Books for adults

author: Richard Beasley

  • Hell has Harbour Views
    Novel about a Sydney lawyer whose life hasn't turned out as he wanted or expected. This title is also available in Australia as a short TV miniseries.
author: Eleanor Dark
  • The Timeless Land
    Fiction. Trilogy following the early years of settlement in Sydney.
Authors: Kathy Lette and Gabrielle Carey
  • Puberty Blues
    Fiction Adolescent girls coming of age in a beachside community. Generally referred to as an Australian Classic.

Author: Ruth Park. Some titles below, there are many more.

  • Ruth Park's Sydney - a travel narrative about Sydney by one of Sydney's most famous Authors.
  • The Harp in the South - Fiction
  • Poor Man's Orange - Fiction

Author: Peter Corris. Another one with numerous titles. Famous for a lengthy series of detective thrillers with PI Cliff Hardy. 

  • "The Empty Beach" is set in Bondi

Author: Thomas Keneally.

  • "A Commonwealth of Thieves" a recreation of the first four years of Sydney settlement
  • "The Playmaker"
    A reconstruction of a real episode in the very earliest days of the colonisation of Australia, using the real people of the story to make the tale come true.
  • "The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith" 

    "Jimmie Blacksmith is the son of an Aboriginal mother and a white father. A missionary shows him what it means to be white - already he is only too aware of what it means to be black. Exploited by his white employers and betrayed by his white wife, Jimmie cannot take any more. He must find a way to express his rage.

    " The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith is based on an actual incident that occurred at the turn of the century. Set against the background of a turbulent Australian history, Thomas Keneally records with clarity the chant of one troubled man."

  • "A Family Madness"

Author: Watkin Tench

  • "1788" Edited by Tim Flannery.  Watkin Tench stepped ashore at Botany Bay with the First Fleet in January 1788. He was in his late twenties, a captain of the marines, and on the adventure of his life. Insatiably curious, with a natural genius for storytelling, Tench wrote two enthralling accounts of the infant colony - A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay and A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson. Tench brings to life the legendary figures of Bennelong, Arabanoo and Governor Phillip, and records the voices of convicts trying to make new lives in their new country

Author: Malcolm Knox

  • "Summerland"
    "Mystery set among Sydney's elite is a devastating portrait of money and power; of a charismatic young man with an elastic moral code; of lifelong friendship betrayed; of subtle cruelties and brutal pragmatism."

Author: Tara Moss.  The titles listed below are a series of thrillers set in Sydney and Canada.

  • "Fetish"
  • "Split"
  • "Covet"

Books for Kids

Author: May Gibbs

  • "Snugglepot and Cuddlepie" .  This is a series of books, or commonly published as a collection together. Cuddlepot and Snugglepie are gumnut babies.  This is a great Australian kids classic. In Sydney you may visit the author's house 'Nutcote', which is now a museum.   Nutcote

Author: Norman Lindsay

  • "The Magic Pudding" . The adventures of Bunyip Bluegum (a koala), Bill Barnacle (a sailor) and Sam Sawnoff, the penguin bold, and of course their amazing, everlasting and very cantankerous Puddin'.
    Norman Lindsay is a famous Australian painter who wrote this kids book on a bet. You can visit Lindsay's home which is now a Gallery in the lower Blue Mountains just outside of Sydney.
    Norman Lindsay Gallery and Museum

Author: Dorothy Wall

  • The Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill
    Yet another great Australian classic. Blinky Bill is a mischievous young koala who gets into all sorts of scrapes.  Dorothy Wall lived in Sydney, but no museum for her unfortunately.  The National Library of Australia has this as one of it's digital collection.  You can read it at

Author: C J Dennis

  • " A book for Kids"  A book of poetry for kids by one of Australia's famous poets, but's it's worth a look for adults too. It has a very traditional Aussie style.  This is also available as part of the digital collection of the National Library of Australia at

Author: Ruth Park

  • The Muddle Headed Wombat
  • Playing Beattie Bow

Books on Walking

Author: Katrina O'Brien

  • "Sydney's Best Harbour & Coastal Walks" ( The Full Colour Guide to 36 Fantastic Walks ) 
  • November 2006 ; Woodslane Press; rrp $29.99 ;
  • Sydney Morning Herald

Books on Picnic Spots and Beaches

Authors: Andrew Swaffer, Veechi Stewart, Katrina O'Brien

  •  "Sydney's Best Picnic Spots and Beaches"
  • Jul 2007; Woodslane Press; rrp $29.95
  • Sydney Morning Herald

Books for Understanding the Sydney Environment and Indigenous Culture

Dharawal - Seasons and Climatic Cycles - Author: Frances Bodkin - Illustrations Lorraine Robertson. 

This book is the culmination of a research project by an elder of the Dharawal people, she has compiled verifiable knowledge from various knowledge holders of the Dharawal.  If you can't find it before you get here, they sell it in the shop at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney.  It is beautifully illustrated and authoritative.  Highly recommended for all ages.