Australian History


A different sort of real : the diary of Charlotte McKenzie, Melbourne 1918-1919

As the horrors of the First World War are drawing to a close, an influenza pandemic has arisen that will kill more people around the world than the Great War. Charlotte McKenzie, assisting the doctor, finds herself experiencing first hand the effects of this devastating disease. This is Charlotte's diary, written in post World War I Melbourne in 1918

by Kerry Greenwood

A friend for Grace

In 1808, Grace and Hannah, are on board the ship, Indispensable, on their way to New South Wales. The girls wonder what their new place will be like. They hear the convict women saying there are giant rats and other strange animals there. When sickness strikes the ship, it seems unlikely that anyone will survive to reach the shores of the new land.

Our Australian Girl series

by Sofie Laguna ; with illustrations by Lucia Masciullo

A home for Grace

It's 1808 and Grace loves caring for baby, Alice, and working with her mistress, Beth, on the property at Rose Hill. Grace tries so hard to be a good servant but still her master doesn't trust her. Grace thinks he blames her for what happened to his beloved horse. It's injured and growing sicker every day. Grace wants to do something to help but she doesn't know who to turn to.

Sofie Laguna ; with illustrations by Lucia Masciullo

Archer's Melbourne Cup- the diary of Robbie Jenkins

It is 1861 and a major horse race, the Melbourne Cup, is about to be run for the first time.

by Vashti Farrer

Atomic testing : the diary of Anthony Brown

Anthony and his family move to Woomera for his father's job in the army. His mother cares for Anthony as he recovers from polio.

by Alan Tucker


Barry Blacker is desperate to join the army like his older brother Jack, who is in a Japanese POW camp. He practises drills on the family farm in Cowra and spies on the Japanese prisoners in the camp nearby. When some of the prisoners escape, Barry's attempt to be a hero has devastating consequences

by Alan Tucker

Candles at dawn

Ellie travels with her mother from Australia to Turkey in order to attend the annual commemorative ceremony at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli. Zeynep, a Turkish girl, lives in a guesthouse run by her mother for overseas visitors. Both Ellie and Zeynep had relatives who fought in the Gallipoli campaign in World War I. They forge a friendship and develop a greater understanding of what actually happened at Gallipoli in 1915.

by Serpil Ural

Claw of the dragon : the diary of Billy Shanghai Hamilton

This tale is about a Chinese boy who is rejected by his family and taken in by a missionary couple and raised with their family on Thursday Island. During 1899-1900 Billy is kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery to work on the pearling boats operating around Australia's north.

Patricia Bernard

Cyclone Tracy : the diary of Ryan Turner

A fictionalised account of the devastation wrought by Cyclone Tracy on Christmas Eve, 1974.

by Alan Tucker

Fords and flying machines : the diary of Jack McLaren, Longreach, 1919-1921

Jack McLaren, a fourteen year old, is offered a mechanics apprenticeship in Longreach, Queensland. He gets to travel north with two World War 1 pilots in a model T Ford, finding the best route for an air race. The beginning of QANTAS.

by by Patricia Bernard

Grace and glory

It's 1808 and Grace has arrived at a bark hut on the edge of a river to start her life as a servant. But, even though she tries hard, nothing Grace does for her new master ever seems right, especially if it involves Glory, his beloved horse. When the master goes away and leaves Grace in charge, she is tested when she has to save her mistress from danger.

Our Australian Girl series

Sofie Laguna ; illustrations by Lucia Masciullo

Glory girl

Former wartime ace James harrington has his sights set on being the first person to fly from Britain to Australia in a light aircraft. Australian Sarah Carson can help make his dream a reality, but only on the condition that he takes her with him. So begins the adventure of a lifetime, until halfway across the world, the plane disappears. (From book cover)

by Peter Yeldham

Lachlan Macquarie

by Allan Drummond ; illustrated by Marcus Binge

Lost! : a true tale from the bush

Almost 150 years ago, three young children found themselves in just this predicament. Somehow, they managed to keep going for over a week, walking nearly 100 kilometres trying to find their way home.

by Stephanie Owen Reeder

Meet Grace

In 1808, orphaned, London street urchin, Grace, steals three apples to feed a poor, abused workhorse. When her theft is discovered, Grace is sentenced and transported by ship to Australia. She befriends Hannah and the two girls begin new lives, sailing towards a new land

Our Australian Girl series

by Sofie Laguna ; with illustrations by Lucia Masciullo

My Australian story : escape from Cockatoo Island

The story of the forgotten children from Cockatoo Island offers a refreshing look at an untold piece of our history.

written by Yvette Poshoglian

My friend, the enemy (also titled Our enemy, my friend : the diary of Emma Shelldrake, the Adelaide Hills, 1915)

It is 1915 and Australia is involved in World War 1. Emma writes of the perils and difficulties of wartime and the hatred against the German settlers in the area.

by Jenny Blackman

New gold mountain : the diary of Shu Cheong

Shu Cheong, with his father and uncle, sets off on the arduous journey to Australia's goldfields, hoping to bring back wealth for their village. But, following their deaths, Shu cannot return home without his father's body so must stay in Australia alone. Relations between the European miners and Chinese are tense and violent attacks against the Chinese are common.

by Christopher W. Cheng

On board the Boussole : the diary of Julienne Fulbert, Laperouse's voyage of discovery, 1785-1788

Adventures on the high seas for an accidental stowaway with a mysterious and frightening past. But, it is yet to be established if the stowaway is Jules, or Julienne.

by Christine Edwards

Our enemy, my friend : the diary of Emma Shelldrake, the Adelaide Hills, 1915 (also titled My Friend, the Enemy)

It is 1915 and Australia is involved in World War 1. Emma writes of the perils and difficulties of wartime and the hatred against the German settlers in the area.

by Jenny Blackman

Outback : the diary of Jimmy Porter

Jimmy Porter has moved to central Australia, to the middle of nowhere, to live with his uncle's family who are three days walk from the nearest neighbour. Life in the outback in 1927 is tough but people cope and Jimmy learns to adjust. When disaster strikes, Jimmy and his cousins must get help. This is Jimmy's diary, which tells how he adjusts, about the characters he meets and his experiences.

by Christine Harris

Plagues and Federation : the diary of Kitty Barnes, the Rocks, Sydney, 1901

Set in the slums of The Rocks in the 1900s.

by Vashti Farrer

Ratwhiskers and me

A prose-verse novel, set amidst the chaos and brutality of the Victorian goldfields in the 1800s. The narrator, traumatised by a fire in which her family died, and her mangy dog, Ratwhiskers, are befriended by a Chinese boy. Posing as a boy, she flees to the Chinese camp, pretending to be Chinese and taking a new name.

by Lorraine Marwood

Refugee : the diary of Ali Ismail

he Taliban in Afghanistan are seeking out young boys to become fighters. Fourteen year old Ali is smuggled out on a small boat. After a gruelling journey, Ali is rescued and transferred to Woomera Detention Centre in the Australian desert.

by Alan Sunderland

Secrets and sisterhood (also titles as A Tale of Two families)

Jan Packard's family and the family next door meet once a month for a barbeque. One family has a son who went to the Vietnam War; the other has a son who was a draft resister. Then... Jan's mother joins the Women's Movement... and Jan wants to play football but is rejected by the boys. It is a time of change.

by Jenny Pausacker

The camel who crossed Australia

Bell Sing the camel has come from Pakistan to accompany Burke and Wills as they attempt to cross Australia from south to north, but Bell Sing yearns for water and freedom on a tough journey.

by Jackie French

The girl from Snowy River

The year is 1919. Thirty years have passed since the man from Snowy River made his famous ride. But World War I still casts its shadow across a valley in the heart of Australia, particularly for orphaned sixteen-year-old Flinty McAlpine, who lost a brother when the Snowy River men marched away to war.'

by Jackie French

The horse who bit a bushranger

Billy Marks is a pickpocket, transported to the penal colony of NSW. He and his mate reckon they'll become bushrangers, buying a brumby stallion, covered with scars and refusing to bend to any man's will. Jackie French has used, in context, language and opinions of the times which are now unacceptable.

by Jackie French

The melting pot : the diary of Edward Chek Chee

It is 1903, the time of the White Australia Policy, and Edward Chek Chee is the son of a mixed marriage. His father is Chinese, his mother Australian and Edward tries to fit in to both cultures. He has to cope with racism at school and bigotry from his cousin at home, while worrying about having to go back to China to understand his ancestral roots.

by Christopher W. Cheng

The Rum Rebellion : the diary of David Bellamy, Sydney Town, 1807-1809

Set during the Rum Rebellion of 1808.

by Libby Gleeson

Voyage to Botany Bay

Set on board the ship Boussole on its voyage to Botany Bay.

by Chrissie Michaels

Who am I? : the diary of Mary Talence, Sydney, 1937

The story of an Aboriginal child who was taken from her natural parents and raised by a non-Aboriginal foster family.

by Anita Heiss