The Library holds a large range of primary and secondary resources relating to the history of Australia. This guide contains selected print works only.

Catalogue search tips

To search for general works about Australian history, select the 'Browse alphabetically' option, then 'subjects' . Some examples of Browse/Subjects searches are:

To search for works about a particular aspect of Australian history, select the 'Browse alphabetically' option, then 'subjects'. Examples are:

Reference collection

Available on open access in the Main Reading Room unless otherwise specified.


Oxford Companion to Australian History 2001
Covers people, institutions and events that have shaped Australian society, politics and culture. There are numerous extended essays on key facets of the nation's life - political, social, cultural, scientific, military and economic. RF 994.003 O98
Australians: A Historical Library 1987
A twelve volume historical library published for the bicentenary in 1988. Five volumes cover the history of Australia, and the other seven consist of reference texts covering aspects such as events and places, historical statistics, a guide to sources, historical dictionary and historical atlas. RF 994 A938
The Australian Encyclopaedia 1996
Emphasises distinctive features of Australia, particularly history, geography, natural history and the Aboriginal people. RFq 039.4 A938-6
The Australian People: An Encyclopedia of the Nation, its People and their Origins 2001
Documents the history of Australian settlement and describes the ethnic and cultural identity of the nation through the contributions of its people. RFf 994 A932
A History of Australia 1962-1987
Manning Clark’s classic six volume work covering the period of European settlement of Australia from 1770 to 1935 (request through the catalogue)


Australia Through Time 1993+
Annual chronology covering Australian history since 1868. An account of news-making people and events of the day set in the context of the time. The latest issue is located in the Reference Collection. NLf 994.04 AUS
Chronicle of Australia 2000
Information is presented chronologically from the estimated period of the first human contact of what is now Australia, to the present time. RFq 994 C557
Australia: An Illustrated History: From Dreamtime to the New Millennium 2004
Describes the history of Australia from the age of the dinosaurs to the present time, with more than 600 pictures and a bright and readable text. Rich in little-known facts about all aspects of Australian history. RF 994 M137

Military history

The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History 1995
Explores diverse topics in Australia’s military history and explains how military questions have affected Australian history. (request through the catalogue)
Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918 1921-1942
C.E.W. Bean’s twelve volume series covering Australian involvement in the First World War. There is a separate record in the catalogue for each volume. A set can be found at: RF 940.394 OFF.
Australia in the War of 1939-1945. (Series title) 1952-1987.
Official series that covers Australian involvement in the Second World War. Consists of five different series: Army, Navy, Air, Civil and Medical. There is a separate record in the catalogue for each volume in each series. RF 940.5394 AUS.


Australian Dictionary of Biography 1966+
Comprises seventeen volumes of lives of the more important figures in Australian history. The volumes are divided into time periods. Volumes one and two contain articles about people prominent between 1788-1850; volumes three to six, the period 1851-1890; volumes seven to twelve, the years 1891-1939; and volumes thirteen to seventeen, those who died between 1940 to 1990. RF 920.094 AUS (also available online).
The Founders of Australia: a Biographical Dictionary of the First Fleet 1989
Mollie Gillen’s comprehensive list and description of all the convicts, military and seamen who sailed on the First Fleet, including information about their fate in Australia. RF 994.020922 G476.
The Second Fleet: Britain's Grim Convict Armada of 1790 2001
Companion volume to the above, this work contains biographical studies of the men and women who sailed on the six ships of the Second Fleet. RF 994.020922 F648 Also in the Newspaper Reading Room Reference Collection at RX 929.394 F648 

Primary sources

Historical Records of Australia 1914-1925
Consists of thirty-three volumes of transcripts of significant documents in Australian history, covering the period 1786 to 1848. These volumes constitute one of the principal collections of primary sources in the study of colonial Australian history. RF 994 HIS.
Historical Records of New South Wales 1892-1901
This seven volume set provides comprehensive information concerning the foundation, progress and government of the colony of New South Wales during the period 1762-1811. Petherick Reading Room Reference Collection - No request required RAS 994.4 HIS
Historical Records of Victoria 1981-2002
A collection of surviving documents concerning the foundation and administration of the colony of Victoria for the period 1835-1840. Petherick Reading Room Reference Collection - No request required
The Journals of Captain James Cook on his Voyages of Discovery 1955-1974
Edited from the original manuscripts by J.C. Beaglehole, the four volumes provide a reliable and authoritative text of Cook's account of his three voyages of discovery in the Endeavourand the Resolution. RF 910.4 COO.

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