Review of ‘Australian Story: An Illustrated Timeline’

Home » Review of ‘Australian Story: An Illustrated Timeline’

Fiona Eastwood Please welcome Fiona Eastwood to Children’s Books Daily. Fiona is a primary school teacher librarian and like me she is completing her Masters – so we both really should not have been reviewers and speakers for the Children’s Book Council claytons short list event…but who can resist the opportunity to read and review some of the best in children’s literature! Fiona spoke about the information book category and this is one of the books she and I hope will be on the Eve Pownall Information Book Short List, announced next week. This one is really a must have for every school library and Australian household – I’m thinking I should purchase a copy for my Belgian brother in law who has recently arrived here to live!

Here are Fiona’s notes from our claytons evening…



‘Australian Story: An Illustrated Timeline’

Title: ‘Australian Story: An Illustrated Timeline’
Author: Tania McCartney, and illustrated with a striking collection of photographs and images chosen by Tania from the National Library of Australia.
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Age Range: Middle Primary – Lower Secondary


Take a trip into the past––from the explosive beginnings of our planet to modern-day Australia. Featuring succinct entries on historical moments over the past 47 billion years, Australian Story covers ecological change, politics, invention, war, immigration, celebration, culture, modern technology and more. Australian Story is a fascinating snapshot of our country—it tells us who we once were, who we are today … and where we are going.

Click on title links or cover image to purchase. 


The beauty of this resource is that it is so easy for children and adults alike to read. The timeline runs across the bottom of the pages and is presented numerically and in words (65 thousand years ago). The landscape presentation of the book lends itself to a timeline. With the emergence of the new ‘Australian Curriculum: History’, reading a timeline is an important skill from foundation years to high school.

The visual representations of important events and artefacts in Australia’s past are presented in an uncluttered style and with excellent annotations. Featured facts are inclusive of an indigenous perspective  (examples include – Rainbow Serpent is the oldest, continuing belief of all time; Indigenous farming practices; 1838 was the year of the Black Line forcing Tasmanian Aboriginal People off their land) and there is an interesting mixture of firsts and lasts shown (examples: 1861- first Melbourne Cup or 1971 first McDonald opens ; time zones, explorers, aviators and pest control; last volcanic eruption was in 4900 years ago).

The illustrations, be they photographs, paintings, artefacts or graphics, are all referenced and many are from the National Library of Australia’s digital collection. ‘Analysis of sources’ is one of the five historical skills in the Australian Curriculum and this book has excellent examples for students to consider. Students can access the NLA’s digital collection here and can research particular sections from ‘Australian Story’.

This publication is the perfect addition to a primary or secondary school library collection.

  • Teaching notes for ‘Australian Story’ are here (National Library of Australia) and here (The Book Chook).
  • To gain insight into the research process see here (Deescribewriting blog) and here (Sally Murphy’s blog). These two blog posts would be an excellent resource to share with your students before they begin their own research tasks.
  • Tania McCartney has more information about Australian Story on her blog.
  • To find out more about Tania McCartney (perhaps as an author study) start here.
  • Tania McCartney’s next information book is due out in August this year and is titled Eco Warriors, you can read more here. Eagerly anticipating this one!

An example page from the book is below.



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Megan Daley Bio

Looking for more great book reviews and recommendations? I’m Megan Daley and you can find out more about me here.

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