Great local stories from our non-ficiton catalogue

The Call of the Outback cover image

The Call of the Outback

by Marianne van Velzen

The remarkable story of Ernestine Hill, nomad, adventurer and trailblazer.

Long before Robyn Davidson wrote Tracks, the extraordinary Ernestine Hill was renowned for her intrepid travels across Australia's vast outback.

After the birth of her illegitimate son, Ernestine Hill abandoned her comfortable urban life as a journalist for a nomadic one, writing about this country's vast interior and bringing the outback into the popular imagination of Australians.

Call of the Outback provides a vivid portrait of Ernestine, from the early brilliance she showed as a child in Brisbane to her later life... more

Larrikins, Bush Tales and Other Great Australian Stories cover image

Larrikins, Bush Tales and Other Great Australian Stories

by Graham Seal

'Full of interesting yarns, tall tales and intriguing details that come to life in a fascinating storyscape' - Robyn Floyd

Yarns, legends, myths, jokes and anecdotes are our national lifeblood. The home-grown and borrowed tales, told and re-told over generations, offer an insight into the larger national story of which every Australian has a part... Was Breaker Morant the Gatton murderer? What happened to Sniffling Jimmy and Black Mary?

We revisit some of the most colourful characters in Australia's past, and the stories that have grown around them... more

The Big Book of Australian Racing Stories cover image

The Big Book of Australian Racing Stories

by Jim Haynes

Great tales of the turf from Jorrocks to Black Caviar

Jim Haynes, Australia's favourite tale teller, loves the sport of kings as much as he loves Aussie yarns and bush verse. From country picnic tracks to the thoroughbred racecourses of Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne, from Archer to Black Caviar, from the mysterious punter Louis the Possum to the great trainer Bart Cummings, he brings these two great loves together in the biggest book of Australian racing stories ever.

This rich collection captures the heart and soul of the turf and reminds us exactly why a day at the races and having a punt are such an important part of the Australian spirit... more

Gotta Love This Country! cover image

Gotta Love This Country!

by Peter FitzSimons

Great stories from around Australia to lift your heart, make you laugh and puff out your chest

You gotta love this country when an AFL legend takes his mum instead of his girlfriend to the Brownlow, when an Australian cricket captain joins a bunch of fourteen year olds for a bit of street cricket, when a bloke wins the Australian Marbles Championship after being reunited with the tom-bowlers his brother threw away forty years ago, and when the dry cleaner down the road is called Drop Your Pants.

Peter FitzSimons celebrates the good, the generous, the kind and the downright strange in this hilarious and heart- warming collection of stories from daily life and grassroots sporting fields around the country... more

The Bush cover image

The Bush: Travels in the Heart of Australia

by Don Watson

Most Australians live in cities and cling to the coastal fringe, yet our sense of what an Australian is - or should be - is drawn from the vast and varied inland called the bush.

But what do we mean by 'the bush', and how has it shaped us?

Starting with his forebears' battle to drive back nature and eke a living from the land, Don Watson explores the bush as it was and as it now is: the triumphs and the ruination, the commonplace and the bizarre, the stories we like to tell about ourselves and the national character, and those we don't... more

Beyond the Ladies Lounge: Australia's Female Publicans cover image

Beyond the Ladies Lounge: Australia's Female Publicans

by Clare Wright

Clare Wright's award-winning research challenges the myth that the Australian pub is a male domain, revealing the enduring and dynamic presence of female publicans behind the bar. Wright takes the reader on a pub crawl through this history: from Sarah Bird, the 27-year-old convict who was Australia's first female licensee, to Big Poll the Grog Seller, the miners' darling on the goldfields, to Cheryl Barassi and Dawn Fraser in recent years.

Handsomely illustrated and weaving oral history interviews, archival sources, folk songs, bush ballads and other popular literature throughout the narrative, this groundbreaking book exposes the remarkable visibility and dominance of women in Australian hotel-keeping culture... more

Green Nomads cover image

Green Nomads

by Bob Brown

Green Nomads is a celebration of Australia's wilderness areas, and we surely have something to celebrate.

The landscape and close-up photographs of Australia's natural landscape are etherial yet familiar, calming yet powerful. Paired with Bob's personal and insightful anecdotes, there is not doubt that this book will appeal to travellers, tourists, conservationists and all those that enjoy the wilderness. Bob Brown takes us on a journey across Australia, visiting Bush Heritage sites and sharing the beauty and diversity they represent... more

The Forgotten Notebook cover image

The Forgotten Notebook

by Betty Churcher

In the 1990s, Betty Churcher drew her way around the galleries of the world as she arranged artwork loans for blockbuster exhibitions at the National Gallery of Australia. In 2014 she discovered a sketchbook she had forgotten and decided to create a final companion volume to her bestselling Notebooks series. She wrote the manuscript in six months, but died shortly after completing it.

Betty's sketches and notes bring their artworks to life as she explores the stories of how they were created and reveals each artist's influences... more

Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden cover image

Wendy Whiteley and the Secret Garden

by Janet Hawley

'I've loved making this garden. It's been a great gift to my life. It let me find myself again, and it's my gift to share with the public.'

For more than twenty years Wendy Whiteley has worked to create a public garden at the foot of her harbourside home in Sydney's Lavender Bay. This is the extraordinary story of how a determined, passionate and deeply creative woman has slowly transformed an overgrown wasteland into a beautiful sanctuary for everyone to enjoy - and in the process, transformed herself... more

The Mud House cover image

The Mud House: How Four Friends Built a Place in the Australian Bush

by Richard Glover

'One day,' Philip said, 'I'd like to build something bigger... Like a house. We could just buy a block of land, you know, the four of us, and have a go.'

It was just an idea. then it started to take shape. In this frank, funny and thought-provoking memoir, Richard Glover describes how he and his friend Philip and their partners built a house in the bush on weekends.

It was a huge and exhausting undertaking... not least because they decided to use mudbricks... more