where to eat and stay.
Field Guide to the Birds of Australia
Author: Ken Simpson • Nicholas Day
Description: A handbook and field guide to Australia's birds with 2,000 vivid color illustrations, each accompanied by a brief description and revised range map. This more compact seventh edition features 16 new or revised color plates, new maps and condensed information.
Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia
Author: Peter Menkhorst • Frank Knight (Illustrator)
Description: A comprehensive guide to 376 species of kangaroos, koalas, bandicoots, wombats, deer, seals, whales and other mammals of Australia featuring full color illustrations by Frank Knight. Third edition
Fishwatcher’s Field Guide: Great Barrier Reef
Author: Idaz Greenberg
Description: A double-sided, laminated card covering the reef fish of Australia, Papua New Guinea and the tropical Pacific.
Fodor's Exploring Australia
Author: Michael Ivory
Description: This excellent up-to-date guide will take you Down Under with ease and style. Includes maps, illustrations and unusual information on features of cultural, historical and natural interest.
Great Southern Landings: An Anthology of Antipodean Travel
Author: Jan Bassett
Description: This eclectic and quirky anthology collects nearly 100 excerpts from various writers who have left their impressions of actual visits to the Antipodes in books and journals, while others, travelling only in their minds, left accounts of imaginary voyages to distant utopias. The contributors include Jonathan Swift, Jules Verne, Joseph Conrad, Kenneth Clark, Charles Darwin, Robin Hanbury-Tenison, Herbert Hoover, Anthony Eden, Anthony Trollope, Mark Twain, Bruce Chatwin, Jan Morris, Harold Larwood, Germaine Greer, and Peter Conrad. A helpful introduction is given to each extract and author.
Author: Adrian Hyland
Description: The second Emily Tempest investigation set in the Outback. Emily has taken a job as a police officer in northern Australia where, against the wishes of her supervisor, she investigates the death of a scientist she believes was murdered because of his controversial theories.
In A Sunburned Country
Author: Bill Bryson
Description: Bill Bryson revels in Australia's eccentric characters, dangerous flora and fauna, and other oddities. As has become his custom, he effortlessly imparts much fact-filled history in this wildly funny book. Included at the end is a short bibliography. This book is published as "Down Under" in Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.
Author: Adrian Hyland
Description: The Ned Kelly Award-winning first Emily Tempest investigation set in the Australia. Emily, a half-white, half-Aboriginal woman returns to her hometown in the Outback only to find that the tribe's elderly leader has been murdered. Emily soon finds herself embroiled in investigations, both into the crime and into her own ambivalent feelings toward her heritage.
Author: Sally Morgan
Description: Sally Morgan artfully evokes aboriginal culture and its complicated history in colonial Australia in this deeply moving memoir of three generations. Particularly moving is Morgan's account of discovering her Aborigine heritage as a teenager in Perth.
Reefscape, Reflections on the Great Barrier Reef
Author: Rosaleen Love
Description: An ecology and history of the Great Barrier Reef, including its human inhabitants (who run the gamut from pirates to naturalists). Rosaleen Love employs science, anthropology and purple prose in this meditative account.
Author: Bruce Chatwin
Description: Rory Stewart provides the introduction to this 25th anniversary edition of Bruce Chatwin's celebrated travelogue, which is as much about its gifted author - and the meaning of travel - as about the Aboriginal people and their ways of life. Chatwin transforms a journey through the Outback into an exhilarating, semi-fictional meditation on our place in the world.
The Bone is Pointed
Author: Arthur Upfield
Description: This entry in the Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte series of mysteries finds the half-Aborigine detective in the place he knows best, the Australian outback, where he is investigating the disappearance of a local scoundrel. Upfield, known for his clever plots and evocative descriptions of the landscapes and peoples of Australia, wrote dozens of mysteries between 1929 and 1966.
The Fatal Shore
Author: Robert Hughes
Description: A celebrated social history, both scholarly and entertaining. Hughes traces the fate of those who were transported to the penal colonies of Australia between 1787 and 1868 in this engaging popular account, drawn from the experiences of the colonists themselves. A precursor to the gulags and prison camps of the 20th century, the British penal colonies in Australia are an oft-forgotten experiment in 19th century social reform and colonization. While the colonies were concentrated mainly in small coastal sections of New South Wales and Tasmania, the book helps elucidate how this first chapter in their history was the most vital factor in defining the early Australian character.
The Happy Isles of Oceania
Author: Paul Theroux
Description: Here's Theroux at his wickedly funny and open-minded best. The peripatetic author flies off to Australia and New Zealand with a kayak and ends up exploring much of Melanesia and Polynesia, including Tonga, Fiji and the Marquesas.
The Nutmeg of Consolation
Author: Patrick O'Brian
Description: Further adventures (the 14th installment) of Captain Aubrey & Co., shipwrecked in the Dutch East Indies, and finding their way to the penal colony at Botany Bay in the early 19th Century. The passage on Botany Bay is one of the most evocative (and frightening) descriptions we know of the first European settlement in Australia. If you haven't yet been introduced to O'Brian's vivid portraits of Nelson's British Navy, here's your chance to dip into this fine series (stories from which formed the basis for the recent movie Master and Commander).
The Road from Coorain
Author: Jill Ker Conway
Description: A literate, absorbing memoir of girlhood on a sheep ranch in New South Wales and coming of age in post-war Sydney. Conway, who left Australia and eventually became president of Smith College, paints a vivid picture of isolation and beauty -- and of the challenges of a bright, ambitious woman growing up Australian.
The Secret River
Author: Kate Grenville
Description: Sweeping, gorgeously written and psychologically astute, The Secret River takes in all the bravado, trickery and conflict that attended the settlement of New South Wales. Grenville draws on the history of her own family in Australia for the elements of the blockbuster plot, in which a Thames boatsman, banished to the penal colony in 1806, must carve out a life for himself.
The Snorkeller's Guide to the Coral Reef, From the Red Sea to the Pacific Ocean
Author: Paddy Ryan
Description: An illustrated overview of coral reefs, coral-reef fishes, invertebrates and plants of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, this compact book is an excellent resource for anyone thinking of exploring the underwater world. Beginners will appreciate the chapters on learning to snorkel, reef etiquette, photography hints and first aid. With 200 color photographs.
The Turning, New Stories
Author: Tim Winton
Description: These 17 overlapping stories, steeped in everyday life on western Australia, follow the fates of a handful of characters in a small coastal town outside Perth. Winton, short-listed twice so far for the Booker Prize, has published a string of memorable novels, children's books and stories, all richly set in the working class milieu of the sparsely populated coastal desert.
Travellers’ Tales Australia: True Stories of Life Down Under
Author: Larry Habegger & Amy G. Carlson
Description: An excellent introduction to the people, culture and traditions of Australia as seen through the eyes of mostly contemporary writers, including Pico Iyer, Paul Theroux, Bruce Chatwin, and D.H. Lawrence. Organized thematically, it includes articles and excerpts on the Great Barrier Reef, the outback, the Nullarbor Plateau and Bondi Beach.
Treasures of the Great Barrier Reef
Description: 60-minute Nova documentary captures the diversity and abundance of the fish and invertebrates of the coral reef in dazzling color.
True History of the Kelly Gang
Author: Peter Carey
Description: A powerful, daring novel, steeped in the colonial history of late 19th-century Australia. Outlaw, folk hero, thief and patriot, the Irish immigrant Ned Kelly and his clan figure large in the Australian mindset. Carey's Booker Prize-winning novel (his second after "Oscar & Lucinda") takes the form of a series of rough, captivating letters by the barely literate gang leader to his young daughter. Kelly was hanged in Melbourne in 1880, where his mother was also imprisoned.
Description: A dazzling overview of Australia, its geology, evolution, culture and wildlife, originally presented in IMAX theatres. The Edge, filmed on the doorstep of Australia's largest city, is about an ancient wilderness ... a labyrinth of lost worlds and magical places - beautiful and treacherous waterfalls, canyons and underground rivers, carved by streams that lead back into a world as it was ninety million years ago. In a remote ravine, 40 ancient trees survive unchanged from the age of the dinosaurs. Rappel into this world of exotic creatures and unique plant life with our modern bushwhackers.