I have read many books over the years and especially exploration and adventure books or documents and personal accounts which are mainly focussed on Australiana documentaries, biographies and a little bit of fiction. When browsing through Op Shops and Garage Sales I particularly look for books on Australian history. To date I still have some books that I have purchased over the years, left to read!
This page denotes some of the books read over the past ten years and my own personal comments on them.
A HISTORY of the ENGLISH SPEAKING PEOPLES Vol 1-4….. by Winston Spencer Churchill.
This fascination series of books discovers the history of Britain from the Roman Year of 699 or 55 years BC up until the commencement pf the 19th Century.
Originally I bought volume 1 at a book sale for $1 and then discovered that there were additional volumes. I searched for two years before I discovered a full set of 4 at a 2nd hand bookstore in Echuca Victoria and was well pleased to get the complete set for $45. Although my ancestry is not English I still enjoyed the history of Britain.
LEN BEADELL…..Surveyor and Road Builder extraordinaire. Len was responsible for building many iconic Outback Roads and Tracks throughout Central and Western Australia as directed by the Government of the day so that access may be achieved to retrieve parts of bombs and rockets which were fired at Maralinga in The Great Victoria Desert or Woomera Rocket Range in South Australia.
Books by Len Beadell.
Still in the Bush
Blast the Bush
Beating about the Bush
End of an Era
These books are a worthwhile read showing the tenacity of Len Beadell to get the job done. Many modern day travellers owe their recreation to the likes of Len Beadell who went out there to contruct these ‘Highways’.
Books on Len Beadell
A lifetime in the Bush. The Biography of Len Beadell…. by Mark Shephard
A more personal look at the life and times of Len Beadell
Outback…… by Thomas Keneally
The author relates tales of people and characters from Outback Australia
The First Hundred Years …….by Helen Palmer and Jessie MacLeod
The authors take the reader through the history of the east coast of Australia and beyond between 1788 and 1888.
Triumph of the Nomads…A History of Ancient Australia by Geoffrey Blayney
An optimistic look at the survival of the first inhabitants of Terra Australis
The Last of the Nomads…by W J Peasley
An account of how the last desert Aboriginal family were contacted and introduced into modern Australian civilisation in 1977
The Simpson Desert. Natural History and Human Endeavour…… by Mark Shephard
The author gives a detailed account of the original inhabitants of this desert and the human intervention that has come since white settlement of this land.
In the Middle of Nowhere….by Terry Underwood.
A pleasing auto-biography on Terry and her husband John Underwood and family, Cattle Ranchers in the Northern Territory.
Crocodiles and other People…..by Douglas Lockwood
Published in 1959, Douglas LOckwood, a veteran journalist for the Melbourne Herald Newspaper, relates tales from that era which are quite heart-warming and topical.
Lasseter’s Last Ride….by Ion L Idriess
Published in 1939 it tells the story of explorer and prospector Harold Lasseter in search of his famous Reef of Gold
Cooper’s Creek….by Alan Moorhead. The Story of the ill-fated Burke and Wills Expedition to cross Australia from South to North. A research narrative on this epic failure of the 19th Century.
Harry Potter Series.…… by JK Rowling
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
I attended Boarding School and so the first Harry Potter book immediately appealed to me as I related to it. The author has such a furtive imagination and the stories flow on and on. Brilliant writing!
FOOD….The History of Taste….edited by Paul Freedman
A wondefully illustrated book by ten different authors.
1. The Hunter Gatherers and First Farmers. The evolution of taste in pre-history by Alan K Outram
2. The Good things that Lay at Hand. Tastes of Ancient Greece and Rome by Veronika Grimm
3. The Quest for Perfect Balance. Taste and Gastronomy in Imperial China by Joanna Waley-Cohen
4. The Pleasures of Consumption. The Birth of Medieval Islamic Cuisine by H.D.Miller
5. Feasting and Fasting. Food and Taste in Europe in the Middle Ages by C.M.Woolgar
6. New Worlds, New Tastes. Food Fashions after the Renaissance by Brian Cowan
7. The Birth of the Modern Consumer Age. Food innovations from 1800 by Hans. J. Teuterberg
8. Chefs, Gourmets and Gourmands. French Cuisine in the 19th and 20th Centuries by Alain Drouard
9. Dining Out. The Development of the Restaurant by Elliott Shore
10.Novelty and Tradition. The New Landscape of Gastronomy by Peter Scholliers
Even for a non-foodie I found this book fascinating and it took me a while to sift through all of the information. We take so much for granted these days with food and spare little thought on the development of our eating habits
The Long Road North…. by Alex Tanner
An easy read about the Stuart and Barkley Highways in the years 1940 to 1946. It is always good to get an insight to that period of time.
Why Warriors Lie Down and Die…… by Richard Trudgeon
An insight as to the dilemmas faced by the cultural differences between the inhabitants of Arnhem Land and Australian Contemporary Culture
Archaeology of the Dreamtime….. by Josephine Flood
The story of Pre-Historic Australia and its people from a scientist’s experience. I can read this book many times
Kings in Grass Castles and Sons in the Saddle Two books in one…… by Mary Durack
Australiana Historic writing by a reknowned author depicting pastoral life and pioneers in Northern Australia in the late
19th and early 20th Centuries.
The Territory….. by Ernestine Hill
A novel by the author with some good historical facts thrown in for good measure. A tale of adventure and endurance.
Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy….. by E L James
1625 Pages of Fiction about two people. I suppose it is more of a psychological thriller wit the main protagonist displaying enduring forms of depravity.There is a plot to the story but overall it is more about the kinky sex that takes place within most of the pages that may hold you spellbound. The latter becomes boring after a while but eventually the emphasis on kinky sex changes as you progress through the books. An interesting read, but it is not for everyone, no doubt!
Cops, Crocs and Leopard-skin Jocks….. by Bob Magor
This is the biography of Roy Wright, reknowned fish npoacher in the Northern Territory. A crazy read!
Bunji 25th Anniversary Collection….. by Shane Stringer.
Bunji and his mates are cartoon characters who live in the Northern Territory. They are well known for their local venacular and topical quotes. Good humour in a localised area. Bunji has appeared in newspapers, books, magazines and other publications all over the world.
Red in the Centre Trilogy…. by Monte Dwyer
Through a Crooked Lens
The Australian Bush through Urban Eyes
Looking for the H Chord
Funny narratives of life on the road searching for stories. Monte Dwyer came to promenance by being the Weatherman on Australian TV Channels
Heart of Arnhem Land….. by Francois Giner
A lovely true story about a man and his quest to uplift the lives of a clan of Aboriginal People in Arnhemland
Changewinds….. by Jack L Chalker
A Science fiction novel about how the Changewinds blow to create different outcomes in Parallel Universes. The book is 819 pages and I struggled to put it down as the masterplot finally unfolds. A good read for Sci-Fi enthusiasts.
Across the Top and other places…… by Malcolm Douglas and David Oldmeadow
A factual account of Adventures in Northern Australia in the early 1970’s. Great reading.
Your Inner Fish…. by Neil Shubin
The amazing discovery of mankind’s 375 million year ancestor. The author is a scientist and put forward the notion that we have eveolved from fish
In Leichhardts Footsteps….. by Bruce Simpson
The author has a way in retelling the story of Ludwig Leichhardt, Australian Explorer and the unsolved mystery surrounding his disappearance in 1848
Henry Hoke’s Guide to the Misguided….. by Mark Thomson
A wacky spoof of pople in their backyard sheds inventing stuff that could have changed the world. A good laugh!
The Mystery of the Min Min Light ….. by Maureen Kozicka
Tales from the Channel Country of Queensland about an nightly apparition which keeps one spellbound. I too have seen the Min Min Light!
Born in the Desert….. by Marion Hercock
The life and travels of Dadina Brown, one of the last Australian Nomads of the Little Sandy Desert
Moll Flanders….. by Daniel Defoe
Set in the late 1700’s Moll Flanders is notorious but becomes a heroine in her struggle through life
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
A classic tale of the orphan Oliver Twist set in England in the 19th Century
20,000 Leagues Under The Sea…. by Jules Verne
The eccentric Captain Nemo in his submarine, the nautilus takes the reader on a fabulous journey through the depths of our oceans
Under the Tuscan Sun.….. by Frances Mayes
An American Family take on a property in a small village in Italy. A fascinating read.
Flinders The Man who mapped Australia….. by Rob Mundle.
A detailed research on the adventures of Captain Matthew Flinders, British Admiralty Seafarer and Explorer,
between 1789 and 1814. This is pure adventure in its raw state and the perilius demands these seafarers
had to deal with.
To fight the wild.….by Rod Ansell and Rachel Percy
Rod Ansell became lost in a remote part of the Northern Territory, Australia and survived for 3 months
until he was rescued by chance. His story inspired the films of Crocodile Dundee. I knew Rod Ansell. He was fiery and
complicated person. His life ended tragically in a shoot-out with Police in 1999.
Outback Heart…by Joanne van Os.
This is the story of Joanne and her life with Rod Ansell who wrote the book To Fight the Wild.
It was a great read for me as I know a lot of the country and many Northern Territory characters of that era.
It is well written and keeps the reader in a hold of suspense.
Journey into Australia…..By Peter and Bridget Cole-Adams…. with illustrations
A 7 month journey by road through the Outback of Australia in 1987. The authors research quite a bit of history
of forgotton towns and places. An easy read and some tips for travellers wishing to do something similar.
Jackey Jackey…..by Margaret Paice….with illustrations
The historical account of Galmarra the Songman, known as Jackey Jackey, an Aboriginal boy from the Hunter Valley, who, in 1848 accompanied the Explorer, Edmund Kennedy and others, on a journey from Sydney to
Rockingham Bay by ship and from there overland to Albany Island near the tip of Cape York. The tenacity of Galmarra to survive under adverse conditions and outside of his own country is amazing. The stupidity of the new settlers to mountan expedition to the north and in to the tropical monsoon ‘wet’ season’, is astounding!
Green Mountains and Cullenbenbong…….by Bernard O’Reilly…with photos and illustrations. This signed copy by the author of the 1962 reprinted edition I inherited from our Aunt Violet. It has been sitting in my collection since 2004 after her passing. This book is an autobiography of Bernard O’Reilly and it takes place in the hinterland of South West Queensland in the McPherson Ranges spanning the time period from 1918 to 1939. The O’Reilly family moved from the Blue Mountains in New South Wales to take up a Selection which today lies within the Lamington National Park where they pioneered a dairy industry and later a tourist industry. In the first part of the book an account of how Bernard O’Reilly found and resued survivors of the Stinson Airliner crash of 1937 in the Lamington Forest . The book, wonderfully written about the hardships endured by the O’Reilly Family, in their quest to eke out a sustainable living on their selection. Cullenbenbong is an addendum to the book and describes life in the area of the Jenolan Ranges of New South Wales between the periods of 1903 and 1910.
In the Hands of Providence……………. by William.J.Peasley
A definitive work relating to the Desert Exploration Journeys of David Wynford Carnegie in 1896. Taking excerpts from Carnegie’s Diaries story of his adventures together with sketches and photographs of that era is wonderfully reproduced to keep the reader speelbound and in awe of these hardy adventurers.
The World in 1776……….by Marshall.B.Davidson
The author takes a historical look at how the World was operating politically at the time of the American Declaration of Independence. The book concentrates on the Northern Hemispere as many parts of the Southern Hemispere had not been colonised yet. It does not take into account the Indigenous Peoples as they played no part in world politics at that period in time. The book is published with maps and paintings of the era before and after that date. A fascinating read for me.
The Explorers…………………by Tim Flannery
Tim Flannery takes excerpts from stories written, journals by and true accounts of 63 Australian Explorers commencing in 1606 and culminating in 1977. These accounts also include Indigenous Explorers who helped White Men across this large continent
A Long Way Home…………..by Saroo Brierly.
An Auto-biography. The author relates his life’s journey from becoming a lost little boy in a remote part of India and then finding himself in a Boys Home and then an Orphanage at the age of 5 years. His life improves tremendously when he is adopted by an Australian couple and grows up in Tasmania. His longing, however, to see his Birth Mother and Siblings is great and he doggedly follows his own leads by using Google Earth to search for clues as to where his journey of life had started. At the age of 30 he finally finds the answer and is re-united with his original family. An inspirational book of determination and hope.
The Hard Light of Day………by Rod Moss.
An Auto-biography of an Artist’s story of friendships in Arrernte Country (Central Australia). A heart-warming story and a very good read as well as an insight into the cultural and tribal lives of Indigenous Inhabitants of Central Australia.
The Archaeology of Australia’s Deserts…….by Mike Smith
This is the first book-length study of the archaeology of Australia’s deserts, one of the world’s major habitats and largest block of dry-lands in the Southern Hemisphere. Mike Smith is the Senior Archaeologist at the National Museum of Australia and has worked in the arid zone for more than 30 years. For myself, as a very amateur archaeologist, this book can be difficult to read at times due to it’s scientific nature but I have taken in what I can, and have wanted to from it, to satisfy my curiosity of the lives of the ancient peoples, who have lived here for the past 50,000 or more years.
Making Connections…………A journey along Central Australian Aboriginal trading routes by Val Donovan and Colleen Wall
The books aims to give the reader another way of seeing the landscape of the days gone by when the First Australians established trade routes for Ochre, Pituri, Stone Axes and Shells and hiw many of these routes are Highways today where business and tourists drive the routes to their own destionations. I found the book fascinating as it tells stories of the Dreamtime of an area close to where I live.
The Boss Drover and his Mates……..by Anne Marie Ingham
A delightful biography of Clarence (Clarrie) Pankhurst, Boss Drover of renown and his droving mates including Jack Charlton and Sid Howard. The story begins in the Depression Years and it relates the years of droving cattle from Wave Hill Station in the Northern Territory, which was then owned by the Vestey Company, to railheads in Western Queensland. The droving spans the era from the 1940’s through to the 1970’s when Road Trains took over from the tradional cattle drives. Its a wonderful read of an era almost forgotten now and the difficulties endured by those hardy stockmen. There are lighter moments too when the bushmen played tricks on one another or amusing incedents took place.
Where is Dr Leichhardt?………by Darrell Lewis
The Leichhardt Expedition with 7 men, 77 Horses, Mules and Bullocks and an enormous ampount of metal camping gear and scientific instruments vanished with out trace after 1848. Only a brass plate with the name Ludwig Leichhardt 1848 stamped on it, and 2 old mules were ever located. This is an exciting read for all those historians and bush travellers who have also wondered from time to time exactly what had happened to Ludwig Leichhardt and his companions after they set out from Sydney to cross the Australian Continent from east to west. The author examines all newspaper reports, sightings, exploratory searches, tales and hearsay over the past 165 years. At the end of the book he puts forward the various theories by well known researchers including his own.
Australia’s Muslim Cameleers: Pioneers of the Inland 1860’s to 1930’s………by Philip Jones and Anna Kenny.
The authors go to great lengths to research the contribution made by the nearly 2000 Cameleers from Afghanistan and Northern India who came to Australia during the time of Camel Transport. Some Cameleers were on a three eyar contract and then returned to their homelands while others stayed and made a life in Australia. During this time as many as 20,000 camels were imported to Australia. The book looks at the valued contribution the Cameleers made to the recent history of Australia and also the difficulties faced by them when Australia embarked on the ‘White Australia’ policy in 1901. The book contains many pictorials and also has an Alphabetical Index and Biographical Listing of the Cameleers including photographs of some of them.
The War Lord: by Malcolm Bosse…..
The story relates to a period of unrest in China and the fighting of War Lords and Political factions for power and control of the provinces of China. I found it a good read and it held my attention for all of the 736 pages.
Grot van Geheimenis: by Carol Smit (Hugo). The book is written in the Afrikaans language.
Carol and I were childhood friends in a time long ago and a place far away from where I am today. I am so chuffed that she has written and published a novel. It has surpassed all expectations. The story line is about a young man who, after the tragic death if his wife, becomes temporarily insane and takes revenge on society. He hides away in a secret cave and carries out his misdeeds from there.
Rock Art of the Dreamtime: by Dr Josephine Flood
Josephine Flood gives her research version of the Rock Art of the ancient peoples of the Great Southern Land
Aborigines, Artefacts and Anguish: by Ward McNally.
This is the Biography of Professor TEG Strehlow and his life of dedication in recording and writing about the Central Australian Arrernte Aborigines.
Hell, West and Crooked: by Tom Cole
An autobiograpy of droving, mustering and hunting set in Queensland and the Northern Territory from 1923. A fascinating read as I have been to or close by many of these iconic pastoral stations of the outback
The First Australians: by R.M. and C.H. Berndt
An anthropological look at Traditional Australian Aboriginal life and the effects of the coming of the White Man.
Mail for the Back of Beyond by John Maddock
A wonderful recollection of the early tramsport systems along the Birdsville Track, Strzelecki Track and from Broken Hill to the north of South Australia and into Queenlsand. The story centres around Harry Ding of Yunta who pioneered motor transport mail runs and the early use of Outpost Radios in vehicles.
Death in the Sand by Norm Barber
This is in E-book form at present and a tremendous amount of research has gone into the deaths of two young Jackeroos, Simon Amos and James Annetts in the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia in 1986. It is compelling reading.
Land of Mirage by Graham Farwell
The author of a number of books on faraway places, takes us on a magical journey by buggy, drawn by two camels, up the Birdsville Track from Marree in 1949. Although cars were about Farwell joins District Police Constable Eric Homes on his bi-annual trek through the gibber plains of the Strzelecki, Tirari, Perdika and Simpson Deserts doing his rounds whilst the author relates tales of colourful drovers of modern day and bygone eras. I loved every minute of it and especially the description of the mirages as seen on the plains
Goltros lag laaste by Carol Smit.
This is the second book by my childhood friend, Carol. It is written in the Afrikaans language and it is a story of a dog which is mistreated by its owner, is rescued by a dog lover and later wreaks its revenge on its former owner. Inbetween there is attempted murder, smuggling, drug dealing and skulduggery.
Hubert Who? by Malcolm Andrews.
War Hero, Polar Explorer. Spy. The incredible life of Australia’s unsung adventurer, Sir Hubert Wilkins. If you wanted to read about adventure then this is the book you cannot put down.
A Far-Off Place by Laurens van der Post
This South African writer relates a tale set in Central Southern Africa at an age-old travellers intersection. Terrorism evolves with the coming of a band of freedom fighters and the main characters, having had their house and livelihood destroyed escape by a narrow margin and live in a cave nearby until they are forced out and chased into the unforgiving Kalahari Desert where they are led by a bushman and his wife to safety over the period of one year. It is a fascinating read and having been to some of the places mentioned, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Smithy…The Life of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith by Ian Mackersey
The author has done a tremendous amount of research, writing his Biography of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith and publishing it 61 years after Smithy vanished along the coast of Myanmar(Burma). I thoroughly enjoyed reading about those times long ago.
In the Half Light by Jaqueline Kent
This is a delightful read of narratives of the lives of Children in their formative years from1900 to 1970. Some of the stories portray a hard life as we would see it today
Van Diemen’s Land…An Aboriginal History by Murray Johnson and Ian McFarlane
This book is a study of the history and the deprivation of liberty of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Groups by the European Invaders. It is a compelling read and a sober thought provoker. Quote by Henry Reynolds: A study that will remain essential and relevant for years to come
Great Australian Ute Stories……..Edited by John Bryant
John Bryant has a love affair with utes. He started a business Bluey’s Ute World. His love for all things Australian saw him sponsor the first Deni Ute Muster where the arrival of 2839 Utes amazed everyone. This book is a collection of stories about utes and is very entertaining to read.
Working Dogs……..by Angela Goode
A great read as well, especially if you are a lover of dogs. Stories from all around Australia about dogs on the land helping their masters work the sheep or cattle. Some of the stories are about dogs with character or attitude
When I was younger I used to read Westerns but over the years I have gone away from reading fiction. However, whilst caravanning last year, I picked up a Di Morrissey book at an Op Shop and have since become an avid reader of her stories. Her writing style is engaging and she writes about places that I have visited or spent time at and her books are mostly about Australia. So I will list the books below with a very short summary.
Tears of the Moon…….Story about the early days of pearling in Broome and WW2
Opal Desert…..Story about life on the Opal Fields of White Cliffs and Lightning Ridge
The Songmaster.…Story about people and aboriginal art and the Kimberley
Rain Music….Story about people, music, Cooktown FNQ, and a brother and sister
Barra Creek…Story about a governess on a remote cattle station in Queensland
The Road Back….Story about a journalist who is forced to change his career path
The Winter Sea…….A Tale about a Fisherman Immigrant from Italy
The Plantation……..Set in the Malayan Jungle during WW2
Monsoon……………..Soldiers revisiting Vietnam 40 years later
Scatter the Stars……The story about an early Australian Movie Superstar
The Bay………………..The life and times of the Community at Beacon Bay (Byron Bay)
Blue Peaks and Red Ridges by Peter Muir
This is a 16 month Diary of a Dogger in Western Australia for 1965 and 1966. Peter Muir is the Dogger for the Western Australia Agriculture Protection Board. He is given a Landrover 4×4 and supplies to explore the Carnarvon Ranges and Rabbit Proof Fence and 15km east of there to effect Dingo and Wild dog control. I found it a fascinating read.
The River by Patrice Newell
A story about olive growers, mines, horse breeders and crop growing along the Pages River in New South Wales Hunter Valley Region
I, the Aboriginal by Douglas Lockwood
When I arrived in Australia 50 years ago, one of the earliest books I read was the life story about Waipuddanya (Phillip Roberts) and how he combatted and eventually accepted his role astride two cultures that were poles apart. It is a must read if you want to learn about the aboriginal culture of those living in the tropics of Northern Australia.
The Spice Route by John Keay
This is a fascinating read of the history of the Spice Route which developed first overland, 500 BC from Asia to Europe and then by sea in the 16th Century. The period of 2500 years of development of moving foodstuff across the world.