The best books about Australia 📚

Browse the best books on Australia as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of Sacred Places: War Memorials in the Australian Landscape

Sacred Places: War Memorials in the Australian Landscape

By K.S. Inglis

Why this book?

Ken Inglis, an Australian who began as a scholar of religion in Victorian Britain, discovered in the 1980s that he wanted to understand the way war (which had been neglected by Australians more interested in organised labour or ‘the Bush’) had shaped the nation in the twentieth century. He found that war memorials, a pervasive feature of the Australian landscape, provided a key to that question. Based on a huge national survey and the labour of willing volunteers, in 1998 he, at last, published his magisterial Sacred Places, a study of ‘war memorials in the Australian landscape’. Rightly revered…

From the list:

The best books on Australian military history

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Book cover of Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country

Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country

By Bill Bryson

Why this book?

Bill Bryson is one of today’s best travel writers with the sharpest sense of humor. He applies that wit and his curiosity to Australia in Down Under: Travels in a Sunburned Country, helping us understand that continent-sized country, its wildlife, history, and desolate landscape without boring us one minute. Published eleven years ago, Bryson cast a naturalist eye at Australia’s dry outback, with a clear-eyed description of the dry, almost alien country that seems prescient in the age of the Climate Crisis.
From the list:

The best books for thoughtful travel

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Book cover of Ultimate Road Trips Australia

Ultimate Road Trips Australia

By Lee Atkinson

Why this book?

Australians love a road-trip – the longer, the better. This book, by one of Australia’s top driving holiday experts, is jam-packed with information and advice to make yours as easy as possible. Driving is definitely the best way to see our vast continent, and the route maps and distance lists are hugely useful. It’s a great resource on where to stay – everything from swank hotels to camping spots – and what to do. Want to know the best time of year to visit a certain place? That’s covered too.

From the list:

The best guide books for discovering Australia

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Book cover of Loving Country: A Guide to Sacred Australia

Loving Country: A Guide to Sacred Australia

By Bruce Pascoe, Vicky Shukuroglou

Why this book?

Far from an ordinary guidebook, Loving Country, A Guide to Sacred Australia gets to the heart of this ancient continent through the eyes and stories of Australia’s First Nations people. Beautifully designed and illustrated with photographs, the book opens up an Australia that many visitors never – sadly – see. Exploring Australia’s Indigenous culture is one of the best ways to understand this country, and there are many ways of doing that, if you seek them out. After consultation with Indigenous communities and elders, the authors have chosen just 18 places to feature, telling the stories of the Dreaming, explaining…

From the list:

The best guide books for discovering Australia

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Book cover of The Great Barrier Reef: A Journey Through the World's Greatest Natural Wonder

The Great Barrier Reef: A Journey Through the World's Greatest Natural Wonder

By Len Zell

Why this book?

The Great Barrier Reef is known as one of the world’s greatest natural wonders -and is a major drawcard for visitors to Australia. This book, written by renowned Australian marine biologist Len Zell is not a guide in the usual sense of the word but contains all you’ll ever need to know about what Australians call simply “the Reef” and more. Produced in partnership with the BBC’s The Great Barrier Reef television series, the book takes you on a journey along 2,300km of Australia’s north-eastern coastline. Not one to shy away from reality, Zell also looks at the environmental…

From the list:

The best guide books for discovering Australia

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Book cover of The Ballad of Blind Tom, Slave Pianist: America's Lost Musical Genius

The Ballad of Blind Tom, Slave Pianist: America's Lost Musical Genius

By Deirdre O'Connell

Why this book?

This book illustrates why this list had to be called the best Australian books about music. Because it’s an Australian author writing about an American musician. This is an exchange that works both ways: just this year, British musician/author Tracy Thorn published a book about Go-Betweens drummer Lindy Morrison, called My Rock’n’Roll Friend. Blind Tom is a biography of slave pianist Tom Wiggins, one of the first African-American musicians to crossover to success with white audiences, and remarkably he had not been so accounted for until Deidre O’Connell took up the cudgels. O’Connell is an academic, but thankfully doesn’t…

From the list:

The best Australian books on music

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