These booklists have been compiled by the members of the CM&Friends-ANZ email group and as such remain their property. Feel free to use the booklists at your convenience but please do not copy and paste elsewhere on the Internet without express permission.

Australian Books We Have Enjoyed:

(in no particular order)

  • Life in a Rotten Log by Kathie Atkinson – Australian nature study
  • Sarli the Barrier Reef Turtle and any others by same author Leslie Rees
  • John of the Sirius and John of Sydney Cove by Doris Chadwick
  • My Place by Nadia Wheatley & Donna Rawlins
  • The Wonderland of Nature by Nuri Mass – Australian nature study
  • A Little Black Princess and We of the Never-Never by Mrs. Aeneas Gunn
  • Australian Legendary Tales by Mrs. K. Langloh Parker
  • Trim by Matthew Flinders
  • The Children Came Too by Kathleen Moneypenny
  • Banksias and Bilbies- available from the Gould League.

Twin books Lucy Fitch Perkins & Daphne Rooke

Lucy Fitch Perkins wrote a series of seven “geographical” books for children in the first seven grades of school. In addition to The Dutch Twins, she wrote The Eskimo Twin , The Japanese Twins, etc. She also wrote a “historical” series of three books for grades four through seven. Lucy illustrated all the books herself.

Australian Twins Daphne Rooke
Chinese Twins Lucy Fitch Perkins
Belgian Twins Lucy Fitch Perkins
Dutch Twins Lucy Fitch Perkins
Swiss Twins Lucy Fitch Perkins
Scotch Twins Lucy Fitch Perkins

Australians In History Series

Currently Out of Print

Bennelong written By Joan Phipson
The Golden Dream By Nancy Keesing
Jackey Jackey By Margaret Paice
Margaret Catchpole By Nance Donkin
Matthew Flinders : Explorer And Scientist illustrated By Victor Hatcher.
River Rivals By Ian Mudie
The Golden Dream Nancy Keesing
The Singing Wire Eve Pownall the above 3 are in the Australians in History series
Tarka the Otter by Henry Williamson – British book
To Ride a Fine Horse and others by Mary Durack
Treasure from the Earth by Donald McLean
Riders to an Unknown Sea by George Farwell
Trail Blazers of the Air by Kylie Tennant.
By Gravel and Gum by Nancy Keesing

For core history books at times referred to as ‘spines’

Australasia’s” Story by H.E. Marshall
The Australia Book by Eve Pownall for younger children
Seeing Australians by K. Adams
Our Sunburnt Country by Arthur Baillie for the middle years
A Short History of Australia by Ernest Scott for the older ones.


The Story of Rosie Dock by Jeannie Baker
Examines the impact introduced species of plants and animals can have on the environment.

Where the forest meets the sea.
Set in the Daintree rainforest, this story can provide the stimulus for reflecting upon the impact of settlement on the natural environment and indigenous culture.

This text-less picture book examines Australia’s changing landscape as a result of urbanisation and the effect this is having on the environment.

The Little Bush Maid Series and others by Mary Grant Bruce

Eureka Stockade by Alan Boardman
The simple text and cartoon-like illustrations make this telling of the events leading up to the Eureka Rebellion accessible to younger and older children.

The crossing of the Blue Mountains
The need for the colony in Sydney to extend beyond the Blue Mountains, and the journey of Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson across the mountains and through to the plains of New South Wales are simply told in this book.

The First Fleet.

Federation: Changing Australia by Anna Ciddor
This book takes you back in time to show you Australia before and after Federation. The easy-to-access information is presented in a ‘before’ and ‘after’ format.

Papa and the olden days by Ian Edwards
The text of Papa and the olden days, in conjunction with Rachel Tonkin’s evocative illustrations, provide a look at life in
Thoona in country Victoria about 1910. All elements of family life are touched upon – school, entertainment, local characters and events.

Burke and Wills by Roland Harvey
A simple description of Burke and Wills’ ill-fated journey into Australia’s interior.

The tram to Bondi Beach by Elizabeth Hathorn
A nostalgic slice of life in Sydney in the 1930’s.

An Uncommonly Fine Day by John Anthony King
The story of the ‘first’ Australia Day, chronicling the arrival of the First Fleet at Botany Bay, Phillip’s further
exploration and eventual decision to establish a colony at Sydney Cove.

Too many Captain Cooks by Alan Tucker
Examines ‘the history of black/white relations across the continent’, from the arrival of the first explorers to the
present day. The thought-provoking illustrations could provide the stimulus for discussion and debates on relationship between white and indigenous Australia.

Acacia Terrace by Barbara Kerr Wilson
This story traces the history of Acacia Terrace, from its beginnings in the 1870’s and chronicles the lives of the families who lived there against a backdrop of increasing urbanisation.

I wish I’d sailed with Captain Cook by Leonie Young
Simply written, this story describes a little of Cook’s early life and his voyage to discover ‘Terra Australis’.

“The Young Captain Cook” by Frank Knight
This title is in the “Famous Childhoods” series A British series, not to be confused with “Childhoods of Famous
Americans” by – published by Max Parrish.

Heart of Green Valley. By Meredith Resce
Set during the early days of the Australian colony, Meredith Resce’s beautifully written historical fiction series follows the adventures of young female pioneers.

Emma Keppler by Colin Thiele
About a young girl growing up in the Barossa Valley, daughter of German immigrants. Ages: 9-youth

Clipper Ship by Denys Burrows
An adventure story of a ship- a tea -clipper The Dauntlessby on the Australia-China run; and the men that sailed her. Captain Grey and his crew experience many adventures: man overboard in the Pacific, kidnapping in China, typhoon on the trip back from China, not to mention the strange cargo in the hold…
Boys love this sort of adventure! Ages: 11years and over.

Meet The Lees another ‘family book’ – Currently OOP
It is out of print but a treasure if you find it. Ages: 9yrs and over

River Murray Mary by Colin Thiele
A story set in the 1920’s, about Mary Agnes Baker who lives with her mum and dad at Gum Flat Farm on the banks of The Murray. The story is filled with excitement, humour, drama encounter with a tiger snake and poetic description of the River Murray and it’s surroundings! It is a long picture book. Ages: 11yo and over

The Little Black Princess by Mrs Aneas Gunn. Illustrated by Pam Harris

Aboard The Endeavour; Cook’s Voyage 1768-1771. by Bruce Stannard.
This is the log that Cook kept while aboard The Endeavour. This book has truly excited some of the children to keep logs daily journals of their own!

The Voyage of the Endeavour by Wendy Macdonald.
Is a beautifully laid out ‘story’ of the voyage by most of others on board. The story is rich in personal detail about the people, the cook, the carpenter, the sail maker and Tahitian Priest who could whistle up a wind!! The ‘Blue’ etchings and blue water colour drawings capture the time, and spirit and excitement!

My Place by Sally Morgan
Has been divided into 3 separate books for young children “Sally’s story” “Arthur Corunna’s Story” and “Mother and Daughter”.
They tell the story of childhood and these people coming to terms with and finding peace with their Aboriginal heritage.

Peter the Whaler in Southern Seas” by Max Colwell
It was a hit with the boys especially, but a great story over all.

The Way of The Whirlwind by Mary and Elizabethby Durack.
A great book for a realistic look into aboriginal life. The story centres around Nungaree and Jungaree and their little baby brother, so aboriginal life is seen through the eyes of children……..for children.

Possum Magic by Mem Fox

Gems From Ion Idriess. Currently OOP
Flynn of the Inland
Men Of The Jungle
Gold Dust and Ashes
Over The Rangers
These books represent Australia. Vividly and authentically written by Ion Idriess.

The Runaway Settlers, The Family that goes to Christchurch, Journey Under Warning by Elsie Locke

Historical novels set in NZ

Papa & the Olden Days by Rachel Tonkin

What was the war like Grandma?
Looks at life as a child growing up in Port Melbourne during World War II. Changes to life in the family, school and community are described, as well as ways in which children contributed to the war effort.

To the Goldfields!
A picture book story about a family going to the diggings in the 1850s, and the life they lived there.

When I Was a Kid
A picture book about life in the 1950s, done as a series of vignettes drawn from childhood memories – neighbours, trips to the beach, notable events, domestic routines, schoolboy pranks. Text and illustrations have been meticulously researched to give a fascinating glimpse of the period.

Percy Tresize is another author to look out for!

Memorial by Gary Crew
A Moreton Bay Fig tree, planted as a memorial to Australian soldiers killed in World War I, looks set to be cut down by the local council. A young boy tells the moving story of the tree, as related by his great grandfather, grandfather and father, each of whom has participated in wars over the years. Interweaving themes of war, memory and conservation while bringing the legend of the Anzacs to a new generation, with brilliantly original collage illustration. Ages: 7 upwards

Bright Star
When John Tebbutt, an Australian astronomer who made several remarkable discoveries during the 1800s, visits a school classroom, he realizes one of the girls potential and invites her to visit his observatory. Ages: 7 upwards

Seven Little Australians and the sequel, The Family at Misrule by Ethel Turner

Daughter of Two Worlds by Audrey Oldfield – A story of an Aborigine girl raised in a mission school.

Not Only in Stone by Phyllis Somerville – A story of the Cornish migrants to Adelaide and the Moonta copper mines.

Stowaway by Karen Hess

Light Horse to Damascus by Elyne Mitchell
About the Australian Light Horseman in WW1, fighting the Turks in the Middle East.

Good Luck to the Rider by Joan Phipson
Barbara, a young girl who lives on a remote Australian sheep station rescues a motherless brumby foal. Her confidence in
herself grows as she trains the horse to obey her commands.