Review Blog

Mar 08 2012

Australian story: an illustrated timeline by Tania McCartney

cover image

National Library of Australia, 2011. ISBN 9780642277459. Available from National Library Bookstore.
(All ages) Highly recommended. A visual feast, Australian story is just what its title claims: an illustrated timeline of events that have been significant in Australia's history. Starting from a time when there was nothing and continuing from when earth is created, the book travels through to 2010, where it leaves the reader gazing at a blue sky page and being asked, 'Where will we go next?'
Aimed mainly at primary school students the bite size snippets of information and accompanying illustration will entice children into finding out more about particular events, or discussing events that happened during their parents' and grandparents' lives. However, older students studying a particular decade in history will find that the timeline will give them succinct information about major events that happened in Australia during that time and which are accompanied by photographs and illustrations. An example of this is the 1960-1969 decade, where both social, historical and scientific events are highlighted, some of which include: 1962: All indigenous Australians are given the right to vote; 1964: The Beatles tour Australia; 1965-1973: Australian soldiers fight in the Vietnam War; 1966: some 200 Indigenous people protest against poor working conditions in the Gurindji Walk Off; 1966: TV news reports are received via satellite; 1967: Prime Minister Harold Holt disappears during a morning swim.
This book will be a rewarding read for people who are seriously interested in well researched, past events or those who just like flicking through looking at intriguing fragments of our history. For example when opening up a random page I found out that Vegemite was first produced in Australia in 1923. As an adult, I found it fascinating to look through the decades during the time that I have been alive and find events that I could remember and others that had passed me by.
Tania McCartney's text is concise and very interesting to read. The accompanying pictures and captions are also fascinating and provide a wealth of information. There is a Captions section at the back of the book, which provides information about the source of the pictures, photos etc and could be used as a lesson in the use of primary sources. The production team has done a wonderful job in the arrangement of this book.
The book will also prove invaluable for teachers when introducing topics in the Australian national curriculum. Tania has provided teaching notes for Key Stage 1 and Key stage 2 during her blog tour. Scroll down the pages for these.
Australian Story is a must for all libraries and a great addition for a family to peruse.
Pat Pledger

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