Big book of Australian history by Peter Macinnis

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National Library of Australia, 2013. ISBN 9780642278326.
(Age: 8-Adult) Highly recommended. Award winning author Peter Macinnis has produced a wonderful history book that in easy to read sections provides an overview of Australian history. Starting with prehistory when Gondwana broke up, it continues with the first Aboriginal people, the explorers in the 1600's and then the arrival of Captain Cook. Significant events in Australian history since 1788, including the convicts, explorers, gold rushes, squatters, Federation, ANZAC, the Great Depression, World War 2 and controversial issues like the Vietnam War and conservation as well as sports are all described often in a double page spread. The pages are illustrated lavishly with pictures from the National Library of Australia and these add immense interest to the historical information.
This is a comprehensive look at Australia, giving bites of history that are really easy to comprehend and very interesting. It could be read from cover to cover in a chronological order, but it is fun to pick out pages of interest. The Contents page is useful, giving the main heading as well as what is contained in the article and there is an extensive index and list of illustrations. Using the index I found a section on Women, which led me to succinct information about women gaining the right to vote and a picture and description of the work of Enid Lyons.
Students in both primary and secondary schools will find this an exceptionally useful and fascinating book and I would highly recommend it for every school library.
Pat Pledger