Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Australia” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating


4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  50 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Australia celebrated one hundred years as a nation in 2001. This book - part history, part travelogue, part memoir - tells the inspiring story of how a one-time British colony of convicts turned itself into a prosperous and confident country. Through the eyes of ordinary people, Phillip Knightley describes Australia's journey, from federation and the trauma of the First Wo ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 6th 2001 by Vintage (first published 2000)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Australia, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Australia

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 111)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Dagmar Belesova
I knew very little about Australian history (especially modern history) and I found this book a revelation. It is written in a very engaging prose and it is fascinating to learn about all these events that shaped the Australia of today. A biography is a fitting choice of a word for a title - he portrays Australia almost as a character, with a unique personality and character, which develops throughout the book. It makes you want to go to country, just to engage with it and discover to what exten ...more
I didn't know anything about Australian history before reading this book, except maybe that it was discovered by a British guy a bunch of centuries ago, so I was uncertain where to start from. This was a very good choice: I think it's almost impossible to squeeze in many more facts in only 350 pages, and yet it doesn't feel like everything is just crammed in. The author manages to take his space to digress on some subjects and he is also capable of being humorous from time to time -- which, in m ...more
Stan Bebbington
This is not a guide book, it is a highly personal history of the country, affectionate but honest. It covers all the salient features of Australia's climb to nationhood via a strongly polarised series of political, social and industrial developments. Some of which are quite shocking revelations of exploitation and corruption. More Deadwood Gulch than Pugin's Neogothic. It is well written and a good read.
Oct 26, 2007 Ianto rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
An excellent, if non-academic, overview of Australian history and identity since the nineteenth century, with an excellent focus on Aboriginal affairs, and on the evolution of the country's relationship with the United Kingdom. Good for anyone who likes popular history.
Roger Norman
Easy reading, plenty of anecdotes, excellent on the beginnings of Oz, and very good on the world wars, vietnam and lots of other stuff, including Gough Whitlam. Gets a bit bogged down towards the end. Sympathetic to the Aussies but not craven.
Kersti Anear
May 05, 2010 Kersti Anear rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Aussies
Recommended to Kersti by: Christian Saemann
An amazing eye-opener of a book which has left me questioning everything I thought I knew about my homeland. Highly recommended for all Aussies.
I'm so excited to go to Australia!
Lee marked it as to-read
Jan 09, 2015
Laura is currently reading it
Dec 25, 2014
Isaura added it
Dec 21, 2014
Lauren Beckett
Lauren Beckett is currently reading it
Dec 12, 2014
Glenn marked it as to-read
Nov 26, 2014
Susan marked it as to-read
Jan 04, 2015
Will added it
Dec 16, 2014
Steve Colantuoni
Steve Colantuoni marked it as to-read
Sep 30, 2014
Lauren marked it as to-read
Jan 02, 2015
Katie Hutley
Katie Hutley marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2014
Jake Delaney
Jake Delaney marked it as to-read
May 16, 2014
Andreia marked it as to-read
Apr 04, 2014
Julie marked it as to-read
Feb 08, 2014
Smita marked it as to-read
Jan 20, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
Phillip Knightley was a special correspondent for The Sunday Times for 20 years (1965-85) and one of the leaders of its Insight investigative team. He was twice named Journalist of the Year (1980 and 1988) in the British Press Awards. He and John Pilger are the only journalists ever to have won it twice.

He was also Granada Reporter of the Year (1980), Colour Magazine Writer of the Year (1982), hol
More about Phillip Knightley...
The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero & Myth-maker from the Crimea to Iraq The Master Spy: The Story of Kim Philby The Second Oldest Profession: Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century The Philby Conspiracy The Secret Lives Of Lawrence Of Arabia

Share This Book

“[Senator Bill] O'Chee: What do I have to do to be an Australian, because my family has been in this country for a hundred and ten years
[78-year-old woman on incoming telephone call]: It doesn't matter.
O'Chee: I've got to look English, have I?
Old Lady: Yes
O'Chee: What about the Aboriginies?
Old Lady: They're Australian, too.
O'Chee: Can I just get this down for the record -- you can look Aboriginal and be an Australian, or you can look English and be an Australian, but you can't look Asian and be an Australian?
Old Lady: That's right.”
“It would be pointless to deny that some crime in Australia is linked to migrant communities. A factor here is that many migrants come from countries where the government trusts none of its citizens to tell the truth and demands proof for everything. The Australian system, where the authorities generally assume that a citizen is telling the truth, but provides penalties if they are then caught lying, tempts some migrants into illegal acts...” 1 likes
More quotes…