Australia, Books

Books Set In Australia: Australian Novels

I’m lucky to call the land down under home and generally tackle books set in Australia when I’m heading there for a visit. There’s something about adding to the anticipation by immersing myself in stories that describe gum trees and bush, red earth and the outback. 🐨

I find I never tend to read books set in Australia when I’m outside of the country; I think I fear they’ll bring about a great sense of melancholy and homesickness. This leaves me little time for reading about my motherland and means my ‘to read’ list is incredibly long. To help make sense of this inspiring (but overwhelming) list the following titles are arranged by date of publication.

During my last few visits I enjoyed reading both Tracks, an inspiring tale and The Slap, a polarizing read. Though I still have many classics to devour, for my next trip I’ll be turning to some of the contemporary works shortlisted for The Stella Prize; a literary award celebrating Australian women’s writing. Notable nominees from the past few years include memoir The Hate Race, mythical The Swan Book and The Strays, a story set in Melbourne’s 1930s art scene.

 

Books Set In Australia

Books Set In Australia - Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

1.
Seven Little Australians
by Ethel Turner, 1894

19th century Australia: Captain Woolcot, having lost his wife tragically young, remarried a much younger young woman to provide his six children with a new mother. Together, they had another child, making seven. The Captain felt it was necessary to run the family with army discipline, but his rules and regulations were no match for the fun loving children, led by the redoubtable Judy.

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Books Set In Australia - My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

2.
My Brilliant Career
by Miles Franklin, 1901

My Brilliant Career is the story of Sybylla, a headstrong young girl growing up in early 20th century Australia. Sybylla rejects the opportunity to marry a wealthy young man in order to maintain her independence. As a consequence she must take a job as a governess to a local family to which her father is indebted. My Brilliant Career is an early romantic novel by this popular Australian author.

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Books Set In Australia - We of the Never Never by Jeannie Gunn. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

3.
We of the Never Never
by Jeannie Gunn, 1907

In 1902, newly-married Jeannie Gunn (Mrs Aeneas Gunn) left the security and comfort of her Melbourne home to travel to the depths of the Northern Territory, where her husband had been appointed manager of ‘The Elsey’, a large cattle station. One of the very few white women in the area, she was at first resented by people on and around the station, till her warmth and spirit won their affection and respect.

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Books Set In Australia - The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

4.
The Man Who Loved Children
by Christina Stead, 1940

Every family lives in an evolving story, told by all its members, inside a landscape of portentous events and characters. Their view of themselves is not shared by people looking from outside in – visitors, and particularly not relatives – for they have to see something pretty humdrum, even if, as in this case, the fecklessness they complain of is extreme.

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Books Set In Australia - The Harp in the South by Ruth Park. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

5.
The Harp in the South
by Ruth Park, 1948

The Harp in the South is a nostalgic and moving portrait of the eventful family life of the Darcys of Number Twelve-and-a-Half Plymouth Street in Surry Hills, a Sydney slum. There grow the bitter-sweet first and last loves of Roie Darcy, who becomes a woman too quickly amid the brothels and the razor gangs, the tenements and the sly-grog shops. Ruth Park is a classic storyteller. In this novel she brings to life a community where, despite the odds, life is always exuberant and full of promise.

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Books Set In Australia - A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

6.
A Town Like Alice
by Nevil Shute, 1950

Jean Paget, a young Englishwoman living in Malaya, is captured by the invading Japanese and forced on a brutal seven-month death march with dozens of other women and children. A few years after the war, Jean is back in England, the nightmare behind her. However, an unexpected inheritance inspires her to return to Malaya to give something back to the villagers who saved her life. Jean’s travels leads her to a desolate Australian outpost called Willstown, where she finds a challenge that will draw on all the resourcefulness and spirit that carried her through her war-time ordeals.

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Books Set In Australia - The Shiralee by D’Arcy Niland. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

7.
The Shiralee
by D’Arcy Niland, 1955

The Shiralee tells the story of the itinerant rural worker Macauley – sometimes described as a ‘swagman’ or ‘swaggie’ – who suddenly finds himself taking responsibility for his child. Having returned from ‘walkabout’, he finds his wife entwined in the arms of another, and so he takes his four-year-old daughter, Buster, with him. The child is the ‘shiralee’, an Aboriginal word meaning ‘burden’. In their time together, father and daughter explore new depths of understanding and bonding. The barren landscapes of the outback are central to the swagman’s love for his country and provide a backdrop to the richness of his developing relationship with Buster.

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Books Set In Australia - On the Beach by Nevil Shute. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

8.
On the Beach
by Nevil Shute, 1957

After a nuclear World War III has destroyed most of the globe, the few remaining survivors in southern Australia await the radioactive cloud that is heading their way and bringing certain death to everyone in its path. Among them is an American submarine captain struggling to resist the knowledge that his wife and children in the United States must be dead. Then a faint Morse code signal is picked up, transmitting from somewhere near Seattle, and Captain Towers must lead his submarine crew on a bleak tour of the ruined world in a desperate search for signs of life. On the Beach is a remarkably convincing portrait of how ordinary people might face the most unimaginable nightmare.

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Books Set In Australia - My Brother Jack by George Johnston. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

9.
My Brother Jack
by George Johnston, 1964

Through the story of two brothers who grew up in patriotic, suburban Melbourne, George Johnston created an enduring exploration of two Australian myths – that of the man who loses his soul as he gains worldly success, and that of the tough, honest, Aussie battler.

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Books Set In Australia - Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

10.
Picnic at Hanging Rock
by Joan Lindsay, 1967

It was a cloudless summer day in the year nineteen hundred.

Everyone at Appleyard College for Young Ladies agreed it was just right for a picnic at Hanging Rock. After lunch, a group of three of the girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun, pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of Hanging Rock. Further, higher, till at last they disappeared. They never returned.

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Books Set In Australia - Monkey Grip by Helen Garner. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

11.
Monkey Grip
by Helen Garner, 1977

In Monkey Grip, Helen Garner charts the lives of a generation. Her characters are exploring new ways of loving and living – and nothing is harder than learning to love lightly. Nora and Javo are trapped in a desperate relationship. Nora’s addiction is romantic love; Javo’s is hard drugs. The harder they pull away, the tighter the monkey grip. A lyrical, gritty, rough-edged novel that deserves its place as a classic of Australian fiction.

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Books Set In Australia - The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

12.
The Thorn Birds
by Colleen McCullough, 1977

Powered by the dreams and struggles of three generations, The Thorn Birds is the epic saga of a family rooted in the Australian sheep country. At the story’s heart is the love of Meggie Cleary, who can never possess the man she desperately adores, and Ralph de Bricassart, who rises from parish priest to the inner circles of the Vatican…but whose passion for Meggie will follow him all the days of his life.

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Books Set In Australia - Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback by Robyn Davidson. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

13.
Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback
by Robyn Davidson, 1980

Robyn Davidson’s opens the memoir of her perilous journey across 1,700 miles of hostile Australian desert to the sea with only four camels and a dog for company with the following words: “I experienced that sinking feeling you get when you know you have conned yourself into doing something difficult and there’s no going back.”

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Books Set In Australia - A Fortunate Life by Albert B. Facey. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

14.
A Fortunate Life
by Albert B. Facey, 1981

This is the extraordinary life of an ordinary man. It is the story of Albert Facey, who lived with simple honesty, compassion and courage. A parentless boy who started work at eight on the rough West Australian frontier, he struggled as an itinerant rural worker, survived the gore of Gallipoli, the loss of his farm in the Depression, the death of his son in World War II and that of his beloved wife after sixty devoted years – yet he felt that his life was fortunate.

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Books Set In Australia - The Plains by Gerald Murnane. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

15.
The Plains
by Gerald Murnane, 1982

On their vast estates, the landowning families of the plains have preserved a rich and distinctive culture. Obsessed with their own habitat and history, they hire artisans, writers and historians to record in minute detail every aspect of their lives, and the nature of their land. A young film-maker arrives on the plains, hoping to make his own contribution to the elaboration of this history. In a private library he begins to take notes for a film, and chooses the daughter of his patron for a leading role.

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Books Set In Australia - The Bodysurfers by Robert Drewe. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

16.
The Bodysurfers
by Robert Drewe, 1984

Set among the surf and sandhills of the Australian beach – and the tidal changes of three generations of the Lang family – this bestselling collection of short stories is an Australian classic. The Bodysurfers vividly evokes the beach, with the scent of the suntan oil, the sting of the sun and a lazy sensuality, all the while hinting at a deep undercurrent of suburban malaise.

From first publication, these poignant and seductive stories marked a major change in Australian literature.

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Books Set In Australia - Henry Lawson: Short Stories by Henry Lawson. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

17.
Henry Lawson: Short Stories
by Henry Lawson, 1986

Henry Lawson is too often regarded as a legend rather than a writer to be enjoyed. In this selection John Barnes reveals Lawson not only as a writer who has delighted past generations. His short stories, some humourous, some wry, some moving are, above all, enjoyable.

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Books Set In Australia - The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

18.
The Songlines
by Bruce Chatwin, 1987

In this extraordinary book, Bruce Chatwin has adapted a literary form common until the eighteenth century though rare in ours; a story of ideas in which two companions, traveling and talking together, explore the hopes and dreams that animate both them and the people they encounter. Set in almost uninhabitable regions of Central Australia, The Songlines asks and tries to answer these questions: Why is man the most restless, dissatisfied of animals? Why do wandering people conceive the world as perfect whereas sedentary ones always try to change it? Why have the great teachers – Christ or the Buddha – recommended the Road as the way. to salvation? Do we agree with Pascal that all man’s troubles stem from his inability to sit quietly in a room?

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Books Set In Australia - Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

19.
Oscar and Lucinda
by Peter Carey, 1988

Oscar is a young English clergyman who has broken with his past and developed a disturbing talent for gambling. A country girl of singular ambition, Lucinda moves to Sydney, driven by dreams of self-reliance and the building of an industrial Utopia. Together this unlikely pair create and are created by the spectacle of mid-nineteenth century Australia.

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Books Set In Australia - Cloudstreet by Tim Winton. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

20.
Cloudstreet
by Tim Winton, 1991

Struggling to rebuild their lives after being touched by disaster, the Pickle family, who’ve inherited a big house called Cloudstreet in a suburb of Perth, take in the God-fearing Lambs as tenants. The Lambs have suffered their own catastrophes, and determined to survive, they open up a grocery on the ground floor. From 1944 to 1964, the shared experiences of the two overpopulated clans – running the gamut from drunkenness, adultery, and death to resurrection, marriage, and birth – bond them to each other and to the bustling, haunted house in ways no one could have anticipated.

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Books Set In Australia - Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

21.
Looking for Alibrandi
by Melina Marchetta, 1992

For as long as Josephine Alibrandi can remember, it’s just been her, her mom, and her grandmother. Now it’s her final year at a wealthy Catholic high school. The nuns couldn’t be any stricter – but that doesn’t seem to stop all kinds of men from coming into her life.

Caught between the old-world values of her Italian grandmother, the nononsense wisdom of her mom, and the boys who continue to mystify her, Josephine is on the ride of her life. This will be the year she falls in love, the year she discovers the secrets of her family’s past – and the year she sets herself free.

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Books Set In Australia - Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

22.
Tomorrow, When the War Began
by John Marsden, 1993

When Ellie and her friends return from a camping trip in the Australian bush, they find things hideously wrong – their families are gone. Gradually they begin to comprehend that their country has been invaded and everyone in their town has been taken prisoner. As the reality of the situation hits them, they must make a decision – run and hide, give themselves up and be with their families, or fight back.

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Books Set In Australia - He Died With A Felafel In His Hand by John Birmingham. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

23.
He Died With A Felafel In His Hand
by John Birmingham, 1994

Cult shared-housing comedy classic. These hilarious tales of urban terror reveal the dark truth hidden behind three seemingly innocent words – a phrase that you have seen a hundred times before but will never view in the same light again – wanted to share. John Birmingham’s rendering of a life in share houses will leave you laughing, cringing and reminiscing about your own brushes with the mad, add residents of flatmate hell.

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Books Set In Australia - Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

24.
Rabbit-Proof Fence
by Doris Pilkington, 1996

Following an Australian government edict in 1931, black aboriginal children and children of mixed marriages were gathered up by whites and taken to settlements to be assimilated. In Rabbit-Proof Fence, award-winning author Doris Pilkington traces the captivating story of her mother, Molly, one of three young girls uprooted from her community in Southwestern Australia and taken to the Moore River Native Settlement. At the settlement, Milly and her relatives Gracie and Daisy were forbidden to speak their native language, forced to abandon their aboriginal heritage, and taught to be culturally white. After regular stays in solitary confinement, the three girls scared and homesick planned and executed a daring escape from the grim camp, with its harsh life of padlocks, barred windows, and hard cold beds.

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Books Set In Australia - Candy by Luke Davies. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

25.
Candy
by Luke Davies, 1997

He met Candy amid a lush Sydney summer. Gorgeous, sexy, free-spirited Candy. They fell in love fast, lots of laughter and lust, the days melting warmly into each other. He never planned to give her a habit. But she wanted a taste. And wasn’t love, after all, about sharing lives? Candy had a bit of money and in the beginning, everything was beautiful. Heady, heroin-hazed days, the world open and inviting. But when the money ran out, the craving remained, and the days ceased their luxurious stretch.

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Books Set In Australia - Eucalyptus by Murray Bail. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

26.
Eucalyptus
by Murray Bail, 1998

The gruff widower Holland has two possessions he cherishes above all others: his sprawling property of eucalyptus trees and his ravishingly beautiful daughter, Ellen.

When Ellen turns nineteen Holland makes an announcement: she may marry only the man who can correctly name the species of each of the hundreds of gum trees on his property. Ellen is uninterested in the many suitors who arrive from around the world, until one afternoon she chances on a strange, handsome young man resting under a Coolibah tree.

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Books Set In Australia - True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

27.
True History of the Kelly Gang
by Peter Carey, 2000

In True History of the Kelly Gang, the legendary Ned Kelly speaks for himself, scribbling his narrative on errant scraps of paper in semiliterate but magically descriptive prose as he flees from the police. To his pursuers, Kelly is nothing but a monstrous criminal, a thief and a murderer. To his own people, the lowly class of ordinary Australians, the bushranger is a hero, defying the authority of the English to direct their lives. Indentured by his bootlegger mother to a famous horse thief (who was also her lover), Ned saw his first prison cell at 15 and by the age of 26 had become the most wanted man in the wild colony of Victoria, taking over whole towns and defying the law until he was finally captured and hanged. Here is a classic outlaw tale, made alive by the skill of a great novelist.

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Books Set In Australia - I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

28.
I Am the Messenger
by Markus Zusak, 2002

Ed Kennedy is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He’s pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That’s when the first ace arrives in the mail.

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Books Set In Australia - The Secret River by Kate Grenville. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

29.
The Secret River
by Kate Grenville, 2005

In 1806 William Thornhill, an illiterate English bargeman and a man of quick temper but deep compassion, steals a load of wood and, as a part of his lenient sentence, is deported, along with his beloved wife, Sal, to the New South Wales colony in what would become Australia. The Secret River is the tale of William and Sal’s deep love for their small, exotic corner of the new world, and William’s gradual realization that if he wants to make a home for his family, he must forcibly take the land from the people who came before him. Acclaimed around the world, The Secret River is a magnificent, transporting work of historical fiction.

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Books Set In Australia - Carpentaria by Alexis Wright. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

30.
Carpentaria
by Alexis Wright, 2006

Alexis Wright employs mysticism, stark reality, and pointed imagination to re-create the land and the Aboriginal people of Carpentaria.

In the sparsely populated northern Queensland town of Desperance, loyalties run deep and battle lines have been drawn between the powerful Phantom family, leaders of the Westend Pricklebush people, and Joseph Midnight’s renegade Eastend mob, and their disputes with the white officials of neighboring towns. Steeped in myth and magical realism, Wright’s hypnotic storytelling exposes the heartbreaking realities of Aboriginal life.

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Books Set In Australia - Dirt Music by Tim Winton. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

31.
Dirt Music
by Tim Winton, 2008

Luther Fox, a loner, haunted by his past, makes his living as an illegal fisherman, a shamateur. Before everyone in his family was killed in a freak rollover, he grew melons and played guitar in the family band. Robbed of all that, he has turned his back on music. There’s too much emotion in it, too much memory and pain.

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Books Set In Australia - A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

32.
A Fraction of the Whole
by Steve Toltz, 2008

For most of his life, Jasper Dean couldn’t decide whether to pity, hate, love, or murder his certifiably paranoid father, Martin, a man who overanalyzed anything and everything and imparted his self-garnered wisdom to his only son. But now that Martin is dead, Jasper can fully reflect on the crackpot who raised him in intellectual captivity, and what he realizes is that, for all its lunacy, theirs was a grand adventure.

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Books Set In Australia - The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

33.
The Slap
by Christos Tsiolkas, 2008

At a suburban barbecue, a man slaps a child who is not his own.

This event has a shocking ricochet effect on a group of people, mostly friends, who are directly or indirectly influenced by the slap.

In this remarkable novel, Christos Tsiolkas turns his unflinching and all-seeing eye onto that which connects us all: the modern family and domestic life in the twenty-first century. The Slap is told from the points of view of eight people who were present at the barbecue. The slap and its consequences force them all to question their own families and the way they live, their expectations, beliefs and desires.

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Books Set In Australia - Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

34.
Jasper Jones
by Craig Silvey, 2009

Late on a hot summer night in 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan.

Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress. Jasper takes him to his secret glade in the bush, and it’s here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper’s horrible discovery.

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Books Set In Australia - Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

35.
Stolen: A Letter to My Captor
by Lucy Christopher, 2009

It happened like this. I was stolen from an airport. Taken from everything I knew, everything I was used to. Taken to sand and heat, dirt and danger. And he expected me to love him.

This is my story. A letter from nowhere.

Sixteen-year-old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back?

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Books Set In Australia - That Deadman Dance by Kim Scott. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

36.
That Deadman Dance
by Kim Scott, 2010

Big-hearted, moving and richly rewarding, That Deadman Dance is set in the first decades of the 19th century in the area around what is now Albany, Western Australia. In playful, musical prose, the book explores the early contact between the Aboriginal Noongar people and the first European settlers.

The novel’s hero is a young Noongar man named Bobby Wabalanginy. Clever, resourceful and eager to please, Bobby befriends the new arrivals, joining them hunting whales, tilling the land, exploring the hinterland and establishing the fledgling colony. He is even welcomed into a prosperous local white family where he falls for the daughter, Christine, a beautiful young woman who sees no harm in a liaison with a native.

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Books Set In Australia - Lost Voices by Christopher J. Koch. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

37.
Lost Voices
by Christopher J. Koch, 2012

Young Hugh Dixon believes he can save his father from ruin if he asks his estranged great-uncle Walter – a wealthy lawyer who lives alone in a Tasmanian farmhouse passed down through the family – for help. As he is drawn into Walter′s rarefied world, Hugh discovers that both his uncle and the farmhouse are links to a notorious episode in the mid nineteenth century.

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Books Set In Australia - Mateship With Birds by Carrie Tiffany. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

38.
Mateship With Birds
by Carrie Tiffany, 2012

On the outskirts of an Australian country town in the 1950s, a lonely farmer trains his binoculars on a family of kookaburras that roost in a tree near his house. Harry observes the kookaburras through a year of feast, famine, birth, death, war, romance and song. As Harry watches the birds, his next door neighbour has her own set of binoculars trained on him. Ardent, hard-working Betty has escaped to the country with her two fatherless children. Betty is pleased that her son, Michael, wants to spend time with the gentle farmer next door. But when Harry decides to teach Michael about the opposite sex, perilous boundaries are crossed.

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Books Set In Australia - Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

39.
Questions of Travel
by Michelle de Kretser, 2012

A mesmerising literary novel, Questions of Travel charts two very different lives. Laura travels the world before returning to Sydney, where she works for a publisher of travel guides. Ravi dreams of being a tourist until he is driven from Sri Lanka by devastating events.

Around these two superbly drawn characters, a double narrative assembles an enthralling array of people, places and stories – from Theo, whose life plays out in the long shadow of the past, to Hana, an Ethiopian woman determined to reinvent herself in Australia.

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Books Set In Australia - The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

40.
The Light Between Oceans
by M.L. Stedman, 2012

A captivating, beautiful, and stunningly accomplished debut novel that opens in 1918 Australia – the story of a lighthouse keeper and his wife who make one devastating choice that forever changes two worlds.

Australia, 1926. After four harrowing years fighting on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns home to take a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where the supply boat comes once a season and shore leaves are granted every other year at best, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.

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Books Set In Australia - The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

41.
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
by Richard Flanagan, 2013

A novel of the cruelty of war, and tenuousness of life and the impossibility of love.

Richard Flanagan’s story – of Dorrigo Evans, an Australian doctor haunted by a love affair with his uncle’s wife – journeys from the caves of Tasmanian trappers in the early twentieth century to a crumbling pre-war beachside hotel, from a Thai jungle prison to a Japanese snow festival, from the Changi gallows to a chance meeting of lovers on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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Books Set In Australia - The Swan Book by Alexis Wright. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

42.
The Swan Book
by Alexis Wright, 2013

The Swan Book is set in the future, with Aboriginals still living under the Intervention in the north, in an environment fundamentally altered by climate change. It follows the life of a mute young woman called Oblivia, the victim of gang-rape by petrol-sniffing youths, from the displaced community where she lives in a hulk, in a swamp filled with rusting boats, and thousands of black swans, to her marriage to Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia, and her elevation to the position of First Lady, confined to a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city.

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Books Set In Australia - The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

43.
The Rosie Project
by Graeme Simsion, 2013

Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver.

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Books Set In Australia - The Strays by Emily Bitto. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

44.
The Strays
by Emily Bitto, 2014

On her first day at a new school, Lily meets Eva, one of the daughters of the infamous avant-garde painter Evan Trentham. He and his wife are attempting to escape the stifling conservatism of 1930s Australia by inviting other like-minded artists to live and work with them at their family home. As Lily’s friendship with Eva grows, she becomes infatuated with this makeshift family and longs to truly be a part of it.

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Books Set In Australia - Hope Farm by Peggy Frew. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

45.
Hope Farm
by Peggy Frew, 2015

It is the winter of 1985. Hope Farm sticks out of the ragged landscape like a decaying tooth, its weatherboard walls sagging into the undergrowth. Silver’s mother, Ishtar, has fallen for the charismatic Miller, and the three of them have moved to the rural hippie commune to make a new start.

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Books Set In Australia - Quicksand by Steve Toltz. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

46.
Quicksand
by Steve Toltz, 2015

Liam is a struggling writer and a failing cop. Aldo, his best friend and muse, is a haplessly criminal entrepreneur with an uncanny knack for disaster. As Aldo’s luck worsens, Liam is inspired to base his next book on his best friend’s exponential misfortunes and hopeless quest to win back his one great love: his ex-wife, Stella. What begins as an attempt to make sense of Aldo’s mishaps spirals into a profound story of faith and friendship.

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Books Set In Australia - The Other Side of the World by Stephanie Bishop. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

47.
The Other Side of the World
by Stephanie Bishop, 2015

Cambridge 1963. Charlotte struggles to reconnect with the woman she was before children, and to find the time and energy to paint. Her husband, Henry, cannot face the thought of another English winter. A brochure slipped through the letterbox gives him the answer: ‘Australia brings out the best in you’.

Charlotte is too worn out to resist, and before she knows it is travelling to the other side of the world. But on their arrival in Perth, the southern sun shines a harsh light on both Henry and Charlotte and slowly reveals that their new life is not the answer either was hoping for.

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Books Set In Australia - Talking To My Country by Stan Grant. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

48.
Talking To My Country
by Stan Grant, 2016

An extraordinarily powerful and personal meditation on race, culture and national identity.

Talking to My Country is that rare and special book that talks to every Australian about their country – what it is, and what it could be. It is not just about race, or about indigenous people but all of us, our shared identity. Direct, honest and forthright, Stan is talking to us all. He might not have all the answers but he wants us to keep on asking the question: how can we be better?

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Books Set In Australia - The Hate Race by Maxine Beneba Clarke. For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

49.
The Hate Race
by Maxine Beneba Clarke, 2016

‘Against anything I had ever been told was possible, I was turning white. On the surface of my skin, a miracle was quietly brewing…’

Suburban Australia. Sweltering heat. Three bedroom blonde-brick. Family of five. Beat-up Ford Falcon. Vegemite on toast. Maxine Beneba Clarke’s life is just like all the other Aussie kids on her street.

Except for this one, glaring, inescapably obvious thing.

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What do you think of these books set in Australia?

Have a great book recommendation I’ve missed? I’d love to hear about more books set in Australia in the comments below!

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Australia Reading Challenge, Books Set In Australia - For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. reading challenge, australia reading challenge, book challenge, books you must read, books from around the world, world books, books and travel, travel reading list, reading list, books around the world, books to read, australia books, australia books novels, australia travel

Books Set In Australia - For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

Books Set In Australia - For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

Books Set In Australia - For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

Books Set In Australia - For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

Books Set In Australia - For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

Books Set In Australia - For more books visit www.taleway.com to find books set around the world. Ideas for those who like to travel, both in life and in fiction. australian books, books and travel, travel reads, reading list, books around the world, books to read, books set in different countries, australia

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10 Comments

  • Reply Sara February 27, 2018 at 9:47 pm

    I just devoured 2 books by Jane Harper in a week, Australia based storylines “The Dry” & “Force of Nature”. She is definitely a author I’ll be keeping my eye on for future books!!

    • Reply Ash at Tale Away February 28, 2018 at 5:31 am

      Hi Sara, thanks so much for commenting! Two in a week is impressive, these sound like incredible reads! Thank you for the wonderful recommendation – they’re now on my to-read list 🙂

  • Reply Rachel @ Never Enough Novels June 11, 2018 at 12:23 am

    This is such an extensive list! I visited Australia for work a few times, so it’s exciting to relive that experience through books.

    • Reply Ash at Tale Away June 15, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      Thanks Rachel, this list is probably a little long! 🙂 I couldn’t agree more though, I love reliving a place through literature. Hope these transport you back to Australia!

  • Reply Leisha Camden August 6, 2018 at 1:44 pm

    Hey, I’m trying to subscribe here, but am told that “that address already subscribed” – which seems strange since I can’t recall ever hearing of you before, and more to the point have never received any emails from you. Then I thought I’d try contacting you on Twitter, but when I searched for your address (as below) it came up with no results. What gives?

    • Reply Ash at Tale Away September 23, 2018 at 8:31 pm

      Hi Leisha, not sure what’s happening here! I’ve double checked and there’s no sign of you ever being subscribed to our mailing list, so you might have to try again. We don’t use Twitter for Tale Away, which explains why you couldn’t find us there. Please let me know if you have any further problems subscribing!

  • Reply Cathy August 26, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    The Sundowners by Jon Cleary

    • Reply Ash at Tale Away September 23, 2018 at 8:45 pm

      Thanks for the tip Cathy! I was curious about this one, so did a little looking around and was pleased to find the book was written in 1952 and is set in the outback during the 1920’s (so there are some great covers around). It’s success led to a number of adaptations for radio and the screen too!

  • Reply Albert Fenton September 5, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    Where on earth is Patrick White! The greatest Australian novelist of the 20th. century. Unbelievable omission!

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