Australian History

Picture books

Angel of Kokoda

Kari knows a lot about his jungle home but he doesn't know why there is fighting in the village of Kokoda. When Kari finds a wounded Australian soldier, he knows he cannot leave him. They must retreat along the Kokoda Track with the enemy following.

Suitable for older students

by Mark Wilson

Ben & Gracie's art adventure

When Ben and Gracie visit the art gallery, a gold coin transports them into the paintings of artist Frederick McCubbin. They venture back in time, meeting and travelling with new settlers to Australia. Ben and Gracie see the difficulties faced in the harsh Australian bush environment. As they venture deeper into the forest, the pair lose their way as night falls.

by Frederick McCubbin Mark Wilson

Do not forget Australia

Henri lives in the French village of Villers-Bretonneux. Billy lives in Melbourne, Australia. These two little boys, who live thousands of miles away from each other, share one story that unites Villers-Bretonneux and Melbourne in history.

by Sally Murphy & [illustrated] Sonia Kretschmar

I saw nothing : the extinction of the Thylacine

A true Australian story of the demise of the thylacine in Tasmania, this picture book contains images of country life in the 1930s.

by Gary Crew & Mark Wilson


Rosanne Hawke & Robert Ingpen

In 1875, Thomas Elder of Beltana Station fits out explorer Ernest Giles' expedition to find a way across the desert. One camel is thought too young to join the expedition until it saves the lives of Emmeline Elder and its young Afghan owner, Taj.

Me, Oliver Bright n

Bright, childlike illustrations and family photographs decorate a scrapbook of a boy's reminiscences about his own life growing up, compared to that of his father and grandfather. Oliver lives in Sydney, his father grew up in a country town and his grandpa lived in the outback. Each experience is contrasted, as Oliver writes as he speaks and emphasises his colourful words with mementos and drawings. Keywords are interspersed throughout, allowing city students to learn about bygone events such as home milk deliveries.

by Megan de Kantzow & Sally Rippi

My mother's eyes : the story of a boy soldier

William was only 16 years old when he enlisted for the First World War. Like many other under-age boys at the time, he was accepted into the Australian Imperial Force and sent to the battlefields of France. His letters home from the front reveal how, for the boy soldiers, the 'great adventure' became a tragedy.

by Mark Wilson

Photographs in the mud

Dianne Wolfer ; illustrator Brian Harrison-Lever

Jack and Hoshi are soldiers on opposite sides who meet on the Kokoda Track during World War Two. Graphic illustrations enrich this sensitive, realistic and harrowing story of the personal tragedy of two soldiers and their loved ones at home.

Suitable for older readers


Based on the true story of a town whose people saved 120 beached whales.

by by Jan Ramage ; illustrated by Mark WIlson

The castaways of the Charles Eaton

Based on an 1834 Torres Strait shipwreck and unproven accusations of headhunting, Crew's tale demonstrates that discrimination is international.

Suitable for older students

by Gary Crew & Mark Wilson

The little wooden horse

Elizabeth and Tom are two of the first convict children to be sent to Australia. Set in Georgian England in 1787, their story tells of the circumstances that lead to their imprisonment and deportation to Botany Bay. The little wooden horse also tells us of the triumphs, trials and tragedies of the epic journey of the First Fleet.

by Mark Wilson

Vietnam diary

Leigh and Jason are inseparable. But when Jason is conscripted and sent to fight in Vietnam, they are divided not just by distance, but by their beliefs about the war.

by Mark Wilson