Latest from the Library

June 2017

International Women's Day Quiz

Thank you to everyone who entered the Library’s International Women’s Day quiz. Several prizes were awarded. We hope all winners enjoy their prize!

Quiz Answers:

  1. 1975 was International Women's Year? Answer: true.
  2. New Zealand was the first country to grant equal voting rights to women. True or false? Answer: True
  3. International Women's Day was first celebrated in 1911. True or false? True


Reading Challenges

Are you up for a reading challenge? If so, you might like to try one of these …

Good Reads reading challenge

Better World Books  


To mark NAIDOC Week (2 to 9 July 2017), we feature books on Indigenous Australians and related issues.

The Power of Bones by Keelen Mailman

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 157854)

Subject Interest Codes: Autobiography, Biography-Australian, Indigenous Non-fiction, Inspirational Stories

Summary: It looked bleak and predictable for little Keelen Mailman: an alcoholic mother, absent father, the horrors of regular sexual and physical assault and the casual racism of a small outback town in the 1960s.

But somehow, despite the pain and deprivation, the lost education, she managed to absorb her mother’s lessons: her Bidjara language and culture, her obligations to Country, and her loyalty to her family.

So it was no surprise to some that a girl who could hide for a year in her own home to keep her family together, run as fast as Raelene Boyle and catch porcupine and goanna, would one day make history.

At just 30, and a single mother, Keelen became the first Aboriginal woman to run a commercial cattle station when she took over Mt Tabor, two hours from Augathella on the black soil plains of western Queensland.

This is the heartland of Bidjara country, after all, the place her mother and grandparents and great-grandparents had camped on and cared for, and where their ancestors left their marks on caves and rock walls more than 10,000 years ago.

In this unflinching memoir, the warmth of Keelen’s personality, her determination and her irresistible humour shine through as she recalls her extraordinary life.

The Little Red Yellow Black Book: an introduction to Indigenous Australia by Bruce Pascoe, with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Formats: DAISY disc and download (AU 128717) and braille and braille download (AU 133832)

Subject Interest Codes: Indigenous Non-fiction, Australian Non-fiction

Summary: An invaluable introduction to Australia's rich Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture.

If you're an adult wanting to learn what you weren't taught at school, or a student or teacher who wants to hear from and about Indigenous Australians, or if you're a migrant or tourist, or an institution or department with cross-cultural training needs, then The Little Red Yellow Black Book is a very useful and enjoyable resource.

The book takes a non-chronological approach, and is written from an Indigenous viewpoint. The themes that emerge are the importance of identity, adaptation and continuity. The four sections are: Who Are We?; Culture and Sport; Participation and Governance; and Resistance and Reconciliation.

Here are stories the media don't tell you. Mini-essays on famous and everyday people and organisations will give insights into a range of Indigenous experiences.

Blacklines: Contemporary Critical Writing by Indigenous Australians, by Michele Grossman, co-ordinating editor

Formats: DAISY disc and download (AU 107563) and braille and braille download (AU 93355)

Subject Interest Codes: Essays, Indigenous Non-fiction, Language and Cultural Criticism

Summary: This is a ground-breaking volume - the first collection of critical writing by Indigenous Australian intellectuals addressing contemporary cultural issues.

Written by established and emerging Indigenous intellectuals from a variety of positions, perspectives and places, these essays generate new ways of seeing and understanding Indigenous Australian history, culture, identity and knowledge in national and global contexts.

From museums to Mabo, anthropology to art, feminism to film, land rights to literature, the essays offer provocative insights and compelling arguments around the historical and contemporary issues confronting Indigenous Australians today.

If you would like more titles, ask the library to add Indigenous Non-fiction to your favourite book genres, or visit our online catalogue to choose a title yourself.


Library resources for homework help and research

Did you know that Vision Australia Library subscribes to online research databases that include up-to-date information on Australian and overseas topics, as well as a wide range of general interest, health and lifestyle magazines?

Topics covered include; current affairs, health, geography and social studies, history, literature, science and gardening to mention just a few.

But why would you want to use these rather than just searching the internet?

Put simply, these sources are freely available to library members, and include articles from authoritative journals, reference books, and encyclopaedias.

Some also include images, maps and videos. They are easy to search and offer the flexibility to limit or expand searches in a way that is not possible in Google.

The content is often available in full text and is easy to save, print, email or download.  In addition to all of this, some of the databases even include an option to search other databases with a single click without having the re-type your search. 

Vision Australia Library databases include the Britannica Online, Australian and New Zealand Reference Centre and Gale Virtual Reference Library and MasterFILE Premier.  As an added bonus if you search Credo Reference you will be offered an option to search Australian and New Zealand Reference Centre and MasterFILE Premier with a single click and without the need to repeat the search in the two databases.

If you’re after lighter reading, Popular Magazines Plus and MasterFILE Premier also include magazines and trade journals, general interest, current events, sports and lifestyle magazines like the Australian Women’s Weekly, Australian Geographic, Nature, Vanity Fair and many others as well as News Limited newspapers.   

Try the online reference and research databases today? There is a link on the Youth library page and also on the i-access online welcome page.

Contact the Library for more details.

- Katalin Mindum, Reference Information Librarian


Readers’ reviews

Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 103385)

Set in: 20th century England

Subject Interest Codes: Twentieth Century Literature, Romance Mystery, Suspense Fiction

Summary: A young wife finds her happiness over-shadowed by the memory of her husband's brilliant first wife, Rebecca

Reader Comments: “Classical fiction at its zenith. Not narrated but acted. Not enough superlatives for this one. Amazing narration by Ms Tobin. Hang in there. The finale is worth waiting for.”

Venetia, by Georgette Heyer

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 103384)

Set in: 19th century (Regency) England

Subject Interest Codes: Romance Fiction, Historical Romance Fiction

Summary: In all her 25 years, lovely Venetia Lanyon has never been further than Harrogate, nor enjoyed the attentions of any but her two wearisomely persistent suitors.

Then, in an extraordinary encounter, she meets a neighbour she knows only by reputation, the infamous Lord Damerel, and before she knows better is egging on a libertine whose way of life has scandalised the North Riding for years.

Reader Comments: “I found this the most entertaining book - a few good laughs. Recommended.”

Private Bill: In Love and War, by Barrie Cassidy

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 157203)

Subject Interest Codes: Biography, Biography – Australian, Biography – Military, War Non-Fiction

Summary: Barrie Cassidy's dad Bill survived more than four years as a prisoner of war in World War II

He first saw conflict on Crete in May 1941, during the only large-scale parachute invasion in wartime history.

Just four days later, Bill was wounded and eventually captured. Twice he tried to escape his internment with horrific consequences.

He suffered greatly but found courageous support from his fellow prisoners.

His new wife Myra and his large family thought he was dead until news of his capture finally reached them.

Back home, Myra too was a prisoner of sorts, with her own secrets. Then, 50 years after the war, unhealed wounds unexpectedly opened for Bill and Myra, testing them once again.

Reader Comments: “Well written non-fiction. The dark and poignant story tells the story of the subject’s time both as a prisoner of war, and his later life.”

The Eagle Has Landed, by Jack Higgins

Series: Liam Devlin, no. 1

Followed by: Touch the Devil

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 102664)

Set in: 20th century Europe

Subject Interest Codes: Adventure Fiction, Politics, Spy Fiction, Suspense Fiction

Summary: It was to become known as the most daring enemy mission of the entire war: "Operation Eagle", SS Reichsfuhrer Heinrich Himmler's audacious plan to kidnap Winston Churchill on British soil in November 1943. But, despite spectacular secrecy, there was to be no surrender without a fight.

Reader Comments: “Highly recommended for the older reader, man or woman, who lived through World War II. An edge-of-your-seat thriller. Fantastic presentation by narrator. I spent many late nights to listen to this one because I didn’t want to wait to hear the next chapter. Volume quality is excellent.”

Maralinga, by Judy Nunn

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 120682) and braille and braille download (AU 122991)

Set in: 20th century Australia

Subject Interest Codes: Australian Fiction, Outback Australia

Summary: During the darkest days of the Cold War, in the remote wilderness of the South Australian desert, the future of an infant nation is being decided without its people's knowledge.

A British air base in the middle of nowhere; an atomic weapons testing ground; an army of raw youth led by powerful, ambitious men - a cocktail for disaster. Such is Maralinga in the spring of 1956.

This is the story of British Lieutenant Daniel Gardiner, who accepts a 12-month posting to the wilds of South Australia on a promise of rapid promotion; Harold Dartleigh, Deputy Director of MI-6 and his undercover operative Gideon Melbray; Australian Army Colonel Nick Stratton and the enigmatic Petraeus Mitchell, bushman and anthropologist. They all find themselves in a violent and unforgiving landscape, infected with the unique madness and excitement that only nuclear testing creates.

It is also a story of love; a love so strong that it draws the adventurous young English journalist Elizabeth Hoffmann halfway around the world in search of the truth.

Maralinga is a story of heartbreak brought to the innocent First Australians who had walked their land unhindered for 40,000 years.

Reader Comments: “Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Good research of the Atlantic bomb testing at Maralinga gave the book authenticity to a romantic novel.”

To Chase the Storm, by Peter Watt

Series: Cry of the Curlew, no. 4

Sequel to: Flight of the Eagle

Followed by: To Touch the Clouds

Format: DAISY disc and download (AU 139395)

Set in: Various countries, turn of the 20th century

Subject Interest Codes: Australian Fiction, Family Chronicles, Historical Fiction

Summary: Major Patrick Duffy is torn by conflicting duties: his oath to the Queen is unwavering as she gathers her armies together to march on the Boers of southern Africa, but his duty to his family is equally clear.

But when his wife Catherine leaves him for another and returns to Ireland, Patrick's broken heart propels from the Macintosh home in Sydney into another bloody war.

The battlefields of Africa hold more than nightmarish terrors and unspeakable conditions for Patrick - they bring back to one he thought long dead and lost to him.

In Australia, the mysterious Michael O'Flynn mentors Patrick's youngest son, Alex, and at his grandmother's request takes him to their Queensland property, Glen View.

But will the terrible curse that has inextricably linked the Duffys and Macintoshes for generations ensure no true happiness for them? So much seems to depend on Wallarie, the last warrior of the Nerambura tribe, whose name evokes a legend.

Reader Comments: “Another incredible historical story from Peter Watt. He relates as if he lived in that era.”

If you have a book review you would like to share, please email us at


Staff book review

Palais des Nations or The Edith Trilogy - Grand Days, Dark Palace and Cold Light, by Frank Moorhouse

I read this trilogy two years ago and it was one of the most fluid reads I’ve ever had. I could not wait to pick up the next book. I was fascinated with Edith, a woman well ahead of her time. I found her very real, surprising given the author is a man.

It is also compulsively interesting because it is set in real history with the rise of the League of Nations in Geneva, the attempts to disarm aggressive states in Europe, the construction of Canberra and the early days of the Communist Party in Australia.

A number of our politicians and allusions to other interesting characters in the literary and dramatic world are mentioned, such as Robert Menzies and James Joyce.

For a girl from the Australian bush Edith gets to live a very “Bloomsbury-like” lifestyle. She is intensely stylish. Descriptions of her clothes and life are moreish.

She sets out early to be very independent and ambitious and while she has some setbacks her feistiness stands her in good stead.

Her long-time relationship with Ambrose, her best friend and lover is fascinating. Their escapades in Europe are curious and their group of foreign attaches they work with, give you a glimpse of the power plays and dissolute lifestyles that some lived.

The books in the trilogy are Grand Days, Dark Palace and Cold Light.

Grand Days follows Edith’s rise in the League of Nations and the start of long-term friendships.

Dark Palace follows her during the post-1918 disarmament period and the establishment of her role there.

Cold Light sees her return to Australia and her work in Canberra. The setbacks in the design of Canberra, and the establishment of senior political officials gives one a view of the foibles of the time.

Edith’s brother becomes part of her life again, causing complications. When the League disbands in favour of the UN and Australia is snubbed, Edith is devastated. She maintains her passion for international peace and Australia’s role in it.

Each could be enjoyed as stand-alone novels, but I recommend you read all of them. You can’t help but admire Edith for her zest for life, but mostly for her devotion to her work and world peace.

- Louise, Feelix Library

Grand Days is available in DAISY disc and download (AU 100299), and braille and braille download (AU 138246)

Dark Palace is available in DAISY disc and download (AU 135978) and braille and braille download (AU 138248)

Cold Light is available in DAISY disc and download (AU 136804) and braille, and braille download (AU 138250)

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