Aboriginal culture and history


The Barrumbi Kids

Leonie Norrington

Dale and Tomias, live in the outback. They have a deep love for the wild, ancient land that is their home and move easily between their Aboriginal and white cultures, until someone turns up to spoil their last year at the community school.

The Burnt Stick

Anthony Hill

The Burnt Stick is the story of a young Australian aboriginal boy, John Jagamarra, who was taken from his mother by the Welfare Department, and sent to the Fathers at the Pearl Bay Mission.

Nobody asked the mothers ... The Welfare believed they would soon get over their loss. And nobody asked the children - they would soon forget.

Yet John Jagamarra did not forget. He was nearly five when the Big Man from Welfare came looking for him - and you can remember many things when you are almost five years old.

Bush Holiday

Leonie Norringto

Croc Bait

Leonie Norrington

Croc Bait is a Solo title about a little Aboriginal boy called Sean, who goes on a fishing camp with his extended family and has an unexpected encounter with a crocodile! Solo titles are easy-to-read stories for beginning readers.

Crow Country

Kate Constable

Sadie has moved to the country with her mum, although she would have preferred to stay in Melbourne with her friends. Life takes an unexpected turn when Sadie has an unusual encounter with a crow on a dried-up lake, and then meets Lachie Mortlock. Living in the country takes on new meaning, especially when Crow gives Sadie a secret to keep and a mystery to solve.

Daniel's Secret

Christobel Mattingley ; illustrated by Mark Wilson

Daniel has found an Aboriginal carving on the cliff face. He wants to share his secret but, as the youngest member of a busy family, he can't persuade anyone to accompany him.

Darkness under the hills

illustrated by A.M. Hicks

Digger J. Jones

Eleven year old Digger J Jones is a terrific character – a feisty little scamp with a lot of personality. His diary entries make up the story – short, snappy observations from an alert, smart and funny kid.

The book, set in 1967 at the time of the Vietnam War and the Australian referendum for Australian Aborigines to finally be counted in the national census, looks at these historical events through a child’s eye. Digger’s straightforward assessment of how they impact on his life cut to the chase.

The loss of his brother Paul in Vietnam and his determination to ‘fight that discrimination’ and be counted as a citizen are explored alongside his day to day adventures – making enemies and friends, trying to live up to his new-found love for the nun Ally, discovering that poetry isn’t just for girls, and getting up to shenanigans with his best friend.

Digger J Jones is bursting with humour and heart. It might be a good book for any child – particularly boys – who have trouble getting into reading.

The drought maker

retold by Ron Baker

Enora and the Black Crane

Arone Raymond Meeks

A traditional story based on Arone Meeks’ knowledge of the bush, the spirits who lived there and their laws as taught to him by his grandfather of the Kokoimudgji tribe in Queensland. The natural world is being created and Enora’s people are surrounded by bush foods and animals. When Enora discovers a shimmering rainbow flying through the rainforest, he sets out to discover its meaning.

Ernie Dingo : King of the Kids : an Australian's Story

Sally Dingo

The Fat and Juicy Place

Diana Kidd ; illustrated by Bronwyn Bancroft

At the back of Jack's school is a special place. He can't tell anyone except his mate, Lizard, about all the things that can happen there. When Jack meets the mysterious Birdman, he learns secrets about the past that he just can't tell anyone.

The Fire in the Stone

Colin Thiele

When his precious cache of opals is stolen, 14-year-old Ernie, who lives with his alcoholic father in the harsh and lawless opal fields of inland Australia, sets out with a friend determined to find the thief.

Freedom Ride

Sue Lawson

Fifteen year old Robbie knows bad things happen in Walgaree. But, it's nothing to do with him. The Aborigines have always been treated this way. In 1965, racial tensions are at boiling point and something is headed to Walgaree that will blow things apart. Robbie must take a stand. Nothing will ever be the same. Based on true events in Australia when university students drew attention to racism and segregation.


Mark Greenwood ; Terry Denton

He emerged from the cave of bats with the name given to him by his people. He was Jandamarra, a man of power who could appear and disappear like a ghost. Set in the Kimberley region in north-west Australia, this is the story of a young warrior born to lead. To the settlers, he was an outlaw to be hunted. To the Bunuba, he was a courageous defender of his country. Mark Greenwood's text and Terry Denton's watercolour illustrations bring to life this story of conflict and divided loyalties, giving a unique insight into an extraordinary man and a tragic but important part of Australia's frontier history.

Jirrbal : rainforest Dreamtime stories

Maisie (Yarrcali) Barlow ; illustrated by Michael (Boiyool) Anning

Aboriginal dreaming stories of the Jirrbal people. Contains factual narratives about the author's life and the rainforests of North Queensland. Traditional language words of the Jirrbal people are included.

Kimberley Warrior: The Story of Jandamarra

John Nicholson

One hundred years ago, Jandamarra led his people against the white occupation of Bunuba lands. At 21 he organised his first ambush, and by the age of 24 he was dead. To his people he was a hero, to the whites a dangerous 'baddie' who must be captured at any cost.

Kimberley Warrior is a gripping frontier story set in the rocky mountain ranges, gorges and tunnels of the Kimberley region in Western Australia. It is also the story of a complex, gifted person caught between two worlds, black and white.

This retelling of Jandamarra's story is authorised by the Bunuba people.

Leaving Barrumbi

Leonie Norrington

In a sensitive and delightful melding of cultures, this book explores the notion of finding one's identity in a multicultural society. Although white, Dale Murphy has grown up in an Aboriginal community. When Dale leaves to attend boarding school, his anxieties about leaving home and his difficulty in adjusting to the school cause a great many problems. There are many non-Aboriginal students but, culturally, Dale identifies with the Aboriginal students and this causes a good deal of misunderstanding and grief for Dale. The new school manager is alienated by the culture and climate in the Top End school and takes her frustrations out on Dale who will not toe the line. Interweaving the language, magic and spirituality of different cultures, this narrative is a wonderful portrayal of culture shock from a very different perspective. Norrington acknowledges assistance from individuals in Aboriginal communities.

Lucky Thamu

Cheryl Kickett-Tucker

These school holidays, Eli is going by himself to visit his much-loved Thamu (grandfather), who lives near the goldfields. They're going camping and prospecting, and Eli will listen to Thamu's stories and learn about country. But, when they camp to speck for gold, Eli seems more interested in chasing a white rabbit.

Maybe, Tomorrow

Boori Monty Pyror

From the Aboriginal fringe camps of his birth to the catwalk, basketball court, DJ console and more—this is a new anniversary edition of Boori Monty Pryor's life, his pain, his joy, and his hopes, and is as powerful now as it was when it was first published in 1998.

Me and Mary Kangaroo

Kevin Gilbert

Aboriginal poet and activist Kevin Gilbert's last book for children, celebrates his own childhood and the friendship shared with his pet kangaroo. A book for children of 5-12 years and adult collectors.

My Girragundji

Meme McDonald and Boori Monty Pryor

The story of an Aboriginal boy whose house is invaded by a Hairyman - a spirit the old people call a Quinkin. When a little green tree frog lands on his windowsill, he knows she has been sent by the ancestors to help him face his fears.

Nanberry : black brother white

Jackie French

In 1789, the new colony in Sydney is established. Nanberry is an Aboriginal boy who is raised by Surgeon John White and witnesses the struggles of the colonists to survive in the wilderness. Follow Nanberry and his white brother as they make their way in the world, as well as the young convict woman who becomes a lady in her own right.

Night without darkness

Elizabeth Stanley

Our race for reconciliation

Anita Heiss

Mel Gordon loves running, and watching Seinfeld, but mostly she loves Cathy Freeman. It's 2000 and the Olympics are going to be held in Australia. In a year of surprises, Mel finds out that Cathy Freeman is coming to talk to her school. And her family is heading to Sydney! It becomes an unforgettable journey to Corroboree 2000, bringing together all Australians as they march and sing and celebrate Australia's Indigenous heritage and also acknowledge past wrong.

Pigs and Honey

Jeanie Adams

An account of an Aboriginal family on a weekend outing.

Red Sand, Blue Sky

Cathy Applegate

This funny and surprising mystery/adventure is set in the brilliant desert landscape of the Australian outback. Twelve-year-old Amy arrives from Melbourne, unsettled by the starkly different landscape and people. There she meets an Aboriginal girl, Lana, who seems as different as anyone could be—in Amy’s eyes. As they learn more about each other’s cultures, they also find that they share the loss of their mothers, and their friendship deepens. Soon they are working together to uncover a sinister plot—which may put unto jeopardy everything and everyone they hold dear.

Remembering Lionsville

Bronwyn Bancroft

Renowned artist Bronwyn Bancroft tells her inspiring story of growing up in country New South Wales. Come with me to my family's old house in Lionsville. It's full of memories. It's a special place. Uncle Pat calls it a secret place. We played in that old tin cubby, swam in the creek with the catfish, and fell asleep to the ribbip of frogs at night. And around the red cedar table we listened to the old people's stories. We learned a lot that way.

Sally's Story

Sally Morgan

Sally Morgan’s My Place is an Australian classic. Since first publication in 1987, My Place has sold more than half a million copies in Australia, been translated and read all over the world, and been reprinted dozens of times. Sally’s rich, zesty and moving work is perhaps the best-loved biography of Aboriginal Australia ever written.

My Place for younger readers is an abridged edition, especially adapted to younger readers, that retains all the charm and power of the original. It is published as three separate books and Sally’s Story focuses on Sally’s childhood, and her growing realisation of the truth her family has been hiding.


Allan Baillie

Yukuwu is an Aboriginal boy living on the coast with his tribe in the early-18th century. Life seems idyllic until the Macassans come from afar and Yakuwu and Dawu, his uncle, journey to Indonesia to see how these strange and powerful people live.

The Spirit of Barrumbi

Leonie Norrington

A sequel to, The Barrumbi kids, in which a trip to Barrumbi changes everything. Dale is warned in a dream that his brother, Sean, is in danger. He doesn't know that what happens to Sean will have a devastating effect on the whole community.

Tiddalik the Frog

Barbara Ker Wilson

Two Hands Together

Diana Kidd

Cultural and racist issues are explored in this story about a girl who befriends an Aboriginal family, who live next door.

Walking the Boundaries

Jackie French

All Martin has to do is walk around the boundaries and he'll own the farm and be rich. But as he walks he discovers that boundaries aren't just lines on a map. He meets Meg from last century, Wullamudulla from 40,000 years ago following the path of his born snake ancestor, Dracula - a diprotonditid from 1,000,000 years ago - a bit like a prehistoric wombat but the size of a mini bus - and they all have very difernt ideas of what owning land means.

What's your story?

by Rose Giannone

Do you have a story? Everyone has a story to tell. Sometimes many stories. What's Your Story? is a beautiful book about friendship. The backdrop is the First Settlement and it describes the friendship of a little orphan boy from England, Leonard and his friendship with a little Aboriginal girl called Milba. Leonard is intrigued by Australia's fauna as it is completely different to anything Leonard had previously seen, and it is with this, the story develops.

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

by Anita Heiss

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


David Spillman

The Yellow-eye fish are becoming scarce. Neither the Impatjara Aboriginal community nor the Newmob white community can find the answer alone. Through communication, both cultures approach the problem together.

Yippee! Summer Holidays

Tjalaminu Mia and Jessica Lister

Debbie and Billy just love summer holidays, especially when their grandfather comes to stay. They have lots of fun racing tyres and telling stories together. But more than anything, Debbie likes the special time she has with Dada Keen and the wonderful places he shares with her.