Good Yarns

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AIATSIS presents good yarns from Indigenous authors covering fiction and non- fiction and a wide array of genres.

Some of the books are available in bookshops, many are available to purchase on-line and all books are available in the in the AIATSIS Reading Room which is open from 10 am to 1 pm from Monday to Friday.

Feel free to browse through the list using the navigation buttons below, or select a particular genre of choice by clicking on a tab within the list at the bottom of the page and then click on a thumbnail to view.

Sensitivity Statement

Please note some of the items within the good yarn's book list may contain images and other references to deceased people which may cause sadness or distress, particularly to the relatives of these people.

Crime fiction



Autobiography / Biography

Country and Culture


Young adult

For the young and the young at heart



Alexis Wright

Artarmon, NSW, Giramondo, 2013
340 pages
ISBN:9781922146410 (paperback)
AIATSIS call number: B W947.16/S1

Set in a future post-climate-change, The Swan Book is a novel of big ideas. In a review for Sydney Review of Books (online at ), Jane Gleeson-White has said "I think The Swan Book is asking, especially non-Aboriginal humans, to pay attention to the vast store of knowledge of this continent, its land, its weather, that is contained in Aboriginal stories and law. It suggests that if we lose these stories the entire planet may perish … I think in The Swan Book Alexis Wright has written the first great novel of climate change. And perhaps the first truly planetary novel.  I hope it goes viral."

Review / buy online:



St Lucia, QLD: University of Queensland Press 2011
255 Pages
ISBN: 9780702239274 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B B617.38/B1

A "can't-put-down" story of brother and sister surviving in an adult world and their courage in adversity.  Jesse and his little sister, Rachel, are always on the move with their Mum, Gwen, as she escapes from one desperate situation to the next.  Jesse has sworn in blood that he will protect his sister, but is he able to do so against Gwen’s latest boyfriend, the thief Ray Crowe?

Shortlisted for the 2012 Miles Franklin Literary Award
Shortlisted for the 2012 Melbourne Prize for Literature

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St Lucia, Qld. : University of Queensland Press, ©2012.
248 pages
ISBN: 9780702249341 (pbk.) : $22.95
AIATSIS call number: B C692.17/M1

Includes glossary of Kokatha words.

Dylan Coleman's first novel is the story of a clever young girl, growing up on the Mission, wondering who her father is and being taunted by her classmates for not knowing. It is an emotional story: a fictionalised account of her mother’s life at the Mission at Koonibba near Ceduna, South Australia. It incorporates the Kokatha language into the text.

Winner of the David Unaipon Award for Indigenous Writing 2011.

Review / buy online / ebook at



St Lucia, Qld. : University of Queensland Press, 2011
157 pages
ISBN: 9780702238956 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B L437.52/P1

"Funny, endearing and thought provoking"

Story of Sunny and her sister Star growing up on a farm near Gundagai with their Nan and Aunties and occasional visits from Mum.
Nan and the Aunties are strong women who love and laugh with the girls, educate and protect them.

Winner of 2010 David Unaipon Award for Indigenous Writing
Shortlisted for 2012 Commonwealth Book Prize
Shortlisted for 2012 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Indigenous Writing

Review / buy online / ebook at



Sydney : Picador, 2010.
400 pages
ISBN: 9781405040440 (pbk.)
ISBN: 9781405040433 (hbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B S427.50/T2

Two times Miles Franklin Award winner, Noongar author Kim Scott imagines a different trajectory for the contact history in south west Western Australia.  The story is told through the eyes of a young Noongar man, Bobby Wabalanginy.

Winner of the 2011  Miles Franklin Award
Winner of the 2011 ‘Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Fiction’ and the West Australian and Victorian ‘Premier’s literary award’ for best work of literature/fiction
Winner of the 2012 NSW Premier’s Literature and History Awards, Christina Stead Prize and Best Book of the Year

Review / buy online / ebook at:,%20Kim.



Artarmon, N.S.W. : Giramondo, c2006.
519 pages.
ISBN: 1920882170 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B W947.16/C1

Fictional realism set in the North Queensland coastal town of Desperence. Award winning Waanyi author Alexis Wright gives an epic account of the history of Carpentaria from an Aboriginal perspective. The novel spans generations of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relations, with a vast array of characters ranging from mystical to activist.

Winner of 2007 Miles Franklin Literary Award.

Review / buy online / ebook / audio cd at or



Milsons Point, N.S.W. : Transworld Australia, 2007
342 pages
ISBN: 9781863255110 (pbk)
ISBN: 1863255117 (pbk)
AIATSIS call number: B H473.10/N1

National Year of Reading 2012 Ambassador, Dr Anita Heiss, is a passionate advocate for reading. She writes poetry, fiction, historical fiction and social commentary. Not Meeting Mt Right is a story in the chick lit genre about Alice Aigner’s search for the perfect man – with the help of her friends and her ten point plan.

Winner of 2007 Miles Franklin Literary Award.

Review / buy online / ebook at

If you would like to find out more about Dr Anita Heiss and her amazing career see her National Year of Reading 2012 feature website at

To review or buy Anita’s most recent work, the autobiographical Am I Black Enough For You? see



North Sydney, N.S.W. Bantam, 2010.
304 pages
ISBN: 9781741668926 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B H473.10/M2

Story about Lauren, a curator at the National Aboriginal Gallery in Canberra, who is offered a fellowship at the Smithsonian in New York – the chance of a lifetime. Lauren takes up the offer and the story centres around her experiences in the Big Apple and the boyfriend she left behind – or did she?

Winner of the 2010 Deadly Award for Achievement in Literature.

Review / buy online / ebook at



St Lucia, Qld. : University of Queensland Press, 2006
201 pages
ISBN: 0702235210
AIATSIS call number: B W758.79/S1

On the death of their mother, May and her brother Billy are not sure of their place in the world. May sets out to find out about her identity. A collection of short stories set in Wiradjuri country. Retells some Wiradjuri creation stories. This debut work of Tara June Winch received wide acclaim.

Winner of the 2010 Deadly Award for Achievement in Literature.

Review / buy online / ebook at



Camberwell, Vic : Penguin Books, 2005
291 pages
ISBN: 0143002627
ISBN: 9780143002628
AIATSIS call number B J330.75/B1

Guided by her family history, Terri Janke’s Butterfly Song is a story of a young lawyer taking on her first case to stop the auction of a family heirloom. Set in Sydney, Cairns and Thursday Island the novel evokes rich descriptions of place, culture and race relations in the 1940s and the 1990s.

Available at AIATSIS Library and a Library near you.



St Lucia, Qld. : University of Queensland Press, 2001
194 pages
ISBN: 0702232491
AIATSIS call number: B C635.35/B1

What should a mother do when her son, star of the Blackouts footy team, wakes up one day and insists on wearing her dress and makeup and being called Jean Rhys? Can she ever show her face at the bingo hall again? How can she save Neville from the savage consequences of discovery in such a small town? Is it really what is seems? The richly drawn characters in this novel address issues of homophobia, racism and stereotyping in regional Australia in a good-humoured way.

Winner of the 2000 David Unaipon Award.

Review / buy online / ebook at



St Lucia, Qld. : University of Queensland Press, 2002
233 pages
ISBN: 0702232831
AIATSIS call number: B C635.35/H1

Novel about a small country town and its Aboriginal inhabitants. Supported by strong characters, the novel addresses issues of friendship, love and sibling responsibility.

Winner of 2006 Kate Challis RAKA Award for Bitin’ Back (University of Queensland Press, 2001) and Her Sister’s Eye (University of Queensland Press, 2002).

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St Lucia, Qld. : University of Queensland Press, 2004
319 pages
ISBN: 0702234079
AIATSIS call number: B B421.45/H1

"Nothing matters more than family"

Candice returns to her country with her father to find out more about her family. She is faced with racism and prejudice in the search for information about her family.  The story of her grandmother, Garibooli, and her brother at contact provide the background to Candice’s life today.

Winner of the David Unaipon Award for Indigenous writers 2004.

Review / buy online / ebook at



St Lucia, Qld : University of Queensland Press, 2009
181 pages
ISBN: 9780702237195 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B M966.67/E1

"Playful  and sharp"

Rembarrnga author, Marie Munkara, has written a humourous fictional account of life on a remote Catholic mission in far North Australia and the relationships between missionaries and Aboriginal people.

Winner of the 2008 David Unaipon Award for Indigenous writers.

Review / buy online / ebook at



Broome, W.A. : Magabala Books, 2001.
215 pages
ISBN: 1875641777
AIATSIS call no. B M161.78/S4

Historical novel based on Myall Creek massacre and the work of Lutheran missionaries near Coonabarabran.  The story addresses the violence and the paradoxes of contact history and the intertwined lives of Indigenous and non-Indigenous families.

Winner of the 1992 David Unaipon Award.

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St Lucia, Qld. : University of Queensland Press, 2011
271 pages
ISBN: 9780702238499 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B W341.37/B1

A native title claim over Meston Park in Brisbane's West End by the Corrowa people is lodged  following a multi-million dollar development project. The claim fails and the judge who rejects the claim is murdered. Inevitably the native title claimants are suspected.  The murder investigation forces Detective Jason Matthews to confront his Aboriginal heritage, and Aboriginal lawyer Miranda Eversely battles a sense of personal failure at the Corrowa people's defeat.

Winner of the David Unaipon Award 2009.
Shortlisted for 2012 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Indigenous Writing.

Review / buy online / ebook at



Camberwell, Vic. : Viking, 2009
272 pages
ISBN: 9780670073672 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B P281.14/B1

"Pascoe is one of our finest writers"

Part crime novel but so much more.  Jim Bloke, wants to turn his life around after a stint in prison but, working as a diver for sea urchins, gets caught up in a scam in the fishing industry. On the run again, Jim begins to discover who he loves and who he is.

Review / ebook at



Broome, W.A. : Magabala Books, 2001
181 pages
ISBN: 1875641785
AIATSIS call number: B M161.78/S5
Previously published : Pymble, N.S.W. : HarperCollins, 1995.

Koori detectives, Gary and Lisa, from the Aboriginal Homicide Unit investigate the murder of a young Aboriginal girl and her boyfriend. The pressure to solve the murders intensifies when there are more murders, including a non-Aboriginal girl. Set in Redfern, Sydney, this story is told from varying points of view: the two detectives, and the serial killer.

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KUKUMBAT GUDWAN DAGA = Really cooking good food

a healthy cookbook with recipes that feed 10 or more people,  brought to you by the women's centres of Manyallaluk, Gulin Gulin and Wugularr in conjunction with The Fred Hollows Foundation. 2nd edition.

Parap, N.T. : Fred Hollows Foundation, 2010
80 pages, spiral bound
ISBN: 9780975687024
AIATSIS call number: B M295.93/K1

This cook book is one of a kind. Developed by the women’s centres in Gulin Gulin, Wugularr and Manyallaluk in the Katherine region, Northern Territory, working with a chef, the women have produced recipes for favorite foods, catering for large numbers (for 10, 30, 50 and 100 people) and giving step by step instructions using photos.  The Manyallaluk Women’s Centre said “We love cooking for the old people, school kids and crèche kids.  The community come and look and they love our food.”

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MARK OLIVE'S OUTBACK CAFE : A Taste of Australia


Mosman, N.S.W. : R.M. Williams Classic Publications, [2006].
123 pages
ISBN: 0977558525 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B O482.15/M1

Bush flavours meet Western cuisine.

Bundjalung chef, Mark Olive, gives us his recipes for Kutjera (desert raisins) pasta, Baked wattleseed cheesecake, Seared kangaroo fillet with Illawarra plum sauce, and more. Based on the lifestyle channel program Outback Café, Mark’s book also describes the Outback Pride Project and sources the various ingredients used.

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Yiwarra Kuju: the Canning Stock Route

National Museum of Australia Press 2010

231 Pages
ISBN:978187694480 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: RB N277.636/Y1

It is the paintings which tell the stories in this catalogue of the exhibition Yiwarra Kuju – the Canning Stock Route. Built as a stock route between Halls Creek and Wiluna in Western Australiares, it is now a kartiya highway and best known as a challenging four wheel drive track.  The Aboriginal artists and curators and cultural advisors wanted to tell the stories of the jumu (soakwaters) and jila (springs), of the sacred sites and law sites, and worked with FORM, an arts organisation based in Perth, to create the art collection, which was purchased and exhibited by the National Museum of Australia.  The book includes essays by non-Indigenous authors.

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Photograpy by Warwick Thornton

Carlton, Vic. : Miegunyah Press, 2010
286 pages
ISBN: 9780522857634 (hbk)
ISBN: 0522857639 (hbk)
AIATSIS call number: RB P448.90/A1

This book is the companion to the major ABC television series. Curator Hetti Perkins introduces us to many wonderful artists from around the country and their rich and varied works.

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Hazel Brown

Fremantle, W.A., Fremantle Arts Press, 2005
270 pages
ISBN: 1920731172
AIATSIS call number: B S427.50/K1

Award winning author, Kim Scott, and Elder, Hazel Brown, tell the history of the Wiloman Noongar people of Western Australia in a much acclaimed history which was first published in 2005 and re-released in 2013.

Review / buy online / e-book at



Elsternwick, Victoria : Ilura Press, 2012
212 pages
ISBN: 9781921325243 (paperback)
AIATSIS Call number BE192.38/T1

Ali Cobby Eckermann shares her life story as an adopted child, who endures abuse, violence and racism, despite the love of her adoptive parents.  Her story does not seem like a “good yarn” but it does have a good ending as Ali relates how her spirit heals as she finds her birth family and learns about her country. She can cry again.   Her personal story reveals so much about the experiences of Indigenous Australians and the Stolen Generations, and her prose, interspersed with poetry is compelling reading.

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ISABEL FLICK: The Many Lives of an Extraordinary Aboriginal Woman


Crows Nest, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin, 2004.
270 pages
ISBN: 1741141230
AIATSIS call number: B F621.37/I1

Isabel Flick teams up with historian Heather Goodall to tell her story of life from the old camp at Collarenebri and Toomelah Mission to her work in her community where she is recognised by both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people alike.

Winner 2005 Magarey Medal for Biography.

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LIFE B'LONG ALI DRUMMOND: A life in the Torres Strait


Canberra, A.C.T. : Aboriginal Studies Press, 2007
90 pages
ISBN: 9780855755560 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B F263.67/L1

Ali Drummond’s life from the age of fourteen when he went to sea working in the pearling industry as both a diver and a skipper is lovingly told by his granddaughter, Samantha Faulkner.  During the war Ali’s family was evacuated from Thursday Island to Cairns where he later joined them. The family moved to Mossman where Ali took up work cane cutting.

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Edition: Revised edition
North Hobart : Montpelier Press, 2004.
125 pages
ISBN: 0855751800
AIATSIS call number: B W516.55/P2
General Note: Previously published: Canberra : Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, 1984.

"We have had Europeans writing about us for years"

Tasmanian Aboriginal Elder Ida West jotted down her memories, thoughts and ideas for many years until finally realising she had to bring it all together in a book. Aunty Ida’s book is rich with stories of families, friends and life on Flinders Island and mainland Tasmania.

Available at AIATSIS Library and a library near you.



Fremantle, W.A. : Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 2003
414 pages
ISBN: 1863682376
AIATSIS call number: B K553.45/S1

Academic, author and grandson, Steve Kinnane, tells the story of Miriwoong woman Jessie Argyle, born in the remote Kimberley and taken from her family at the age of five, and Edward Smith, an Englishman who had decided to seek his fortune in Australia. Details how, against strong and repeated opposition of the State, they eventually married and maintained their cultural life.

Winner of the 2006 AIATSIS Stanner Award for Indigenous writing.

Review / buy online at

Available at AIATSIS Library and a Library near you.



Fremantle, W.A. : Fremantle Press, 2007
494 pages
ISBN: 9781921361227
AIATSIS call number: B M849.92/M3

One of the most popular stories told by an Indigenous author. Autobiography telling the author's process of discovering her Aboriginality. My Place also tells the autobiographical narratives of Sally’s maternal grandmother and grandmother's brother born on Corunna Downs Station.

Review / buy online / ebook at

D'HARAWAL: Seasons and Climatic Cycles

compiled by Frances Bodkin ; illustrated by Lorraine Robertson

Sydney : F. Bodkin & L. Robertson, 2008
109 pages
ISBN: 9780980481013 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B B667.76/D1
Audience: For primary school age

Frances Bodkin shares the knowledge and understanding of D’harawal Country. She tells of weather and climatic cycles and their effects on Dharawal people and on animals.  Included are  traditional stories about how the waratah became red, Wiritjiribin, the first lyrebird, Yandelora , the land of peace between peoples, Talaratingi, how the flannel flower came to be, and others.  The book is written for children but will also appeal to a wider audience.

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REPOSSESSION OF OUR SPIRIT: Traditional owners of northern Sydney

Dennis Foley ; photographs by Ricky Maynard

Canberra : Aboriginal History Inc., 2001
Series: Aboriginal History monograph ; 7.
119 pages
ISBN: 095856373X
AIATSIS call number: B F663.42/R1

Gai-Mariagal man Dennis Foley tells of the cultural significance of north Sydney to his people.  He begins by describing traditional society and then takes the reader on a journey to Gai-Mariagal places. Familiar places are given a deeper meaning as Foley relates traditional stories for Manly, Narrabeen, Crows Nest and Forty Baskets Beach to name a few.

Available at AIATSIS Library and a library near you.


Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council Aboriginal Corporation

Broome, W.A. : Magabala Books, 2013
272 pages
ISBN: 9781921248825 (pbk.)
ISBN: 1921248823 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B N576.02/T2

Winner of 2013 Deadly Award for Published Book of the Year.

This book was first published over twenty years ago but is so rich with stories and information that it is still in print.  Eight stories told including The Roughtail Lizard Dreaming, The Crow and the Eagle, The Witchetty Grub Man Dreaming, Kalpartu the Dreamtime Snake, The Seven Sisters.  The book explains family relationships and includes kinship diagrams. There are notes on Kukatja language and Kukatja-English wordlist.

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featuring photographs and recordings by Peter McConchie

Warriewood, N.S.W. : Finch Publishing, c2009
160 pages
ISBN: 9781876451967 (hbk.)
AIATSIS number: B H319.68/M1

"The teachings I reveal in this book are the living treasures of my life"

Yuin Elder, Uncle Max Harrison, Dulumunmun, tells of his Yuin country Dreamings, Gulaga and Creation Dreaming, the three principles of learning, the truth of traditional knowledge and more.

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With Nancy Daivi, April Bright, Kathy Deveraux and Linda Ford, Photographs by Sharon D'Amico.

Canberra : Aboriginal Studies Press, 2011. 2nd ed.
161 pages
ISBN: 9780855757762 (pbk.)
ISBN: 0855757760 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B R795.51/C3

"Country gives us our identity"

Mak Mak Traditional Owners collaborate with Deborah Bird Rose to tell the story of their country on the floodplains south west of Darwin, their clan, their culture, and their efforts to restore country.

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Alice Springs, NT : IAD Press, 2010
221 pages
ISBN: 9781864650952 (pbk.) $34.95
AIATSIS call number: B T949.25/I1

Beautifully told, thoughtful stories of the author’s culture gives the reader insight into so many different aspects of culture from relationship to land, dreams and story, singing and dancing just for fun, to the sacredness of kinship, healing, respect for animals language and learning, and much more.

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Papunya School

Crows Nest, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin, 2001
45 pages
ISBN: 186508526X
ISBN: 1865085251 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B P218.85/P1

Staff and students at Papunya School, in collaboration with Nadia Wheatley, tell the story of how Anangu (people of the central desert) from five different language groups came to live together at Papunya. The book traces the history of the area from the Tjukurrpa (Dreaming) to the arrival of white people ,the building  Papunya in 1956 and the more recent history of Papunya  – the painting, the  move to outstations, music and Warumpi Band, community self-control,  land rights and the two way curriculum at the Papunya School.

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(Website includes Notes for Teachers which can be used for primary or secondary students)

MARALINGA : The Anangu Story

Yalata and Oak Valley Communities; with Christobel Mattingley

Crows Nest, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin, 2008.
70 pages
ISBN: 9781741756210 (hbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B Y161.67/M1

"Anangu were a people rich in stories, songs, tradition and knowledge. That is the Tjukurpa, the Dreaming, which kept their spirits strong." (p. 1) The walypala (whitefellas) came and disrupted their lives forever.   The smoke time was when the sickness started: a prohibited zone was announced on Anangu Land and in 1952 in Operation Totem the first two atomic bombs were exploded north of Maralinga.  The resulting "black mist" affected many people. Anangu tell of this and their many years of fighting to have their land returned to them.

Review / order online at
(Website includes Notes for Teachers of students aged 10-14).

FIRST AUSTRALIANS : An Illustrated History

edited by Rachel Perkins and Marcia Langton

Carlton, Vic. : Miegunyah Press, 2008
393 pages
ISBN: 9780522853155 (hbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B P451.34/F1

This is the accompanying book for the SBS nine part television series of the same name (see It is the first major history of Australia produced by Indigenous Australians. The histories cover much of Australia and are told by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous writers who are descendants of the people they write about, or live in the area that they write about.  As Marcia Langton says “they share the ancient gift of storytelling and a dedication to building a more sophisticated and inclusive version of the Australian story.” (p. xxvi)

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Canberra : Aboriginal Studies Press, 2005, 2008.
208 pages + 1 DVD (55 min) DVD of documentary is titled Contact
ISBN 9780855757106
AIATSIS call number: S 06.1/AIAS/7D
AIATSIS call number: B D247.53/C2 DVD
AIATSIS call number: B P371.45/J3

Yuwali’s oral stories form the basis of this account of the first contact between the last remaining group of Martu women in the Western Desert and non-Aboriginal Australians in 1964. Yuwali was 17 when the government was scouring the area to remove Aboriginal people before the testing of 'Blue Streak' rockets across the Western Desert and the extension of the Woomera rocket range.

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JANDAMARRA & the Bunuba resistance by Howard Pederson


Broome, W.A. : Magabala Books, 2011.
228 pages
ISBN: 9781921248320 (pbk.)
First edition published in 1995

The story of Jandamarra, a resistance hero, is told by Bunaba Elder, Banjo Wonnunmurra, with Howard Pederson. Jandamarra led a three year geurilla war  in Bunuba country in the Kimberley against the European invasion of his country.

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Broome, W.A. : Magabala Books, 2012
111 pages
ISBN: 9781921248559 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B P281.14/F2

Fog is a fox reared by Albert Cutts’ dog, Brim. So Albert calls Fog a dox. Albert, a tree feller, lives alone in the bush with his dog and his dox.  Although scorned at first by those who don’t know him better Fog turns out to be the hero of this story, which brings together two lonely bush men and a young sick girl.

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St Lucia, Qld : University of Queensland Press, 1999
136 pages
ISBN: 0702231134
AIATSIS call number: B W553.50/Y1

"Us kids had the biggest and best playground in the world with great mates as well as enemies you could fight and talk with". This is how Herb Wharton describes his childhood on the Yumba – the Aboriginal settlement on the outskirts of Cunnamulla, Queensland where he lived with his family.  This is his story of growing up in two worlds, moving on to life as a stockman and remembering back to the best place in the world.

Buy online e-book
or second hand copy at



Broome, W.A. : Magabala Books, 2012
219 pages
ISBN 9781921248498 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B M172.78/G1

Fuzzy Mac is a teenager, living with her Nan and Pop in a small country town in New South Wales.
Nan and Pop guide her through the ups and downs of teenage life. “Grace beside you always” are Nan and Pop’s comforting words for Fuzzy when she needs to get through the tough times.

Winner State Library of Queensland Indigenous Writing Fellowship 2011.

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Alice Springs, N. T.  : IAD Press, 2002
207 pages
ISBN: 1864650486
ISBN: 1864650486 :
Audience: For young adults.
AIATSIS call number: B L933.80/T1

Zo and her workaholic Mum are moving to Brisbane. Zo doesn’t want to go and leave her best friend behind. However she soon befriends Missy, though their lives are worlds apart.  Zo struggles with her weight and wants to be a rock star, while Missy is the star mid fielder in the school soccer team. Zo lives alone with her Mum, Missy has a large extended family. Can their friendship survive their differences?

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Bronwyn Bancroft

Crows Nest, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin, 2013
ISBN: 9781742373201 (hbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B B213.82/R1
Audience: For primary school age

Every page is an artwork in this picture book in which artist, Bronwyn Bancroft tells the story of her grandparents’ place, the special place at the centre of her family’s life, where, as children, she and her brothers and sisters visited so often.  The author says “It is a story of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people existing in support of each other.” She encourages readers to know and tell their family history.

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Melanie Prewett ; illustrated by Maggie Prewett

Broome, W.A.,  Magabala Books, 2012
[32] pages
ISBN: 9781921248450 (pbk.)
ISBN: 1921248459 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: p PRE
Audience: For primary school age

This is a true story of two mates growing up in Broome, searching for hermit crabs, hunting for Barni, fishing for salmon, eating satays and dressing up as superheros.  Jack is an Aboriginal boy and Raf is his friend who has spina bifida.  The story shows that true friendship has no barriers.

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Teachers’ notes online at

ROUGHTAIL: the Dreaming of the roughtail lizard and other stories

told by the Kukatja = Tjarany :tjaranykura tjukurrpa ngaanpa kalkinpa wangka Tjukurrtjanu [ English/Kukatja] by Gracie Greene, Joe Tramacchi, and Lucille Gill

Broome, W.A.:Magabala, 1992
54 pages
ISBN: 0-95881-014-1
AIATSIS call number: B G799.30/R1
Winner of the Children's Book Council of Australia, Eve Pownall Award for Information Books 1993
Winner of the NSW Premier's Literary Awards, Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature 1993

This book was first published over twenty years ago but is so rich with stories and information that it is still in print.  Eight stories told including The Roughtail Lizard Dreaming, The Crow and the Eagle, The Witchetty Grub Man Dreaming, Kalpartu the Dreamtime Snake, The Seven Sisters.  The book explains family relationships and includes kinship diagrams. There are notes on Kukatja language and Kukatja-English wordlist.

Review / buy online at



Gosford, N.S.W. : Scholastic Press, 2010.
199 pages
ISBN: 9781741697261 (pbk.)
Series: (My Australian story)
AIATSIS call number: B H473.10/W2

Fictional diary of a ten year old girl, taken from her family to Bomaderry Home. From the Home she was adopted by a white family. Tells of her experiences with her adopted family and at school. On 26 January 1938 Mary misses the Empire Day celebrations and goes to the Aboriginal Conference in Elizabeth Street instead.

Available at AIATSIS Library and a Library near you.



St. Leonards, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin, 1998
74 pages
ISBN: 1864488182
Audience: Children 8-12 years
AIATSIS call number: B M135.60/M1

"With my little frog, nothing can hurt me"

Story of a young boy growing up and facing his fears with a green tree frog (girragundji) as his friend and protector. Boori Pryor and Meme McDonald collaborated on this award winning book, the first in a trilogy, and is followed by The Binna Binna Man and Njunjul the Sun (2003 Book of the Year - Older Readers). My Girragundji  and Njunjul the Sun have both been adapted for the stage.

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Monty Prior is an acclaimed author and cultural educator.  He is the Children’s Laureate 2012 and a National Ambassador for the National Year of Reading 2012.

To read more about his achievements see the National Year of Reading Website at



[Hobart, Tas.] : Dept. of Education Community and Cultural Development (Tasmania), 1997
54 pages
ISBN: 0724618139 (corrected)
ISBN: 0724643214
AIATSIS call number: B R212.67/T1

Beautifully illustrated collection of Tasmanian stories.  Taraba is the story of the Tasmanian devil, Tooritta – The wattle bird, Oonah – The platypus, Luina – the blue wren, Publedina – the wombat, and Koonya – the black swan. (Adapted from Touch the Morning, Tasmanian native Legends collected by Jackson Cotton, Hobart, Tas, : O.B.M., 1979).

Available at AIATSIS Library and a Library near you.



St Lucia, Qld : University of Queensland Press, 2007
300 pages
ISBN: 9780702235962
ISBN: 0702235962 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B L278.84/A1

This collection of stories from the great Bundjalung storyteller, Ruby Langford Ginibi, contains some of Ruby’s best.  You will have read some of them in Real Deadly but many of them have never been published before.  They tell of her family and her people with love and honesty.

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St. Lucia, Qld : University of Queensland Press, 1990
369 pages
ISBN: 9780702221804
AIATSIS call number: B D262.22/P2

A classic collection edited by the great Jack Davis. This anthology includes fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and prints by Jimmy Pike and the accompanying stories. Some of the greats included here are, David Unaipon, Paddy Roe, Sally Morgan, Gloria Brennan, Jimmy Everett, Hyllus Maris, Ruby Langford Ginibi, Banjo Worrumarra, William Ferguson, Jimmy Chi, Herbie Laughton, Gerry Bostock, Rob Riley, Pat Dodson, Gary Foley and many more.

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Sydney : Hodder Headline, 2002
360 pages
ISBN: 0733610706
AIATSIS call number: B P985.32/B1

Not a true anthology but a great collection of interviews! Nine under-40s Indigenous women discuss their lives, careers and interests with the author, Leah Purcell. A final chapter of conversation over dinner was filmed and is the basis of the DVD.  All interviews address issues in contemporary Australian Indigenous lives.

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Also Available as a DVD at



Crows Nest, N.S.W. : Allen & Unwin, 2008
260 pages
ISBN: 9781741754384 (pbk.)
AIATSIS call number: B H473.10/M1

From early letters written in the eighteenth and nineteenth century – one by Bennelong - to the writings of civil rights activists of the 1930s, a speech and poetry from the great Oodgeroo, to today’s Indigenous writers, this anthology contains a wide selection of writings to dip into.

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