There are a  vast amount of books one can read to give you a picture of the country which can be as diverse as its people.

ADULT

  • Fiction:    "Beneath the Southern Cross"        Author:    Judy Nunn

  • This book begins with the export of prisoners from England and follows the path of the Kendall family over the next 5 generations right through to the year before Sydney Olympics of 2000.  Extremely well written and based mainly around The Rocks area of Sydney.
  • Fact:    "Green Mountains"                        Author:    Bernard O'Reilly

  • Another great read based on the life of the O'Reilly family and their struggle and delights associated with living and farming on the Lamington Plateau.  A great read if you are intending to visit O'Reilly's Guest House which is just over an hour's drive from Australia's tourist mecca the Gold Coast.  At O'Reilly's you can stay in their guest house or just visit for the day, enjoy the walks in the rainforest and marvel at the local wildlife readily seen around the place.
  • Australia: "A Biography of a Nation"            Author:    Phillip Knightley

  • An engaging overview of where Australia has come from and where it is, tells of history and the significant events that have shaped Australia and that are important to Australia, using ordinary people to illustrate.
  • Autobiography: "A Fortunate Life"                Author:  A B Facey

  • Tells the story of AB Facey's life. A totally inspiring and readable book.  Not to be missed. Facey's widowed mother remarried and abandoned the kids to be cared for by her mother until Facey was eight.  Family tried to help, but he had to help pay his way, so he worked from age 8. He went droving, worked on the railway, a boxer in a travelling troupe, was at the Gallipoli landings, later a soldier settler, and worked for the tramways. He taught himself to read and write. 
  • Biography: "Kings in Grass Castles"        Author: Mary Durack

  • The story of Patrick Durack who emigrated from Ireland in 1853 and established a great cattle dynasty across Australia.  You can follow the story through the generations in "Sons in the Saddle" and "To be Heirs Forever".
  • Nonfiction: "In a Sunburned Country"    Author: Bill Bryson (also published as 'Down Under')

  •  An amusing journey around Australia with well-known travel writer. This book covers most major (and many not so major) tourist attractions and towns, meets interesting people and also conveys a lot of fascinating information. A fun read for before, during and after your trip Down Under!

  • Historical Fiction: "The Secret River"   Author: Kate Grenville

  • This novel traces the life of a Londoner and his family, from when he is convicted of a crime in England in the early 1800s and banished to Australia (which is mainly how Australia was settled by Europeans). It incorporates much real history about the early settlement of the Sydney area, including interactions with Aborigines. A bit dry and sometimes heavy-handed, but does offer an education about Australia's early history for those outsiders who don't know much about it.
  • Eucalyptus – Murray Bail

  • Dirt Music – Tim Winton 

  • A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute 

  • The Breaker – Kit Denton 

  • For the Term of His Natural Life – Marcus Clarke 

  • The Shiralee – D’Arcy Miland 

  • Biography - Chavel country - Elyne Mitchell 

  • The story of one of Australia's pioneering families who settled in the Snowy mountains  
  • Cloud Street – Tim Winton 

  • Never Never - A. Gunn

  • Gallipoli - Les Carlyon

  • Non-Fiction novel - The Mayne Inheritance - Rosamond

  • Traces the tragic history of one of Brisbane's early families... Murder, Madness and early Brisbane
  • History - The Gatton Murders – Stephanie Bennett 

  • Among one of Queensland's most brutal crimes, these murders remain unsolved today
  • ZigZag Street - Nick Earles 

  • Life in the suburb of Paddington (Brisbane)
  • 48 Shades of Brown - Nick Earles

  • A story of a young mans rite of passage, his friends and family

Picture Books

  • Are Yet?        Author: Alison Lester

  • Tells the story of a family's around Australia holiday.
  • Wombat Stew      Author: Marcia K Vaughn

  • A dingo catches a wombat and is persuaded by the woodland creatures that it'd taste best as a stew. Each animal makes a suggestion....but what happens to the poor old wombat?
  • The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek        Author: Jenny Wagner  

  • A bunyip hauls himself out of the creek and sets out to discover what / who he is. (A bunyip is a mythical Australian creature) 
  • Possum Magic – Mem Fox

  • A young possum turns invisible and it is up to Grandma Poss to find a way to turn it back

For Kids

Many of the authors listed here are extremely successful and have other books worth trying. These to start you off. 

  • Fiction / Fantasy : Rowan of Rin      Author: Emily Rodda

  • Rowan is considered weak and timid by many, but he has to save his people by undertaking a series of dangerous quests that require him to solve a puzzle.
  • Fiction / Humour :  Round the Twist            Author: Paul Jennings 

  • Whacky stories involving funny, sometimes revolting stuff happening.
  • Fiction: The Silver Brumby series - Elyne Mitchell 

  • Thowra is the silver brumby; hunted by men, feared by other horses, and king of the snowy mountains. This series follows Thowra and his family as they struggle to survive in a rapidly changing world. This is a great book if you are planning to visit the snowy mountains (particularly Thredbo) as the places in the book can all be visited (the hut at dead horses gap is still there)
  • Fiction: Snugglepot and Cuddlepie - May Gibbs

  • meet the gumnut babies and other character of the Australian bush as they get into and out of mischief.
  • Fiction:The Magic Pudding - Norman Lindsay

For Teens 

  • Many of the authors of the books listed here are extremely successful and have a lot of books worth trying.  These to start you off. 
  • Fiction: The Tomorrow Series         Author: John Marsden

  • A  series of seven books including: Tomorrow, When the War Began, The Dead of the Night, The Third Day, the Frost, Darkness Be My Friend, Burning for Revenge, The Night is for Hunting; and The Other Side of Dawn.
  • Suddenly a group of friends find that they are alone in a hostile world with nothing to depend upon but their own friendship and help from each other and courage. 
  • Fiction: All in the Blue Unclouded Weather        Author: Robin Klein

  • The story of Vivienne, Cathy, Heather and Grace growing up in a small country town in the 1940s.
  • Fiction:  Looking for Alibrandi        Author: Melina Marchetta

  • A coming of age book.  Josephine Alibrandi is 16-17 being raised by her single mother, and in closing years of high school in inner Sydney. Tells the story of a range of key events as she accepts the past and sets herself free.  
  • Fiction: The House That Was Eureka     Author: Nadia Wheatley

  • Something sets the past back in motion when Noel and Evie meet each other in adjoining terrace houses in Sydney.
  • Fiction: Playing Beattie Bow - Ruth Park

  • A young woman is transported back in time when she hears the children playing beattie bow in The Rocks in inner city Sydney 
  • Fiction: The Fat and Juicy Place - Diana Kidd, Bronwyn Bancroft

  • Aboriginal Dreaming meets teenage angst

POETRY

  • The Man From Snowy River – Banjo Patterson

  • Perhaps one of the most recognisable Australian poems. It follows the story of a young man and his horse on a brumby hunt in the snowy mountains
  • Never Never Land – Henry Lawson

  • Country - Dorethea McKellar

Movies

  • Breaker Morant

  • The Castle

  • Follows the trial of a family of Aussie Battlers as they fight to save their house
  • Getting Square

  • A young man recently released from prison sets out to get square (stay out of trouble)
  • NB Getting square can also mean getting even
  • Dirty Deeds

  • When the American Mob tries to take over the Australian underworld they get more than they bargained for
  • Rabbit Proof Fence

  • Two members of the stolen generation follow the rabbit proof fence as they try to get back to their family
  • Gallipoli

  • Young ANZAC's for a bong on the shores of Gallipoli, facing enemy fire, incompetent commanders and harsh conditions
  • Strictly Ballroom

  • A fading ballroom champ sets out to prove them all wrong by dancing his own steps at the Pan Pac championships
  • Ned Kelly

  • Follows the life of Ned Kelly and his band of outlaws
  • Jindabyne

  • The story of a group of men who find a body, and how it causes their lives to unravel

SONGS

  • Mallee Boy - John Williamson

  • Pub With No Beer - Slim Dusty

  • I Come from a Land Down Under - Men at Work

  • I Still Call Australia Home - Peter Allan

  • True Blue - John Williamson

  • Give a Home among the Gum Trees - John Williamson

  • Christmas Photo - John Williamson

  • Camel Train to Yambah - John Williamson

  • Vulture Street (Album) - Powder Finger

  • If Ned Kelly was King - Midnight Oil

  • People of Australia - Midnight Oil

  • The Last of the Diggers - Midnight Oil

  • Sounds of then - GANGajang

  • The Band Played Waltzing Matilda - Eric Bogle

  •  Where the Wild Roses Grow - Nick Cave and Kylie Minogue

  • Future Nation - Masters of Apprentices

  • Great Southern Land - Icehouse

  • Wide Open Road - The Triffids

  • Under the Milky Way - The Church

  • Treaty - Yothu Yindi