Non-fiction

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The Unlucky Australians

by Frank Hardy
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genre History · Non-fiction

Bestselling author Frank Hardy’s seminal account of the Wave Hill Station strike, an event that launched the game-changing Indigenous land rights campaign.

In 1966, led by Vincent Lingiari, the Gurindji and other Indigenous peoples working on Wave Hill Station in the Northern Territory did something radical: they went on strike. They wanted equal wages—and land rights. Author Frank Hardy happened to be there. In The Unlucky Australians he tells the story of this walk-off, one that resulted in a successful land rights claim—a term Hardy has been credited for inventing in this important book, first published in 1968.

Some twenty years later, in 1991, Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody released a song about the strike which quickly captured national attention: ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’. In the 40th Anniversary edition of this book, Kelly is quoted as saying, ‘I‘d heard of the Gurindji Wave Hill walk-off story in my travels over the years. Kev Carmody and I went on a camping trip in Queensland and came up with a melody and an idea. Then I read Frank’s book which put me right there.’

Reviewing this same anniversary edition for The Age , Nathan Hollier wrote: ‘It seems amazing that The Unlucky Australians has never been made into a movie. It is unbelievable that it has been out of print for so long. This is a great story that is of enormous importance to all Australians. That sounds like hyperbole, but it isn’t.’

What is unbelievable now is that the book fell out of print once again. The good news is that its inclusion in the Untapped Collection has rescued it for future generations.

Frank Hardy (1917–1994) was a journalist, novelist and scriptwriter. His books include Power without Glory (1950), the satire Outcasts of Foolgarah (1971), also in the Untapped Collection, and The Dead Are Many (1975).


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The Taylor Years

by Ken Piesse
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genre Non-fiction · Sport

In 1999, cricketer Mark Taylor AO retired from Test cricket and was named Australian of the Year. He went out on a high having been captain for the last five years, leading an increasingly successful Australian team. In The Taylor Years, first published in 2000, veteran sports journalist Ken Piesse brilliantly brings to life what wasn’t only a key period in Australian cricket, but a key period in Australian sport. A must for cricket fans.

Ken Piesse is a journalist, commentator, magazine editor and author—he’s published 76 books. President of the Australian Cricket Society for more than a decade, Ken is also a member of the Melbourne Cricket Club Media Hall of Fame and the Australian Football Media Hall of Fame.


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The Sectarian Strand

by Michael Hogan
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genre History · Non-fiction

A comprehensive examination of the profound impact of religion and religious rivalries on the development of Australian society from the convict era onwards.

Academic, author and former Catholic priest, Michael Hogan’s research focus is religion and politics. He’s written and edited more than twelve books. His most recent work is Cradle of Australian Political Studies: Sydney’s Department of Government (2015). The Sectarian Strand was first published in 1987.


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The Moth Hunters

by Josephine Flood
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genre History · Non-fiction

A landmark work documenting in detail the pre-history of the Australian Alps.

‘Dr Flood essays a total picture of Aboriginal communities and their use of and impact on terrain through time. ‘Pure’ archaeology is not enough. Archaeology plus the environmental sciences is not enough. Ethnohistory is not enough — for it is a view from the wrong side of the frontier. Only from an amalgam of archaeology, landscape sciences and documentary studies can a living portrait be moulded of any part of Australia and its people.’ So wrote Sylvia Hallam in the journal, Aboriginal History in 1982 in her review of The Moth Hunters.

Hallan also noted of Flood that: ‘She employed a great variety of skills — herself a climber, bushwalker, surveyor, photographer, field archaeologist, excavator, artefact assemblage analyst, statistician, and historian; and she marshalled and drew on the skills of others — amateur, student and professional archaeologists; geographers, zoologists, botanists; bush men, climbers, landowners. Her data range from field monuments, artefact scatters and excavated stratified sites; through stone tool assemblages, distributions and environmental resources; to early European descriptive accounts of Aborigines in a landscape.’ She concludes by stating the book to be ‘a most impressive and important piece of work.’ And so it has proven to be, over forty years from its first publication in 1980.

Josephine Flood AM is an archeologist, author and former director of the Aboriginal Heritage Section of the Australian Heritage Commission. Her works include The Moth Hunters (1980), Archeology of the Dreamtime (1983) and The Riches of Ancient Australia (1993). Her most recent book is the revised edition of The Original Australians (2019).


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The Inaudible Music

by Bruce Johnson
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genre Music · Non-fiction

The Inaudible Music was the first book — and remains the only — to encompass jazz, gender and Australian modernity. With the global rise of what are referred to as the New Jazz Studies, it has become regarded as a pioneering benchmark study. First published in 2000.

‘Jazz is arguably the most important form of popular music in the twentieth century. Personally, I have no doubt that it is. And this brilliant book has powerfully underlined that view.’ — Eric Myers, former National Jazz Co-ordinator, JazzCord, 2000

Bruce Johnson is an academic, musician and author. His most recent work is Jazz Diaspora: Music and Globalisation (2020), and Ted Nettelbeck opened his review of this new book by stating: ‘Professor Bruce Johnson is arguably Australia’s foremost scholar of Australian jazz history.’


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The Devil and James McAuley

by Cassandra Pybus
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genre Biography · Non-fiction

James McAuley was many things: poet, founding editor of the journal Quadrant, one of those involved in the notorious Ern Malley hoax, Catholic convert – and, as Cassandra Pybus reveals in this award-winning biography, an influential cold war warrior with connections to ASIO and the CIA. But how did these different aspects of his life influence each other? 

First published in 1999, The Devil and James McAuley won the National Non-Fiction Award.

Cassandra Pybus is a biographer, historian and novelist. Her most recent book is Truganini, winner of the National Biography Award, 2021.


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The Big Fella

by Bede Nairn
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genre Biography · Non-fiction

Jack Lang was twice premier of New South Wales, his second term ending in 1932 with dismissal by the Governor at the height of the Great Depression. Covering a key period in Australia’s history, and that of the Australian Labor Party, The Big Fella is much more than an illuminating biography of the complex Lang. 

Bede Nairn (1917–2006) was the general editor of the Australian Dictionary of Biography for many years and a highly respected historian. The Big Fella was first published in 1986.


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Port Arthur

by Margaret Scott
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genre History · Non-fiction

This is the first book on the tragic event that became known as the Port Arthur massacre, the day a lone gunman killed thirty-five people beginning at an historic site on the Tasman Peninsula; and it is still one of the most comprehensive and important. 

Acclaimed poet, author, and long-time resident of the tight-knit community where the tragedy took place, Margaret Scott doesn’t focus only on the event. Instead she places it in context, giving a history of the site and how the community grew away from its dark past as a penal colony while still trying to do justice to those who suffered there, before reconstructing what happened on April 28th, 1996 using interviews, official court documents, and press releases. She doesn’t sensationalise the tragedy but instead manages to shine a light on the everyday people whose small acts of kindness and bravery in the face of terror showed a community banding together – and the power of human compassion. 

Margaret Scott (1934–2005) was an award-winning poet, academic, novelist and non-fiction writer. She was awarded the Centenary Medal for her outstanding contribution to Tasmanian literature.


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Ready When You Are, C.B.!

by Alan Yates
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genre Biography · Non-fiction

Carter Brown was a publishing phenomenon whose mystery novels sold in their millions around the world. But who was he? Alan Yates, his creator, tells all in this extraordinary account of a globally successful and astonishingly productive Australian writer of pulp fiction who until recently had fallen into obscurity.

First published in 1983. For more information about Carter Brown’s work visit www.carterbrownonline.com/carter-brown.


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Paradise Mislaid

by Anne Whitehead
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genre Biography · Non-fiction

Part history, part travelogue, all riveting story, Paradise Mislaid is historian Anne Whitehead’s award-winning account of her quest to discover the story of the 500 idealistic Australians who attempted to establish a socialist Utopia in the jungles of Paraguay at the end of the nineteenth century.

‘One of the most bizarre stories in Australian history – splendidly told by one of our master story-tellers.’ — Frank Moorhouse

‘An exhaustive yet entertaining piece of historical detective work which is at once authoritative, scholarly and delightfully chatty… due to Whitehead’s own indefatigable physical adventures, it’s also a travel adventure to rival Bruce Chatwin’s wanderings.’ — The Leader

‘A superb blend of travel writing and history, during which Whitehead casts her discerning eye on the present, with pertinent excursions to the past. This personal odyssey has resulted in a wonderful, rambunctious, passionate, picaresque narrative that combines meticulous research with compelling personal stories and acute observation. One is swept irresistibly along.’ — Tim Bowden, Sydney Morning Herald

First published in 1997, Paradise Mislaid won the New South Wales Premier’s Australian History Award in 1998 and was also shortlisted for the Nita Kibble Literary Award that same year. Anne Whitehead’s companion volume, Bluestocking in Patagonia, is also part of the Untapped Collection.