GRANT, Virginia Australia’s Greatest Landmarks and Locations Random House, 2014 186pp $24.99 pbk ISBN 9780857983886 SCIS 1676383
For any Australian who may think they have been everywhere worth visiting in this great continent of ours, working their way through this new fascinating compendium of Australian landmarks and locations should encourage them to think again. Australia has a lot to offer visitors from overseas but it also has a great number of treasures for Australians to enjoy. Virginia Grant has managed to provide an extensive catalogue of significant man-made monuments and natural wonders to be found right across the country to its furthest reaches, almost all (except for Macquarie Island) accessible and worth the effort to visit. She takes each state and territory around the continent and offers a list of places to visit in city and country. The guide tales in the big cities, many fascinating towns, and great landscapes and numerous natural monuments, but as the author explains there are many more she could not include and the reader must expect some personal favourites to be missed.
Each locality is described in short chapters of one to four pages with small well-chosen illustrations, historical as well as contemporary. The details for each place discuss its significance, its history and special features. Notable buildings and structures outline their architects and builders and assess their place in our architectural heritage. The factual details in natural locations cover the geology, their history and significance and their uniqueness and specific features. An important element is the place given to the Aboriginal attachment to the localities with the indigenous names and their meanings and relationships. There are shorter sites discussed in blocks, and for each of the six states and two territories there is a two-page conclusion with further interesting facts. There is a full index, and list of image credits from many sources, and of particular interest is a page of references to websites for many of the places listed.
This book is one to be treasured by readers of any age young and old and would be a valuable resource on the shelves of school and public and home libraries, as well as being worthy of being a souvenir gift to any of our overseas visitors.
reviewed by John D Adams