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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.