View Full Version : Books set Down Under?

06-16-2015, 12:32 AM
I'm finishing up Darwin and Evolution and I was hoping to find books set in Australia/New Zealand. (historical a plus, fiction and nonfiction)

I've search but have only come up with a few.

Any suggestions are welcome!

06-16-2015, 02:05 AM
Not a book, but it ties in nicely with evolution... Nova has this show on history of the world through places in Australia.
NOVA | Australia: First 4 Billion Years (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/australia-first-years.html)
Beautiful scenery and a sense of scale of the country.

The only other books set in Australia I can think of right now is The Thorn Birds... (the authkr died this year), and Man from Snowy River. Both have movies, yay. And The Piano, but that might be New Zealand. Thorn Birds and Piano not the best movies for 6-7yr olds, tho. ;)

06-16-2015, 08:12 AM
Audrey of the Outback (http://www.amazon.com/Audrey-Outback-Christine-Harris/dp/1742977952/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1434456595&sr=8-1&keywords=audrey+of+the+outback&pebp=1434456594306&perid=02Q09RXYXFFSXY24XQ3Q):

"In this story about identity and independence, the gutsy girl from the bush tries being a farmer, a man, a teacher, and a pirate—all with dire consequences!
Audrey is a 1930s outback girl with a lot on her mind. Her dad has gone away to work; her brother Price thinks he's too old for games; and little Dougie likes pretending to be a bird. So together with her best friend Stumpy, Audrey ponders some of life's big questions—like whether being a swaggie (or bush traveler, as explained in the handy glossary) is lonelier than being a girl, and whether it's better to be a sheep or a cow. Determined, mischievous, imaginative, and inquisitive, Audrey is Australia's response to Pippi Longstocking and Ramona Quimby."

06-16-2015, 10:30 AM
Found this link: Historical Novels: Australasia (http://www.historicalnovels.info/Australasia.html)

Being a Kiwi, I am going to suggest a few specific NZ novels that are considered "must reads":

The Whale Rider (http://www.amazon.com/Whale-Rider-Witi-Ihimaera-ebook/dp/B00AFQXZLU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434465495&sr=1-1&keywords=whale+rider&pebp=1434465507478&perid=0SX9P7A69YWTFVPSZX9P) by Witi Ihimaera - a story about a girl's coming of age and going against the traditions set for girls in the Maori culture.

The Bone People (http://www.amazon.com/Bone-People-Novel-Keri-Hulme/dp/0140089225/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434465140&sr=1-1&keywords=the+bone+people&pebp=1434465160512&perid=09H6YV46228BZ4CFC5TQ) by Keri Hulme - an in-depth look at three people's search to find out what love is (it's not a romance) and how they fit into the world while making discoveries about themselves.

Under the Mountain (http://www.amazon.com/Under-Mountain-Maurice-Gee-ebook/dp/B00BE7AALC/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434465065&sr=1-1&keywords=under+the+mountain&pebp=1434465075286&perid=03ER2NK9S4NJ8CF52XSS) by Maurice Gee - twins with (at first unrealised) powers discover that ancient creatures who have been living under the volcanic mountains in NZ plan to take over the world (this is a kids' book suitable for middle- and high-school age).

Salt (http://www.amazon.com/Salt-Trilogy-Book-1/dp/1554692091/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1434465191&sr=1-1&keywords=salt+maurice+gee&pebp=1434465245153&perid=1ZWHZRRQTDZKG17WM1EB) by Maurice Gee - a post-apocalyptic setting that is basically a look at race-relations between the Maori and Pakeha (Maori term for white people), it is set in the future and, similarly to Under the Mountain, two young people are integral to the story.

Margaret Mahy was a hugely prolific children's author. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_works_by_Margaret_Mahy

Almost all New Zealand authors include some aspect of what is considered "Kiwi culture" that is, how the Maori culture brings a very singular quality to New Zealand life; this is reflected in books written by Kiwi authors and set in NZ.


06-16-2015, 11:28 AM
My Aussie friend suggested Bottersnikes and Gumbles. I have Blue Back by Tim Winton, although we haven't read it yet.


06-17-2015, 12:13 AM
Thank you!

I'll be looking through some of this for a while.

Except the Thorn Nirds and Piano, I could use brain bleach after the Piano (and I saw it years and years ago.)

06-17-2015, 08:18 AM
Just a thought - the books I've suggested have mostly been suitable for older kids, teens and adults. As you have a 6 & a 7 year old, do have a good look through Margaret Mahy's collection, as she is basically a children's author only. And Maurice Gee's books would make great read-alouds - particularly Under the Mountain (which was a 1981 mini-series in NZ and also a 2009 movie with Sam Neill).

06-29-2015, 12:28 AM
Tom Appleby, Convict Boyby Jackie French (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/221556.Jackie_French)

This is a historical fiction about a boy convicted of a theft and sent to Australia on the convict ships. It was pretty good, I learned quite a bit. They don't teach much if anything about how Australia was 'colonized' in American schools.... at least not mine.

06-29-2015, 12:48 AM
Rabbit Proof Fence

While this is a movie, there should be books on the topic of aboriginal children being taken from their homes for colonial education, much like what happened here in the U.S.