AustLit logo


y separately published work icon 1788 1788 : the Birth of a Nation, Comprising A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay and An Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson; Watkin Tench's 1788 Watkin Tench , Tim Flannery (editor), Melbourne : Text Publishing , 1996 8267005 1996 single work single work biography (taught in 1 units)

'Watkin Tench stepped ashore at Botany Bay with the First Fleet in January 1788. He was in his late twenties, a captain of the marines, and on the adventure of his life. Insatiably curious, with a natural genius for storytelling, Tench wrote two enthralling accounts of the infant colony - A Narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay and A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson. Tench brings to life the legendary figures of Bennelong, Arabanoo and Governor Phillip, and records the voices of convicts trying to make new lives in their new country.'(Source: Goodreads website)

y separately published work icon The Children's Bach Helen Garner , Melbourne : McPhee Gribble , 1984 Z371975 1984 single work novella (taught in 6 units)

Athena and Dexter lead an enclosed family life, innocent of fashion and bound towards a disturbed child. Their comfortable rut is disrupted by the arrival of Elizabeth, a tough nut from Dexter's past. With her three charming, chaotic hangers-on, she draws the couple out into a world whose casual egotism they had barely dreamed of. How can they get home again? (Source: publisher's website)

y separately published work icon The Roving Party Rohan Wilson , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2011 Z1775364 2011 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 5 units) '1829, Tasmania.

'John Batman, ruthless, singleminded; four convicts, the youngest still only a stripling; Gould, a downtrodden farmhand; two free black trackers; and powerful, educated Black Bill, brought up from childhood as a white man. This is the roving party and their purpose is massacre. With promises of freedom, land grants and money, each is willing to risk his life for the prize.

'Passing over many miles of tortured country, the roving party searches for Aborigines, taking few prisoners and killing freely, Batman never abandoning the visceral intensity of his hunt. And all the while, Black Bill pursues his personal quarry, the much-feared warrior, Manalargena.

A surprisingly beautiful evocation of horror and brutality, The Roving Party is a meditation on the intricacies of human nature at its most raw.' (From the publisher's website.)
y separately published work icon The Tall Man : Death and Life on Palm Island Chloe Hooper , Camberwell : Hamish Hamilton , 2008 Z1483259 2008 single work prose (taught in 11 units) In November 2004, in the small township of Palm Island in the far north of Queensland, Detective Hurley arrested Cameron Doomadgee for swearing at him. Doomadgee was drunk. A few hours later he died in a watch-house cell. According to the inquest, his liver was so badly damaged it was almost severed. (Source: Trove)
y separately published work icon 26 Views of the Starburst World : William Dawes at Sydney Cove 1788-91 Twenty Six Views of the Starburst World Ross Gibson , Crawley : UWA Publishing , 2012 Z1901719 2012 single work biography (taught in 4 units)

'When Lieutenant William Dawes came to Botany Bay with the First Fleet Marines in January 1788 he delved into the world of a small group of Indigenous people from around Sydney Harbour. Dawes called his collaborators 'the Eora'. They told him it was their word for 'people', and it might have been the first thing they watched him write down.

'Chasing the fascinations that thrilled the Lieutenant during his disorienting time in Eora country, 26 Views of the Starburst World captures the wonder that shone for Dawes and rearranged him at Sydney Cove, amplified and illuminated, engulfed by language, stars and landscape.' (Publisher's website)

y separately published work icon The Lieutenant Kate Grenville , Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2008 Z1515910 2008 single work novel historical fiction (taught in 1 units)

'Daniel Rooke, soldier and astronomer, was always an outsider. As a young lieutenant of marines he arrives in New South Wales on the First Fleet in 1788 and sees his chance. He sets up his observatory away from the main camp, and begins the scientific work that he hopes will make him famous.

'Aboriginal people soon start to visit his isolated promontory, and a child named Tagaran begins to teach him her language. With meticulous care he records their conversations. An extraordinary friendship forms, and Rooke has almost forgotten he is a soldier when a man is fatally wounded in the infant colony. The lieutenant faces a decision that will define not only who he is but the course of his entire life.

'In this profoundly moving novel Kate Grenville returns to the landscape of her much-loved bestseller The Secret River. Inspired by the notebooks of William Dawes, The Lieutenant is a compelling story about friendship and self-discovery by a writer at the peak of her powers.' (Publisher's blurb)


This unit provides pathways into Australian literature by making use of the concepts attached to the idea of home. By this method, the unit opens up a way of making intelligible Australia’s unique writing and films. It also aims to provide a sense of historical chance and includes literary works from the nineteenth century, from representative moments of the twentieth century, and contemporary work from the current century. The overarching question concerning how Australia is home to its inhabitants brings into view issues about the competing claims of Indigenous, settler and migrant Australians.