The Story of Australia: For the Young (And the Curious)

Don Watson

The Story of Australia: For the Young (And the Curious)
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The Story of Australia: For the Young (And the Curious)

Don Watson

Don Watson’s The Story of Australia is a modern history of our nation that integrates new understandings about Indigenous Australia and looks to the future, asking- where will we go from here?

In clear, succinct language that both children and adults will appreciate, Watson guides readers from the ancient lands of Gondwana, through human settlement, colonisation and waves of migration, to the challenges facing our diverse nation today.

Each era is brought to life in a series of beautifully illustrated spreads that capture a particular event or development - or give a snapshot of ordinary Australians at the time. He covers the familiar and iconic - Burke and Wills, Ned Kelly and the Eureka Stockade - but also the lesser known, such as Daisy Bates and the Coniston massacres. Each chapter ends with a profile of a person, from the oldest Australian ever discovered, Mungo Woman, to pop icon Kylie Minogue.

The Story of Australia will be treasured by children and families for years to come.


In The Story of Australia: For the Young (and the Curious), Don Watson has created a toolbox of critical thinking for young readers. Not just a catalogue of the highlights of the Australian story, it is a well-rounded history that doesn’t shy away from the truth. Australia’s achievements – prosperity, universal suffrage, education and soldier settlements to name a few – are balanced by thoughtful examination of First Nations’ dispossession, the White Australia Policy and environmental irresponsibility.

Presented in chronological blocks starting with Ancient Australia, the text is broken down into smaller self-contained pieces with lots of illustrations. There are page-long cameo portraits of prominent Australians including Woollarawarre Bennelong, Gough Whitlam and Kylie Minogue. For in-depth study, longer pieces introduce broader subjects such as women’s work, war, the mining boom, migration, Keating’s republic movement and the Mabo decision.

Watson’s book is a perfect introduction to Australian history that will leave the reader with big questions for the future. Ideal for upper primary school, early high school and anyone who needs to fill in the gaps.

Susan Stevenson works as a bookseller at Readings Malvern.

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