National History Outline for Australian Students

(Levels 1B to 5)

*** We would like to thank Ruth Marshall for generously sharing this history outline with us ***

General Notes

This is a general Australian history program, not a specifically Catholic one. If you have suggestions for Australian Catholic history, please send them to us and we will add an additional reading list.

Title marked *** indicates that the author wrote other books which are also worth reading.


Australian Living Books: An Annotated List by Ruth Marshall

Wonder … to Wisdom – Ruth Marshall’s website, including CM suggestions and resources from an Australian perspective.

Many Australian texts may be found online here.

Level 1B – Australian History

Eve Pownall, The Australia Book [Out of print – available second-hand]
Nadia Wheatley & Donna Rawlins, My Place

Read-Alouds (Choose from among the following)
Doris Chadwick, John of the Sirius; the other two books in the series are John of Sydney Cove, and John and Nanbaree
(Fiction – the First Fleet and the early years of the colony of New South Wales – Very highly recommended) [Out of print – available second-hand]
Ruth C. Williams, Verity of Sydney Town
(Fiction – set in the times of Governor Macquarie; exciting story about bushrangers) [Out of print- available second-hand]
Eve Pownall, Cousins-Come-Lately: Adventures in Old Sydney Town
(Fiction, set in Sydney in 1832) [Out of print – available second-hand]
Ethel Pedley, Dot and the Kangaroo (Fiction – this is an Australian “classic”)
Matthew Flinders, Trim (Matthew Flinders’ tribute to his ship’s cat.) [In print, or available online]
Colin Thiele, River Murray Mary*** (Fiction – set in the years between the wars)

Australian Art

Susan Venn, Roy and Matilda: The Golden Locket (or others in the same series)

Poetry by:
A.B. “Banjo” Paterson, including “The Man from Snowy River”, “Mulga Bill’s Bicycle”, “The Man from Ironbark”, Clancy of the Overflow” (and others)*** [Available Online]
C.J. Dennis, A Book for Kids [Available online]

Level 1A – British History

1st Year: Romans to the end of the Middle Ages
2nd Year: Tudors to Victoria

Recommended Resources

Our Island Story by H.E.Marshall

Our Lady’s Dowry by Kathryn Faulkner (in preparation: being made available to Mater Amabilis users through the Teacher Training Forum)

Level 2 – American and Australian History

1st Year: American History

Recommended Resource

From Sea to Shining Sea (Catholic Textbook Project)

Note: This book is expensive, but is a high quality, up-to-date summary of American history from a Catholic perspective. We are not aware whether there is an Australian source for this book. If there is, please let us know!

2nd Year: Australian History
Resources (Choose one of these two books as a spine text)

Arthur Baillie, Our Sunburnt Country: An Illustrated History of Australia [Out of print – available second-hand]
or H.E. Marshall, Our Empire Story (Read the Australian and New Zealand sections) [Available online at the Baldwin Project]

Optional Extra Resources

K.M. Adams Seeing History series [Out of print – available second-hand]:
1. The First Australians, Prehistory – 1810
2. Australia: Gaol to Colony, 1810-1850
3. Australia: Colonies to Commonwealth, 1850-1900
4. Twentieth Century Australia, 1900-1960

Supplementary reading
Australians in History series [Out of print – available second-hand]
Joan Phipson, Bennelong (Biography)
Ian Mudie, River Rivals (Paddle steamers on the Murray River)
Nancy Keesing, The Golden Dream (The Gold Rush)
Eve Pownall, The Singing Wire (Story of the Overland Telegraph)
Nance Donkin, Margaret Catchpole (Biography)
George Finkel. Matthew Flinders (biography)
K. Langloh Parker, Australian Legendary Tales [Online at Project Gutenberg]
H.J. Samuel, A Saddle at Bontharambo (True story of a pioneering family in northern Victoria) [Out of print]
Kathleen Monypenny, And the Children Came, Too (True stories from Australian history, seen through the eyes of the children who were there) [Out of print]
Mrs Aeneas Gunn, We of the Never Never (Autobiographical account of life on a remote cattle station at the beginning of the 20th century) [In print; also available online at Project Gutenberg]
Mrs Aeneas Gunn, A Little Black Princess (Biographical account of an Aboriginal girl)
A.B. Paterson, Illalong Children (Autobiography of his childhood)
Ethel Turner, Seven Little Australians (Fiction – this is an Australian “classic” – set in the late 19th century)***
Ethel Turner, The Cub (Fiction – set during World War 1 – A good title for learning about Australia’s involvement in, and the attitudes of ordinary Australians to the war)
Mary Elwyn Patchett, Ajax the Warrior (Account of the author’s childhood in the early 20th century)
Mary Grant Bruce, the Billabong series (Fiction)
Colin Thiele, February Dragon (Fiction – modern story about a bushfire)***

Independent reading from among the books listed as read-alouds for level 1.

Short Stories, including:
Henry Lawson, “The Loaded Dog”

Australian Art

The Heidelberg School & other artists


Choose poetry from the following writers (and others). Be sure to include the following:
Banjo Paterson, “Pioneers”
Dorothea Mackellar, “My Country”
C.J. Dennis, “Green Walls”
Mary Hannay-Foote, “Where the Pelican Builds Her Nest”; “The Australiad” [Online]
Henry Lawson, “Andy’s Gone with Cattle” [Online]

Level 3 – British History

1st Year: 55BC-1485
2nd Year: 16th-19th centuries

(See Option 2: British History – Level 3)

Level 4 – 20th Century World History

Level 5 – Australian History

(Choose one of the following three books as a spine – Note that I (Ruth) haven’t yet seen either the Manning Clark book, or Blainey, so can’t vouch for them, though they are recommended by other home schooling families):

  • Ernest Scott, A Short History of Australia

[Available online at Project Gutenberg – other titles by the same author may be worth finding online]

  • Manning Clark, A Short History of Australia
  • Geoffrey Blainey, A Shorter History of Australia

Supplementary reading
Primary documents: Project Gutenberg of Australia includes links to a timeline of Australian explorers, a chronology of Australian history, and more.
Rolf Boldrewood, Robbery Under Arms (Fiction – bushrangers) [Available online at Project Gutenberg]
Alan Marshall, I Can Jump Puddles (Autobiography – early 20th century)
Ion Idriess, Flynn of the Inland (Biography of the founder of the Flying Doctor Service)
Ion Idriess, The Cattle King (biography of Sir Sydney Kidman)***
Sally Morgan, My Place [Either the adult version, or the three volumes adapted for young people] (Biography/autobiography about an Aboriginal family)

Short Stories
Henry Lawson (including “The Drover’s Wife”)

The Oxford Book of Australian Verse (also available online)
Henry Lawson, e.g. from Mary Called Him Mister (Australian Picturemac, Illustrated by John Anthony King – ISBN 0 7329 1266 0), or other collections; Lawson’s poetry found online here.

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