Travel guides for kids teach them about Australia

A cross between teaching and tourism puts Aussie towns under the spotlight.
By Amy Middleton February 18, 2010 Reading Time: < 1

The rural Victorian town of Mildura this week became the birthplace of a new book series that teaches kids about travel.

The Our Australia series, distributed as part of a new primary school teaching scheme, is the brainchild of children’s author and former Mildura resident, Phil Kettle.

Mildura is the first of several Australian regions that will be explored by the books. Presenting a mixture of facts and fun things to do in each town, the books are like educational travel guides for kids.

But the tourism angle of the material is just a bonus, according to Phil. “The books are initially to teach school children about their country, and the bonus is getting them to come to the region,” Phil told ABC Mildura on the day of the launch.

Phil argues that the best way to education a child is through fun, and describes his childhood in Mildura as ‘absolutely fantastic’.

‘We had no television ’til I was twelve years old … because you’re a little isolated, you sit in the backyard and use your imagination,’ Phil said.

The launch, held at the Mildura Library, was hosted by Mildura Rural City Council Mayor Glenn Milne. Local school teachers, librarians, business owners, media, and school children made up a community eager to see their town reflected in fiction.

Glenn described the launch as “an enormously pleasing situtation for Mildura.”

The Our Australia books explore Australia through the eyes and imagination of the main character, Taha, an Australian boy of Greek heritage. The series is part of a new primary school educational program developed by Australian Geographic for 2010.

The Mildura book will be followed by books exploring Broken Hill, Longreach, Alice Springs, Kununurra, Kangaroo Island, Hobart and Byron Bay.

For more info on the Our Australia series visit www.magshop.com.au/ouraustralia