The Library does not maintain contact details for authors. You could try contacting the author's publisher. To find the latest publisher of an author try searching either our online Catalogue or Trove for recent items by the author.

Some useful resources are:

The Australian Publishers Association, where you can search the industry directory to find contact information for publishers.

Books in Print contains author biographies and publisher information. This database is available offsite to National Library members. contains information on playrights and their plays, with some pages including contact details. 


There are a series of "Castlereagh" books written by Ross Napier. Could you please tell me how many books there are in the series and the order in which they were written and the order in which the should be read? 

We can search AustLit to find all the books written by Ross Napier, including the six books in the Castlereagh series. These are (with the publishing dates):

  • The Castlereagh Line, 1984
  • The Castlereagh Way, 1985
  • The Colours of Castlereagh, 1987
  • The Castlereagh Heritage, 1988
  • The Castlereagh Rose, 1990
  • The Castlereagh Cross, 1992

The Castlereagh Heritage does not appear in the National Library Catalogue, but we can find it at six Australian libraries with a search of Trove.

Not sure where to start?

Man readingFairfax Corporation, Man reading in the Municipal Library, New South Wales, 20 June 1930, nla.obj-160653595  

Questions and Answers

Browse example questions received by the Library. Answers were provided by Reader Services staff using the resources in this guide. You can find AustLit and other databases by visiting our eResources portal and searching for the database under the Browse eResources tab.

Case Study

Oldest Novel set in Canberra

M. Barnard Eldershaw's novel, Plaque with Laurel, set in Canberra, was published in 1937. Is this the first novel to use Canberra as a setting?

  • We can use the AustLit database  search function to find the oldest novel set in Canberra. Type in Canberra novel as keywords.
  • On the results page, under Topic select Canberra and under Form select novel.
  • Use the drop-down menu 'Sort by relevance' to choose 'Sort by work date'. The oldest published item will appear first.
  • This shows that Plaque with Laurel is the oldest novel.

A further search of AustLit shows there is poetry and several older short stories with Canberra as a subject. There is also a 1917 novella:

Australia A.D. 2000; or, The Great Referendum
Fielding, S. G. (a.k.a. Fielding, Sydney Glanville; Fielding, Rev. Sydney G.)
Sydney, New South Wales : William Andrews, 1917.

This is marked as  "novella, fantasy, science fiction" A Library copy of this item also shows that it is a form of religious essay.  Therefore it would seem that Plaque with Laurel is in fact the oldest novel set in Canberra.

Case Study

Biographical details for an author

Do you have any biographical information about Walter Cunningham? I need to include information and quote his birth and death dates in my thesis.

We can find a short biographical entry for Walter Cunningham in the book Authors & illustrators of Australian children's books.  The book references Cunningham as being born in Twickenham England in 1910 and dying in August 1988.

There is also some limited biographical information on Cunningham from Prints and Printmaking Australia.  

While the Library has a biographical cuttings file on Walter Cunningham it only lists the publications he illustrated and does not provide any other biographical information.

For more information we could try contacting the The National Centre for Australian Children's Literature at the University of Canberra. They hold research files on many children's authors and illustrators including Cunningham. 

Case Study

A poem half-remembered from school

Can you help me locate a poem taught in NSW primary schools late 1950s? The only verse I can recall is,

"There's many a hole, in branch and bole, where wood ducks find a rest

As they halt at night on a southern flight, from the dried out spaces West"

We can search for the lines of the poem in Trove. Newspapers often printed poetry in their pages, and we were lucky in this case.  The poem,The Tale of an Old Gum Tree, was submitted to 'Scrap Book', in the  Albury Banner and Wodonga Express (NSW : 1896 - 1938), May  1, 1936, page 21.

AustLit has more publishing information.  It was first published in The Bulletin, vol.41 no. 2083 15 January 1920, page 22, and in The School Paper : Grades V and VI, no.339 July 1927, pages 91 & 92. 


The Cambridge History of Australian Literature

The Cambridge History of Australian Literature edited by Peter Pierce (2009)

Draws on scholarship from leading figures in the field and spans Australian literary history from colonial origins, indigenous and migrant literatures, as well as representations of Asia and the Pacific and the role of literary culture in modern Australian society

Find this book in a library near you through Trove


Could you tell me where I might find a list of book club discussion questions on Windmill Hill by Michael Jacobson?

There are several websites which include discussion guides for specific books. Unfortunately, after a wide internet search, there were no guides for Windmill Hill by Michael Jacobson.

For future discussions, you may find it helpful to visit CAE Book Groups, from the Council of Adult Education, Victoria. The National Library holds a set of their discussion notes, available to view in the Library.

There are also other websites which help to get you started in book group discussions, such as How to lead a book club discussion and Lit Lovers.

The National Library of Australia is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites.


If you are a registered reader, You can request items to read and photocopy in the reading rooms of the National Library of Australia.  

Registered readers can also search selected subscription databases.

If you can't visit the Library, you can use the National Library's Copies Direct service to request copies and have them sent to you via mail or email. Please note there may be copyright restrictions when using this service.

You can also search Trove to find a library closer to you which has the item in their collection.

If there is no library near you with the item, you may be able to arrange an interlibrary loan through your local public or institutional library  Please ask staff at your local library for assistance with this.