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Great Aussie Reads

On January 26th, Australia celebrates Australia Day commemorating the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788. Nowadays, 228 years later, we still remember the landing by Captain Phillips, and celebrate what it means to be Australian and how far we have come as a nation. It’s a time to reflect on our nation’s history and what lies ahead.

Why not catch up on some reading and refresh your history, or chill out with a good Aussie story!

1788: The Brutal Truth of the First Fleet by David Hill

"The story of the very first European Australians, reluctant pioneers who travelled into the unknown - the vast majority against their will - in order to form a colony by order of the King's government. Separated from loved ones and travelling in cramped conditions for the months-long journey to Botany Bay, they suffered the most unbearable hardship on arrival on Australian land where a near-famine dictated that rations be cut to the bone. But why was the settlement of New South Wales proposed in the first place? Who were the main players in a story that changed the world and ultimately forged the Australian nation?"

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Celebrating Australia: A Year in Poetry by Lorraine Marwood

In this vibrant new poetry collection, Lorraine Marwood explores the many ways we celebrate in Australia!

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A is for Australia by Frané Lessac

What is the Fremantle Doctor? Where is Qui Qui? And why are some islands named after days of the week? You'll uncover these exciting facts when you explore the A to Z of Australia - from Bondi to Kakadu and all the way to Taronga Zoo. Discover why Australia is one of the most amazing countries in the world!

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The Last Australia Day by Manfred Jurgensen

In the context of a continuing international "war against terror" and other ideological or military conflicts, a global economic crisis and volatile politics, the novel takes us to celebrations of our National Day in a Brisbane suburban backyard, surrounded by the deadly waste and wreckage of Queensland's recent floods. This year's Australia Day party is destined to end in tragedy.

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My Australian Story : Surviving Sydney Cove by Goldie Alexander

The Diary of Elizabeth Harvey, Sydney 1790. Lizzie Harvey, a convict transported to Sydney Cove, is starving and overworked. She has to fetch the water, mend clothes, serve her Master, care for his china-doll daughter and tiptoe around his moody soldier son. She can barely find time to dream about the way things used to be, let alone write in her diary. But write she must. It is her only hope of reaching out to the home she has left behind, all those thousands of miles away across the sea.

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The Secret River by Kate Grenville

In 1806 William Thornhill, a man of quick temper and deep feelings, is transported from the slums of London to New South Wales for the term of his natural life. With his wife Sal and their children he arrives in a harsh land he cannot understand. But the colony can turn a convict into a free man.

Eight years later Thornhill sails up the Hawkesbury to claim a hundred acres for himself. Aboriginal people already live on that river. And other recent arrivals—Thomas Blackwood, Smasher Sullivan and Mrs Herring—are finding their own ways to respond to them.

Thornhill, a man neither better nor worse than most, soon has to make the most difficult choice of his life.

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The Commonwealth of Thieves by Tom Keneally

A brilliant recreation of the first four years of white settlement in Australia by Booker Prize-winning author Tom Keneally.

In 1787, Britain banished its unwanted citizens - uneducated petty thieves, streetwalkers, orphan chimneysweeps and dashing highwaymen - to the fringes of the known world. So remote was Botany Bay - the destination to which the overcrowded, disease-ridden convict ships were bound - that only one European expedition had ever before anchored there.

Yet the rejects of Britain, accompanied only by a flimsy complement of soldiers, marines and officers, were expected to start a settlement and flourish. It was an audacious social experiment, unparalleled before or since.

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In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

In A Sunburned Country is his report on what he found in an entirely different place: Australia, the country that doubles as a continent, and a place with the friendliest inhabitants, the hottest, driest weather, and the most peculiar and lethal wildlife to be found on the planet.

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The Bodysurfers by Robert Drewe

Set among the surf and sandhills of the Australian beach – and the tidal changes of three generations of the Lang family – The Bodysurfers is an Australian classic. A short-story collection which has become a bestseller and been adapted for film, television, radio and the theatre, The Bodysurfers on its first publication marked a major change in Australian literature.

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Gould's Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan

Once upon a time that was called 1828, before all fishes in the sea and all living things on the land were destroyed, there was a man named William Buelow Gould, a white convict who fell in love with a black woman and discovered too late that to love is not safe.

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