11 Sensational Novels That Take Place in Australia

Australia is a fascinating place with a unique culture, history, and natural landscape. This makes it a great setting for books, from enthralling historical fiction to intriguing mysteries. Whether you're familiar with the country or want to learn more about what life is like there, you're sure to love these well-written novels. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Books Set in Australia: Our 11 Picks

Title Author Genre
1. The Natural Way of Things Charlotte Wood Dystopian Fiction
2. The Year of the Farmer Rosalie Ham Literary Fiction
3. An Isolated Incident Emily Maguire Thriller
4. Sweet Bitter Cane G.S. Johnston Historical Fiction
5. Missing You Kylie Kaden Mystery
6. The Opal Dragonfly Julian Leatherdale Historical Fiction
7. Rain Music Di Morrissey Literary Fiction
8. A Long Way From Home Peter Carey Historical Fiction
9. Crimson Lake Candice Fox Crime Novel
10. The Grazier's Wife Barbara Hannay Romance
11. The Railwayman's Wife Ashley Hay Romance

8 Great Australian Films

  1. Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)
  2. The Proposition (2005)
  3. Shine (1996)
  4. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)
  5. Red Dog (2011)
  6. Mad Max (1979)
  7. Little Fish (2005)
  8. Mystery Road (2013)

The History of Australia

In Depth

From the city streets of Sydney to the swamps of Queensland, the beautiful and diverse terrain of Australia is the setting for countless amazing books. Whether it's about family secrets, powerful friendships, or finding a new pathway in life, each has an intriguing story to tell. In no particular order, here are eleven sensational novels that take place in Australia.

Starting our list at #1 is "The Natural Way of Things" by Charlotte Wood. Two young women, Verla and Yolanda, awake from a drug-induced sleep in the middle of the Australian Outback. Held captive in a prison, they spend their days shackled to ten other women. At night, they slumber in pens like animals. Verla and Yolanda soon learn what all of the prisoners have in common, and work to stay strong, both mentally and physically, in order to survive.

At #2 we have "The Year of the Farmer" by Rosalie Ham. Neralie returns to her rural hometown of New South Wales just as rain begins to fall for the first time after years of drought. Her ex, Mitch, is now married to Mandy, an unlikable woman who desperately wants to fit in with the townsfolk. Although the rain should be a reason for farmer Mitch to celebrate, the downpour threatens his new crops. To make matters worse, he's still in love with Neralie. While trying to navigate this love triangle, he gets caught in the middle of an epic battle to save the farming community.

Although the rain should be a reason for farmer Mitch to celebrate, the downpour threatens his new crops.

#3 on the list is "An Isolated Incident" by Emily Maguire. Following the murder of twenty-five-year-old Bella Michaels, the town of Strathdee is reeling with shock and anguish. Amidst the media frenzy, Bella's older sister, Chris, and a news reporter, May, search for answers. In their quest, they unearth secrets about Bella's relationships and the abuse of women in the community.

#4 is "Sweet Bitter Cane" by G.S. Johnston. Wanting to escape the war in Italy, Amelia weds Italo, an Australian resident she's never met face-to-face. While sailing to her new husband's home, she meets Fergus. Although their encounter is brief, he leaves an indelible mark on her life. In Queensland, she helps Italo with his sugarcane business, and it flourishes. But despite the success, Amelia is faced with a number of challenges as an immigrant woman in a male-dominated industry.

For #5 we have "Missing You" by Kylie Kaden. After meeting at a concert, Aisha and Ryan fall in love and get married. Although her husband doesn't want children, Aisha becomes unexpectedly pregnant and gives birth to a special-needs son. Both parents are smitten with the baby, but the stress eventually drives Ryan away. Aisha raises her son by herself until, one night, she receives a mysterious phone call. She leaves the child with her elderly father and never returns. Both angry and fearful, her father searches for answers about his daughter's disappearance.

Both angry and fearful, her father searches for answers about his daughter's disappearance.

Coming in at #6 is "The Opal Dragonfly" by Julian Leatherdale. In 1851, seventeen-year-old Isobel Macleod is living in Sydney. Her family's misfortune begins when her dying mother gives her an opal brooch. Soon after, her father is embroiled in a scandal. In an attempt to save his life, Isobel disguises herself and sneaks into the city to stop an impending duel. Having stepped out of line, she is socially disgraced in the colony and her family's woes continue. As she navigates the hardships, Isobel wonders if the brooch is the root of their problems.

#7 is "Rain Music" by Di Morrissey. When Bella and Ned Chisholm's father dies, Ned stubbornly refuses to attend the funeral. This puts a huge strain on the siblings' relationship. Soon after, Ned moves to northern Queensland to pursue his musical aspirations while his sister stays behind. Years pass with no communication between the two, until Bella embarks on a journey to find her brother and make amends.

For #8 we find "A Long Way From Home" by Peter Carey. Titch and Irene share a passion for cars. While he's a skilled mechanic, she's a daredevil who loves the thrill of driving fast. The couple, along with their navigator, Willie, set out on an epic eighteen-day race around Australia. Written by a Booker Prize winner, this tale recounts the group's adventures and eye-opening experiences.

The couple, along with their navigator, Willie, set out on an epic eighteen-day race around Australia.

#9 on the list is "Crimson Lake" by Candice Fox. In six short minutes, Ted Conkaffey's life shatters to pieces. The detective is accused of a crime he didn't commit. Although he's never convicted, the Sydney community views him as guilty. Ted flees to the town of Crimson Lake where he meets Amanda Pharrell, an intriguing and troubled private investigator. She asks him to help her with a case, and he discovers that even in the swamps of Australia, there is no place to hide from the past.

At #10 is "The Grazier's Wife" by Barbara Hannay. Alice Miller owns a furniture restoration business in northern Queensland. While fixing a sideboard for Jackie Drummond, she discovers an envelope on the back of the mirror. Inside, she finds a stack of letters written by Jackie's mother-in-law, which recount her time living in Singapore. Unfortunately, they also contain information that has the potential to tear the family apart. In this novel, which spans several decades, three women reveal the hardship and heartache of being a cattle farmer's wife.

And last, #11 goes to "The Railwayman's Wife" by Ashley Hay. At the end of World War II, Anikka Lachlan's husband dies in a tragic railroad accident. Trying to navigate her new life as a widow, Anikka finds a job as a librarian in the city of Thirroul. While working, she meets two men, Roy and Frank, who are also seeking comfort in books. Through a growing friendship, they make peace with their harrowing pasts and begin looking forward to the future.