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: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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: 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 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.
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.
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.