Book Reviews

The HTAV receives books and other educational materials on a regular basis for the purpose of reviewing in Agora. We are always looking for teachers willing to offer their services as reviewers of these resources. If you are interested in reviewing one of the titles listed here please contact Jo Clyne at joclyne@htav.asn.au. Of course, all our reviewers are invited to keep books reviewed with our compliments.

Writing your review
Reviews should be between 500 and 1500 words long and be submitted to Jo Clyne in Word format within about two months of receiving the book. We invite reviews of titles in a variety of formats (e.g. textbooks, novels, journals, picture books, audio-visual materials) and on a range of historical subjects.

Reviewers should identify the book's title, author, publisher and year of publication. They should give a brief summary of the overall content and then focus on specific aspects, discussing the quality and usefulness of the written content and the images/illustrations; where applicable, classroom application of the material should be stated. Reviewers are expected to comment on the strengths and limitations of the title while maintaining a respectful tone at all times. They should cite specific examples from the work and comment on the merits of the work as a whole. Contributors with close links to institutions or companies should avoid reviewing titles published by these bodies.

The HTAV endeavours to publish all reviews received in their original form. However, we reserve the right to edit or reject submissions, or hold items over for later publication.

TITLES CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FOR REVIEW

The Aboriginal Story of Burke and Wills
(ed.) Ian D. Clark & Fred Cahir, CSIRO Publishing, 2016

The Aboriginal Story of Burke and Wills is the first major study of Aboriginal associations with the Burke and Wills expedition of 1860–61. A main theme of the book is the contrast between the skills, perceptions and knowledge of the Indigenous people and those of the new arrivals, and the extent to which this affected the outcome of the expedition.

The book offers a reinterpretation of the literature surrounding Burke and Wills, using official correspondence, expedition journals and diaries, visual art, and archaeological and linguistic research – and then complements this with references to Aboriginal oral histories and social memory. It highlights the interaction of expedition members with Aboriginal people and their subsequent contribution to Aboriginal studies. The book also considers contemporary and multi-disciplinary critiques that the expedition members were, on the whole, deficient in bush craft, especially in light of the expedition’s failure to use Aboriginal guides in any systematic way.

Cazaly: The Legend
Robert Allen, Slattery Media Group, 2017

Roy Cazaly’s extraordinary story is one of the great tales of Australian Football. Born in the depths of a depression, he overcame humble beginnings and personal setbacks to become one of our most celebrated footballers. His sublime skills and thrilling aerial feats made him a legend in his lifetime, with his name carried into the modern era via Mike Brady’s hymn to football - ‘Up There Cazaly’. In 1996 he became one of 12 inaugural Legends of Australian Football Hall of Fame. A relentless self-improver, Cazaly shaped the game’s development, applied his own theories to fitness, training and teamwork, and coached teams to premiership success. Away from the field, he enriched the lives of many more as a physiotherapist, horse trainer, philosopher and family man. Robert Allen’s meticulous research, gathered over 10 years, reveals in great detail the story of the man behind the catch cry.

The Happiness Box: a wartime book of hope (picture book)
Mark Greenwood & Andrew McLean, Walker Books, 2018

In 1942, Sergeant “Griff” Griffin was a prisoner of war. With Christmas approaching, he decided to make a book for the children cooped up in nearby Changi Prison. The book was said to contain the secrets to happiness. But the enemy was suspicious … With this picture book, award winners Mark Greenwood and Andrew McLean bring to life the inspirational true story of a book that became a National Treasure.

'Me Write Myself': The Free Aboriginal Inhabitants of Van Diemen's Land at Wybalenna, 1832-47
Leonie Stevens, Monash University Press, 2017

Exiles, lost souls, remnants of a dying race. The fate of the First Nations peoples of Van Diemen's Land is one of the most infamous chapters in Australian, and world, history. The men, women, and children exiled to Flinders Island in the 1830s and 40s have often been written about, but never allowed to speak for themselves. This book aims to change that.

Penned by the exiles during their fifteen years at the settlement called Wybalenna, items in the Flinders Island Chronicle, sermons, letters, and petitions offer a compelling corrective to traditional portrayals of a hopeless, dispossessed, illiterate people's final days. The exiles did not see themselves as prisoners, but as a Free People. Seen through their own writing, the community at Wybalenna was vibrant, complex, and evolving. Rather than a depressed people simply waiting for death, their own words reveal a politically astute community engaged in a fifteen year campaign for their own freedom: one which was ultimately successful.

Slow Catastrophes : Living with Drought in Australia
Rebecca Jones, Monash University Publishing, 2017

Living with drought is one of the biggest issues of our times. Climate change scenarios suggest that in the next fifty years global warming will increase both the frequency and severity of these phenomena. Stories of drought are familiar to us, accompanied by images of dead sheep, dry dams, cracked earth, farmers leaving their lands, and rural economic stagnation. Drought is indeed a catastrophe, played out slowly.

But as Rebecca Jones reveals in this sensitive account of families living on the Australian land, the story of drought in this driest continent is as much about resilience, adaptation, strength of community, ingenious planning for, and creative responses to, persistent absences of rainfall. The histories of eight farming families, stretching from the 1870s to the 1950s, are related, with a focus on private lives and inner thoughts, revealed by personal diaries. The story is brought up to the present with the author's discussions with contemporary farmers and pastoralists.

A Secondary Education for All? A History of State Secondary Schooling in Victoria
John Andrews & Deborah Towns, Australian Scholarly, 2017

‘A secondary education for all’? reveals the lively history of how successive state and federal governments, the Department of Education, students, teachers and school communities have participated in creating and maintaining our government secondary schools. A social history, it shows that the provision of a ‘comprehensive’ secondary education for all is dependent on the resources made available either through government funding or community support. It reflects the changing governments’ policies and the needs of each student generation.

Bringing together official documents, publications and photographs, presenting and analysing the challenges that have confronted politicians, bureaucrats, teachers and wider school communities, it explores the ongoing challenge to provide a comprehensive, quality education for all. Local school histories and educational commentary enriches that story combining scholarship, reader engagement and a degree of humour and cynicism to present the serious responsibility of educational provision, the idiosyncrasies that have worked in tandem and records the efforts of a bureaucracy, its schools and their communities to achieve the best for every student

Missing in Action
Marianne Van Velzen, Allen & Unwin, 2018

By the end of World War I, 45,000 Australians had died on the Western Front. Some bodies had been hastily buried mid-battle in massed graves; others were mutilated beyond recognition. Often men were simply listed as 'Missing in Action' because nobody knew for sure.Lieutenant Robert Burns was one of the missing, and now that the guns had fallen silent his father wanted to know what had become of his son. He wasn't the only one looking for answers. A loud clamour arose from Australia for information and the need for the dead to be buried respectfully.

Many of the Australians charged with the grisly task of finding and reburying the dead were deeply flawed. Each had his own reasons for preferring to remain in France instead of returning home. In the end there was a great scandal, with allegations of 'body hoaxing' and gross misappropriation of money and army possessions leading to two highly secretive inquiries.
Untold until now, Missing in Action is the compelling and unexpected story of those dark days and darker deeds and a father's desperate search for his son's remains.

The Goose Road
Rowena House, Walker Books, 2014 (Young Adult)

France 1916. Angélique Lacroix is haymaking when the postman delivers the news: her father is dead, killed on a distant battlefield. She makes herself a promise: the farm will remain exactly the same until her beloved older brother comes home from the Front. "I think of it like a magical spell. If I can stop time, if nothing ever changes, then maybe he won’t change either." But a storm ruins the harvest, her mother falls ill and then the requisition appears... In a last-ditch attempt to save the farm from bankruptcy, Angélique embarks on a journey across France with her brother's flock of magnificent Toulouse geese.

Let My People Go: The untold story of Australia and the Soviet Jews 1959-89
Sam Lipski & Suzanne D. Rutland
For 50 years, until the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, the Soviet Union ran a campaign of repression, imprisonment, political trials and terror against its 3 million Jews. In Australia, political leaders and the Jewish community contributed significantly to the international protest movement which eventually triumphed over Moscow’s tyranny and led to the modern Exodus of Soviet Jews to Israel and other countries. Lipski and Rutland make this largely unknown Australian story come alive with a combination of passion, personal experience and ground-breaking research.
Nganga: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Words and Phrases
Aunty Far Muir & Sue Lawson, Black Dog Books, 2018

Nganga is an authoritative and concise collection of words and phrases related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and issues. Nganga (ng gar na): To see and understand. Aunty, Uncle, sorry business, deadly, women’s business, marngrook, dreamtime, Elders, songlines. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander words have become part of our everyday vocabulary but we may not know their true meaning or where the words come from. In Nganga, Aunty Fay Muir and Sue Lawson have brought together these words, their meanings and their history. Engage with the rich and unique culture of Aboriginal Australians through this authoritative and concise collection.

Endurance: Australian Stories of Drought
Deb Anderson, CSIRO Publishing, 2014

Endurance presents stories of ordinary Australians grappling with extraordinary circumstances, providing insight into their lives, their experiences with drought and their perceptions of climate change.

The book opens with the physical impacts, science, politics and economics of drought and climate change in rural Australia. It then highlights the cultural and historical dimensions — taking us to the Mallee wheat-belt, where researcher Deb Anderson interviewed farm families from 2004 to 2007, as climate change awareness grew. Each story is grouped into one of three themes: Survival, Uncertainty and Adaptation. Illustrated with beautiful colour photographs from Museum Victoria, Endurance will appeal to anyone with an interest in life stories, rural Australia and the environment.

The Day War Came (picture book)
Nicola Davies & Rebecca Cobb, Walker Books, 2018

A powerful and necessary picture book – the journey of a child forced to become a refugee when war destroys everything she has ever known. Imagine if, on an ordinary day, war came. Imagine it turned your town to rubble. Imagine going on a long and difficult journey – all alone. Imagine finding no welcome at the end of it. Then imagine a child who gives you something small but very, very precious... When the government refused to allow 3000 child refugees to enter this country in 2016, Nicola Davies was so angry she wrote a poem. It started a campaign for which artists contributed drawings of chairs, symbolising a seat in a classroom, education, kindness, the hope of a future. The poem has become this book, movingly illustrated by Rebecca Cobb, which should prove a powerful aid for explaining the ongoing refugee crisis to younger readers

Fighting the Kaiser Reich: Australia's epic within the Great War
Bruce Gaunson, Hybrid Publishers, 2018

In Australia’s own Iliad, a volunteer army sails across the world – and its struggle with Germany’s forces becomes the most formidable campaign Australians have ever fought.

Waves: for those who come across the sea
Donna Rawlins et al. Black Dog Books, 2018 (picture book)
Every journey is perilous, every situation heartbreaking. Every refugee is a person forced by famine or war or fear to leave their home, their families, their friends and all they know. Children have travelled on the waves of migration to the shores of Australia for tens of thousands of years. This book tells some of their stories.Waves is a narrative non-fiction book about the waves of migration to the shores of Australia.

From Desk to Dugout: The Education of a Victorian Anzac
Robyn Youl & Keith Hallett, Brolga Publishing, 2015

Through sketches, poetry and other prose the extraordinary exploits and personal reflections of the digger were immortalized in what came to be known as The Anzac Book. Drawing on the formal skills learned in the classroom as a schoolboy the contributions of these young men powerfully captured their felt experiences and struggles and became a way to raise morale amongst the soldiers and inform those back home of life in the trenches. From Desk to Dugout explores this particular moment in Victorian literary and educational history and its intersections with the war at Gallipoli and the ANZAC.

Crime in the Port Phillip District 1835-51
Paul R Mullaly, Hybrid Publishers, 2008

A study of the administration of the criminal law in the Port Phillip District from the arrival of the white settlers until the onset of the Gold Rush and Separation. This study will help the present community understand many aspects of our present culture and give many citizens an insight into the community in which their ancestors lived. This book will be of interest to the legal profession, students of Victorian/Australian history, and a general readership. This is a serious and comprehensive work of painstaking and independent scholarship, using Judge Mullaly’s wide resources and unique perspective.

A Handful of Sand: The Guringji Struggle, After the Walk-Off
Charlie Ward, Monash University Publishing, 2016

Fifty years ago, a group of striking Aboriginal stockmen in the remote Northern Territory of Australia heralded a revolution in the cattle industry and a massive shift in Aboriginal affairs. Now, after many years of research, A Handful of Sand tells the story behind the Gurindji people’s famous Wave Hill Walk-off in 1966 and questions the meanings commonly attributed to the return of their land by Gough Whitlam in 1975. Written with a sensitive, candid and perceptive hand, A Handful of Sand reveals the path Vincent Lingiari and other Gurindji elders took to achieve their land rights victory, and how their struggles in fact began, rather than ended, with Whitlam’s handback.

Alice Springs: From Singing Wire to Outback Town
Stuart Traynor, Wakefield Press, 2016

In 1870 a colonial government, on the brink of collapse, made an audacious move. South Australia's squabbling politicians briefly put aside their differences and took the bold decision to run an iron wire to the middle of nowhere and beyond. Stringing the Overland Telegraph Line across the silent heart of the continent was a momentous event in the country's history. It connected Adelaide to a global network of cables and wire: those travelling up and down the track through central Australia were seldom out of earshot of its hum. Alice Springs was its most important repeater station.

Alice Springs: From singing wire to iconic outback town is the result of eight years of meticulous research unravelling the early history of central Australia's first white settlement. It contains information, never previously published, about that little outpost - a significant heritage site - and how an iconic town was born nearby, during a goldrush that made few people rich. It is a tale of the country's heart and some of its most remarkable but little-known characters, and of children torn between two cultures living at the telegraph station after the morse keys stopped clicking in 1932; children under the shadow of the most controversial piece of legislation in Australia's history. Central Australia has a black history.

Alice Springs is no longer the small, outback community romanticised in Nevil Shute's novel A Town like Alice. But its people, black and white, are still living on the line.

Long Tan: The Start of a Lifelong Battle
Harry Smith, Big Sky Publishing, 2015

On the afternoon of 18 August 1966, just five kilometres from the main Australian Task Force base at Nui Dat, a group of Viet Cong soldiers walked into the right flank of Delta Company, 6 RAR. Under a blanket of mist and heavy monsoon rain, amid the mud and shattered rubber trees, a dispersed Company of 108 men held its ground with courage and grim determination against a three-sided attack from a force of 2,500 Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army troops.

Written in partnership with award-winning journalist Toni McRae, Long Tan is also Harry’s life story and portrays his many personal battles, from failed marriages to commando-style killing; from a horrific parachute accident through to his modern-day struggles with bureaucracy for recognition for his soldiers. Harry’s battles are tempered by his love of sailing, where he has at last found some peace. Long Tan portrays the wrenching, visceral experience of a man who has fought lifelong battles, in a story that he is only now able to tell. Harry can still hear the gunfire and smell the blood spilt at Long Tan. For him, the fight continues.

Resisting the Enemy
Lorraine Campbell, Brolga Publishing, 2008

Resisting the Enemy follows the story of Valentine de Vaillant – known as Valli – from a twelve-year-old schoolgirl in Australia, to a young woman living in German Occupied France. From the moment Valli joins a Resistance group, she engages in a series of clandestine activities that at any moment could lead to arrest by the dreaded Gestapo. When a German Army officer is billeted at her grandmother’s villa, Valli’s world is thrown into turmoil. How can she possibly reconcile her growing attraction to a German – a member of a brutal oppressive regime – with her life as a French patriot and résistant.

Pioneers of Australian Armour in the Great War
David A Finlayson & Michael K Cecil, Big Sky Publishing, 2015

Pioneers of Australian Armour tells the story of the only Australian mechanised units of the Great War. The 1st Australian Armoured Car Section, later the 1st Australian Light Car Patrol, and the Special Tank Section were among the trailblazers of mechanisation and represented the cutting edge of technology on the Great War battlefield.

Much of the story of the armoured cars is told in the voices of the original members of the section and in newspaper articles of the time which highlight the novelty of these vehicles. Painstaking research has produced a remarkable collection of images to accompany the narrative, many never previously published. Biographies of the members of these extraordinary units are also a feature of this book, their stories told from the cradle to the grave. Appendixes provide a wealth of supporting biographical and technical information that enriches the text and adds factual detail.

Australian Bushrangers: Captain Starlight
Jane Smith, Big Sky Publishing, 2014

The Australian Bushrangers series by librarian and historical researcher, Jane Smith, details the colourful lives of six of Australia’s most famous bushrangers of the gold rush era: Captain Thunderbolt, Captain Moonlite, Frank Gardiner, The fifth book in the series features the two men know as “Captain Starlight”. Both were bushrangers who travelled widely across the country in the second half of the nineteenth century, and although their backgrounds and their crimes differed greatly, they are linked by their connection with a character from a novel.

Frank Pearson was the first “Starlight” who burst onto the scene in 1868, when he abandoned his practice as a doctor, stole a horse and took off on a bushranging spree that ended in a shoot-out and the death of a policeman. Pearson was a very talented man: intelligent, well-educated and well-read, and a clever artist and composer. He was also a pathological liar with no moral compass whatsoever. The intriguing thing about him is that we know nothing about his first thirty years. He had so many aliases that we don’t even know what his real name was.

The other was Henry Readford, whose stunning theft of 1000 cattle was the inspiration for the fictional character “Captain Starlight” in Rolf Boldrewood’s novel Robbery under arms. This book is full of fascinating facts and legendary exploits as it explores the lives of both of the bushrangers known for very different reasons. With reference to newspapers, gaol records, police records and other primary sources it narrates the captivating stories of their crimes, their lives, their imprisonments and their ultimately their deaths. MIDDLE PRIMARY

Australian Bushrangers: Captain Moonlite
Jane Smith, Big Sky Publishing, 2014

In 1869 Mt Egerton was outraged by the armed hold-up of the local bank by a masked villain calling himself ‘Captain Moonlite’.The shock deepened when the perpetrator turned out to be the new lay preacher, Andrew George Scott. On his release from prison Moonlite led a ragged bunch of young desperadoes to stage a siege that would end in a shoot-out and the death of a policeman. His death cell protestations of innocence raise doubts and sympathy in the hearts of some historians even today. This book tells the story of Captain Moonlite’s life, from his birth in Ireland to his death on the gallows. MIDDLE PRIMARY

Australian Bushrangers: Ben Hall
Jane Smith, Big Sky Publishing, 2014

Ben Hall, sometimes referred to as the “gentleman bushranger”, was the son of poor ex-convicts. His early adult life held promise though; he was hard-working and well respected. He had a family and a partnership in his own cattle station. Then a series of misfortunes befell Hall and his path crossed that of the notorious bushranger Frank Gardiner. Influenced by Gardiner and his gang, Ben Hall entered into a life of crime. During his three years as a bushranger, Hall and his gang committed hundreds of robberies, many of which were violent. For a time, however, Hall had the support of the public, who respected his daring and courage and admired him for outwitting the police. This book tells the story of Ben’s life, his notorious exploits as a bushranger and the events that lead to his ultimate betrayal and death. MIDDLE PRIMARY

Australian Bushrangers: Frank Gardiner
Jane Smith, Big Sky Publishing, 2014

There were few bushrangers whose influence extended as far as that of Frank Gardiner. Handsome, clever, charismatic and dangerous, he inspired many young men to abandon the drudgery of their honest work and turn to highway robbery. So strong was his influence that it set in motion a craze known as “Gardinerism”. Gardiner was the leader of the infamous Gold Escort robbery at Eugowra Rocks; he was the one who almost “got away” with the crime. escaping to Queensland and running a successful public house until his eventual, controversial arrest. Such was the man’s charm and influence that respectable citizens petitioned successfully on his behalf and Gardiner was released early from gaol amid a storm of controversy. This book outlines the life of Frank Gardiner, his descent into crime and the mystery of his final years in exile. MIDDLE PRIMARY

Tommy Bell, Bushranger Boy: Shoot-out at the Rock (Book 1)
Jane Smith, Big Sky Publishing, 2016

Tommy Bell, Bushranger Boy is a wonderful new series featuring Tommy’s time travelling escapades that take him face-to-face with some of Australia’s most notorious bushrangers. The hero of the series, Tommy Bell, lives in regional NSW in contemporary times but is able to travel back in time to the gold rush days by wearing an old bushranger’s hat that he discovered on his grandfather’s farm.

Tommy and his friends find themselves up close and personal with one of Australia’s well known outlaws. With each adventure there is plenty of danger and excitement: armed hold-ups, sieges, frauds, shoot-outs, police chases, jail-time and much more. Each book cleverly incorporates a parallel story from Tommy’s twenty-first century life that tests his friendships and develops his character.

In Shoot-out at the Rock Tommy Bell has been sent to work on his grandparents’ farm for the school holidays. He doesn’t want to go, but when he discovers an old bushranger’s hat hidden in a cave, everything changes. Suddenly he is sent back to the gold rush days and finds himself face-to-face with the bushranger Captain Thunderbolt! At first, the life of a bushranger seems full of thrills and adventure. But Tommy soon learns that it is full of danger as well…

Tommy Bell, Bushranger Boy: The Horse Thief (Book 2)
Jane Smith, Big Sky Publishing, 2016

Tommy Bell, Bushranger Boy is a wonderful new series featuring Tommy’s time travelling escapades that take him face-to-face with some of Australia’s most notorious bushrangers. The hero of the series, Tommy Bell, lives in regional NSW in contemporary times but is able to travel back in time to the gold rush days by wearing an old bushranger’s hat that he discovered on his grandfather’s farm.

Tommy and his friends find themselves up close and personal with one of Australia’s well known outlaws. With each adventure there is plenty of danger and excitement: armed hold-ups, sieges, frauds, shoot-outs, police chases, jail-time and much more. Each book cleverly incorporates a parallel story from Tommy’s twenty-first century life that tests his friendships and develops his character.

In The Horse Thief, Tommy Bell is happy when the popular new kid at school wants him to join his gang. His new friend is trouble but he’s not half as much trouble as the bushranger that Tommy meets when his magic hat takes him back to the gold rush days. Tommy finds himself in the middle of a horse robbery, a police chase and a prison escape! PRIMARY

Tommy Bell, Bushranger Boy: The Gold Escort Gang (Book 3)
Jane Smith, Big Sky Publishing, 2016

Tommy Bell, Bushranger Boy is a wonderful new series featuring Tommy’s time travelling escapades that take him face-to-face with some of Australia’s most notorious bushrangers. The hero of the series, Tommy Bell, lives in regional NSW in contemporary times but is able to travel back in time to the gold rush days by wearing an old bushranger’s hat that he discovered on his grandfather’s farm.

Tommy and his friends find themselves up close and personal with one of Australia’s well known outlaws. With each adventure there is plenty of danger and excitement: armed hold-ups, sieges, frauds, shoot-outs, police chases, jail-time and much more. Each book cleverly incorporates a parallel story from Tommy’s twenty-first century life that tests his friendships and develops his character.

In The Gold Escort Gang, Tommy Bell finds himself caught in a struggle between two friends, he decides to take a break from it all and escape...back to 1862! Tommy’s magic cabbage-tree hat sends him back once again to the gold rush days, when he stumbles into more trouble than he left behind. Face-to-face with the dangerous Frank Gardiner and his mates ‘Flash Jack’ and Ben Hall, Tommy learns about the value of true friendship...and about how it feels to be part of one of most infamous robberies in Australia’s history!

Aboriginal Biocultural Knowledge in South-Eastern Australia: Perspectives of Early Colonists
Fred Cahir, Ian D. Clark and Philip A Clarke, CSIRO Publishing, 2018

Indigenous Australians have long understood sustainable hunting and harvesting, seasonal changes in flora and fauna, predator–prey relationships and imbalances, and seasonal fire management. Yet the extent of their knowledge and expertise has been largely unknown and underappreciated by non-Aboriginal colonists, especially in the south-east of Australia where Aboriginal culture was severely fractured.

Aboriginal Biocultural Knowledge in South-eastern Australia is the first book to examine historical records from early colonists who interacted with south-eastern Australian Aboriginal communities and documented their understanding of the environment, natural resources such as water and plant and animal foods, medicine and other aspects of their material world. This book provides a compelling case for the importance of understanding Indigenous knowledge, to inform discussions around climate change, biodiversity, resource management, health and education. It will be a valuable reference for natural resource management agencies, academics in Indigenous studies and anyone interested in Aboriginal culture and knowledge.

Australian Jewish Historical Society Journal Vol XXIII 2017 (Part 3)
(ed.) Dr Howard A. Freeman et al. Hybrid Publishers, 2017

Published annually, this Journal comprises a number of fascinating articles and book reviews.

Anzac Sons
Allison Marlow Paterson, Big Sky Publishing, 2014

It is April 27, 1918, Jim’s brother writes from the battlefields of France. Of five brothers serving on the Western Front, three have given their lives; another has been hospitalised. Six agonising months of brutal warfare were yet to be endured…

The Great War was a senseless tragedy. Its long shadow darkened the four corners of the world. In Mologa, Victoria, once a bustling community, stands a lonely stone memorial. Etched within the granite are the names of the Marlow brothers and their mates; a testament to ordinary people who became heroes.

Anzac Sons is composed from a collection of over five hundred letters and postcards written by the brothers who served. From the training grounds of Victoria, Egypt and England, to the Western Front battlefields - Pozieres, Bullecourt, Messines, Menin Road, Passchendaele, Villers-Bretonneux and the village battles of 1918 – this compelling true story was compiled by the granddaughter of a surviving brother. She takes us on her journey as she walks in the footsteps of her ancestors. This is a story of mateship, bravery and sacrifice; it is a heartbreaking account of a family torn apart by war. It is a pledge to never forget.

My Vietnam War: Scarred Forever
Dave Morgan, Big Sky Publishing, 2014

My Vietnam is Dave Morgan’s story. A typical 20 year old, he was forced into extraordinary circumstances in Vietnam. Far from his carefree youth, the Vietnam War would expose Dave to an atmosphere of ever-present danger and sheer terror that would impact him forever. His return to a divided Australia would isolate him further.

During his service Dave wrote home to his mother from Vietnam tracking the days and the events. In 1992, after his mother passed away, he found all of his letters carefully numbered and in order. He has combined these letters with his own recollections and diary entries, and the short stories of seven other veterans, to capture the unbelievable danger andhorror that these young men experienced in Vietnam.

Dave also describes how Vietnam established life-long feelings of intense loyalty, trust and mateship between the men that served there. Dave’s story focuses on his time as a soldier and his return psychologically exhausted to a divided nation. After Vietnam and the freedom of ‘home’, Dave tried to live a normal life, however the horror he’d experienced caught up with him. The pressure was immense. Eventually, something had to give. It wasn’t ever a matter of if, but when you would crack. The impact of Vietnam on his life has been, and continues to be, immeasurable.

The Landing at Anzac: 1915
Chris Roberts, Big Sky Publishing, 2015

The Landing at Anzac, 1915 challenges many of the cherished myths of the most celebrated battle in Australian and New Zealand history — myths that have endured for almost a century. Told from both the Anzac and Turkish perspectives, this meticulously researched account questions several of the claims of Charles Bean’s magisterial and much-quoted Australian official history and presents a fresh examination of the evidence from a range of participants. The Landing at Anzac, 1915 reaches a carefully argued conclusion in which Roberts draws together the threads of his analysis delivering some startling findings. But the author’s interest extends beyond the simple debunking of hallowed myths, and he produces a number of lessons for the armies of today. This is a book that pulls the Gallipoli campaign into the modern era and provides a compelling argument for its continuing relevance. In short, today’s armies must never forget the lessons of Gallipoli.

Why the British Colonised Australia
Carmel Reilly, Macmillan, 2016

The First Fleet arrived with 750 convicts on Australia's shores in 1788. But what was going on in Britain to prompt this journey to the far side of the world? What was life like in Britain in the 1700s, and why were there so many convicts? Why did the British choose Australia as the site of the new colony? This book explores the reasons for Britain's settlement in Australia. UPPER PRIMARY.

Indigenous Australians : Before and After Settlement
Melanie Guile, Macmillan, 2016

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples lived undisturbed on their lands for thousands of years. When European settlers arrived in Australia, Indigenous people's lives were changed forever. Discover how some Indigenous communities have maintained their culture and traditions since colonisation. UPPER PRIMARY.

A Home So Far Away
Carmel Reilly, Macmillan, 2016

It is 1824 in colonial Australia and twelve-year-old Eliza has made friends with Hannah, the family's servant. Eliza finds out tha Hannah has a secret and will need Eliza's help, but will Eliza be able to come up with a plan? UPPER PRIMARY.

Australian Colonial Communities Anthology
Macmillan, 2016

The short texts in this anthology explore a range of inquiry questions. UPPER PRIMARY.
What do we know about the lives of people in Australia's colonial past and how do we know?
How did an Australian colony develop over time and why?
How did colonial settlement change the environment?
What were the significant events and who were the significant people that shaped Australian colonies?

Australian Colonial Communities: Teacher Resource Book
Charlotte Forwoord, Macmillan, 2016

Features of the Teacher Resource Book include:
Curriculum links, an overview of each key inquiry and the resources required
Detailed lesson plans for each guided inquiry stage
Reproducible activity sheets designed to assist in further developing historical knowledge, understanding and skills
Assessment rubrics for students to evaluate their own learning, and for teachers to record students' progress

Respectable Radicals: A History of the National Council of Women of Australia 1896-2006
Marian Quartly and Judith Smart, Monash University Publishing, 2015

For much of the twentieth century, the National Council of Women of Australia was the peak body representing women to government in Australia, and through the International Council of Women, to the world. This history of NCWA tells the story of mainstream feminism in Australia, of the long struggle for equality at home and at work which is still far from achieved. In these days when women can no longer be imagined as speaking with one voice, and women as a group have no ready access to government, we still need something of the optimistic vision of the leaders of NCWA. Respectable in hat and gloves to the 1970s and beyond, they politely persisted with the truly radical idea that women the world over should be equal with men.

Writing for Raksmey: A Story of Cambodia
Joan Healy, Monash University Publishing, 2016

Writing for Raksmey tells of the lives of six families who fled the aftermath of the Cambodian killing fields, were held in a crowded refugee camp at the border of their country, and then sent back to a nation still at war. The past is not spoken about but the struggles are not over and the sons and daughters of those who once were refugees sense mystery in their legacy and know it is important to them. Joan Healy lived and worked quietly with these refugees for many years. In response to a young man who said he ‘needed to know everything’, she has told a story of his troubled homeland, retrieved from the fading pages of her journals and letters. The saga of this quarter century is witness to both a determination to survive and human goodness that was never quenched. Joan Healy’s personal, learned, eye-witness account is essential reading for anyone seeking to understand Cambodia.

Into the Heart of Tasmania
Rebe Taylor, Melbourne University Press, 2017

In 1908 English gentleman, Ernest Westlake, packed a tent, a bicycle and forty tins of food and sailed to Tasmania. On mountains, beaches and in sheep paddocks he collected over 13,000 Aboriginal stone tools. Westlake believed he had found the remnants of an extinct race whose culture was akin to the most ancient Stone Age Europeans. But in the remotest corners of the island Westlake encountered living Indigenous communities. Into the Heart of Tasmania tells a story of discovery and realisation. One man's ambition to rewrite the history of human culture inspires an exploration of the controversy stirred by Tasmanian Aboriginal history. It brings to life how Australian and British national identities have been fashioned by shame and triumph over the supposed destruction of an entire race. To reveal the beating heart of Aboriginal Tasmania is to be confronted with a history that has never ended.

Australian Encounters: Heroes, Villains and Ratbags (DVD)
Suitcase Murphy, 2013

Presented with humour and verve, Australian Encounters celebrates ten historic encounters, each between a renowned Australian and an international mover and shaker. What happened when Bob Hawke locked horns with Frank Sinatra? When Lionel Rose sparred with Elvis? And when Enrico Caruso slipped a hot Italian sausage into Nellie Melba’s captive palm? Narrated by Geoffrey Rush, the encounters span more than 100 years, from Ned Kelly and Redmond Barry in 1880, through to Kylie Minogue and Michael Hutchence in 1987.

The Most Fearless and Gallant Soldier I Have Ever Seen
Ian Loftus, self-published, 2016

This is the first biography of Martin O’Meara VC, Australia’s only Irish-born Victoria Cross recipient of the First World War. The book trace’s Martin’s life from a young man growing up in rural County Tipperary, through his early years labouring on railway construction projects in South Australia and Western Australia, his wartime service in Egypt and on the Western Front with the 16th Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force, and his subsequent breakdown and life in mental hospitals in Perth after the war.

Marching as to War
Don Charlwood, Burgewood Books, 2011 (2nd edn)

An eloquent and evocative autobiographical account of growing up in Australia between the two World Wars. The book describes life in Australia at that time, the influences of family, school and the Great Depression, as well as an exploration of the attitudes that led young Australians to support England in World War II. This new edition from Burgewood Books contains photos, belonging to the author and his family, that illustrate the era and the events in the book.

Settlers Under Sail
Don Charlwood, Burgewood Books, 2011

Commissioned by the Victorian (Australia) Government's History Advisory Council to commemorate, in 1978, the centenary of the wreck of the Loch Ard, this book celebrates the era of sailing ship immigration to Australia and tells the story of the famous Loch Ard. It contains many fascinating photos and sketches.
The Wreck of the Sailing Ship Netherby: A Miracle of Survival
Don Charlwood, Burgewood Books, 2012 (2nd edn)

The Wreck of the Sailing Ship Netherby is the story of an 1866 shipwreck on the western coast of King Island, in southern Australia. It tells of a near miracle, vividly related by three different participants. Here was a ship with 413 emigrant passengers and a crew of 38, impaled by night on serrated reefs not far from the 1845 remains of the Cataraqui. The Cataraqui had lost 399 lives. The senior officers of the Netherby were instrumental in saving the lives of all those aboard their vessel, plus a baby born on the island to one of the rescued passengers!

The Girl from the Great Sandy Desert
Jukuna Mona Chuguna & Pat Lowe, Magabala Books, 2015

The Girl from the Great Sandy Desert is the remarkable account of the life of Mana, a young Walmajarri girl and her family in the desert country of north-west Australia. A collection of accessible stories that elucidate the rich cultural lives of pre-contact Aboriginal Australians, this book is a valuable resource for educators and young readers, and is accompanied by beautiful black and white illustrations.

The French Explorers and Sydney
Colin Dyer, University of Queensland Press, 2009

The early years of Sydney were witnessed by seven expeditions of French exploration between 1788 and 1831. These expeditions spent, in total, over a year in the new town of Sydney meeting most of its leading citizens and visiting its expanding environs. The French Explorers and Sydney contains previously unpublished translations of European experiences in the early colonial period. The journals and records of these French explorers and scientists offer surprising cultural insights and engaging outsiders’ perspectives on the new colony and its residents. A fresh and fascinating perspective of Sydney and early colonial life.

Annette Kellerman
Leo Gamble, illustrations by Milan Ristic, Green Barrow Publishing

Annette Kellerman (1887-1975) contracted polio as a young child in Sydney, but it did not stop her from becoming a world famous long distance swimmer, a vaudeville star in America and Europe, and a megastar of the silent movies. Ideal for children aged 10-14 years.

Kitty's War
Janet Butler, University of Queensland Press, 2013

Kitty’s War is based upon the previously unpublished war diaries of Great War army nurse Sister Kit McNaughton. Kit and historian Janet Butler grew up in the same Victorian district of drystone walls, wheatfields and meandering creeks, except many decades apart. The idea of this young nurse setting out on a journey in July 1915 which would take her across the world and into the First World War took hold of Janet Butler and inspired her to research and share Kit’s story.


Sponsors & partners

  • Anzac Prize
  • Latitude Group Travel
  • National History Challenge - Sponsor Logo
  • Education Victoria - Sponsor Logo

NOTE: Indigenous Australians are advised that the HTAV website may include images or names of people now deceased.