Lifehacker Maps: The Most Famous Book From Every Australian State

Lifehacker Maps: The Most Famous Book From Every Australian State

Whether you’re a banana bender or a sandgroper, chances are your state has inspired a well-known work of fiction. This is Lifehacker’s list of the best-known book set in each state and territory and Australia.

Picture: Library Mistress

Inspired by a post on our sibling site Business Insider which listed the best-known work of literature set in every state in the US, we’ve done the same for Australia’s states and territories. Click on the map markets for a cover image and a link to the Wikipedia article for our chosen title for that region. Yeah, the ACT was tough.

Disagree with our choices? Think we’ve missed a super-obvious candidate? Tell us your alternatives in the comments.


  • “For The Term of His Natural Life” is just a wee bit more prominent that The Potato Factory. Even in the modern age.

    Google results alone:

    “for the term of his natural life” + “marcus clarke” = 491000 results.

    “potato factory” + “bryce courtenay” = 16800 results.

    • For The Term was on the shortlist; my guess though is that more Australians have read the Potato Factory.

  • “A Town Like Alice” for Queensland? You need to swap it for “Capricornia”.

    For NT I’d also offer We of the Never Never, and for Tasmania, “For the Term of His Natural Life”. I’m tempted to put up “Snugglepot and Cuddlepie” and other children’s titles for NSW except they can only be placed by virtue of their authors rather than a clear story locality.

    • Ah, but the town ‘like Alice’ of the title is in Queensland.

      For NSW I did seriously contemplate ‘Playing Beattie Bow’, which is inescapably Sydney.

      • Noted!

        I would also suggest “Seven Little Australians” (and sequels) for NSW. It’s a shame the later books were not adapted for TV using the same cast ( or appropriate substitutes as the children aged).

        I haven’t read it, but “A Harp in the South” would be another popular choice for a Sydney-based novel.

        Peter Carey’s output suggests, among others, “Oscar and Lucinda” (NSW),

        Matthew Kneale’s prize-winning “English Passengers” is a terrific novel set mostly in Tasmania.

  • A Fortunate Life by Albert Facey is probably more widely read than Cloudsheet in Western Australia.
    Agree with promoting For the Term of His Natural Life.

  • More than thirty years after his death there are still books by Ion Llewellyn (Jack) Idriess in print. During his career he sold millions of books. It has been said that during the 1930s every Australian home that had a bookshelf had an Idriess book. For a Queensland book “Men of the Jungle” sold thousands of copies within minutes of its release and “Flynn of the Inland” published in 1932 went to twenty-odd editions and is still in print. For a New South Wales Book, “The Red Chief” – a biography of an Aboriginal man – was in 2006 voted one of the top-100 of most read books in a survey by Frankston (VIC) library. Jack wrote 53 books on Mining/prospecting, Aboriginal life and customs, war, Australian development and several biographies.Considering books sold as a proportion of potential Australian readers Jack Idriess must rank highly.

    • Idriess also wrote ‘The Cattle King’, a biography of Sir Sidney Kidman, who was my great-great uncle. But this list was concentrating on fiction 🙂

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