Australian Short Stories

Stories on this page were written by Australian authors or are set in Australia, if not both.

Australian Short Stories

“One Small Step” | Aime Kaufman

The narrator, Zaida, is a seventeen-year-old girl living on Mars. As the first human born there, she’s a celebrity back on Earth. She has billions of followers who look forward to her updates. Her parents want her to go to Harvard. She’s not sure what she wants to do. Zaida goes out on inspection duty with her best friend, Keiko. One of the airlocks blows, hitting Keiko and damaging her suit.

This is the first selection in Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA Anthology. It has 10 stories including fantasy and science fiction. “One Small Step” can be read in the Amazon preview above

“The Lottery” | Marjorie Barnard

Ted Bilborough is on his way home from work when he finds out his wife won a lottery. His acquaintances tease him a bit and ask what he will do with the money. He thinks about that as well, and also wonders where she got the money for the ticket.

“The Fat Man in History” | Peter Carey

Six fat men live together in post-revolutionary Australia. Fatness has come to be regarded as a symbol of the old regime – as greedy, evil and American. They support themselves by stealing. They are planning counter-revolutionary activities.

“Pretty Dick” | Marcus Clarke

It is a very hot day on the Australian plains. Pretty Dick, a young boy, goes to the creek in the morning. Although he knows the area well, he gets disoriented.

Read “Pretty Dick”

“Monsieur Caloche” | Jessie Couvreur (Tasma)

Monsieur Caloche, a young man disfigured by smallpox, waits for an interview at Bogg & Company. Mr. Bogg is known for being intimidating, a man who likes to take people by surprise.

Australian Short Stories, Cont’d

“The Mateship Syndrome” | Thelma Forshaw

A man nicknamed “The Ace” goes to his older sister’s house. She only sees him when there’s some trouble even though they only live a few streets apart. They have a drink. Ace tells her about a talk he had with his boss. Now his mates are treating him differently. He was offered the job of shop manager.

“The Dead Witness, or, the Bush Waterhole” | Mary Fortune

A detective is riding thru the Australian bush and plains. A young photographer who had been staying in a public-house has been missing for a few days. A contact informs the detective that some cattle have uncovered a large blood stain in a field. They make an appointment to investigate the scene.

“Benny Wins Powerball” | Erin Gough

Benny wins the Powerball lottery. He lives with his grandmother; his older brother, Big Dave; and sister, Jube. Benny’s siblings view him as an unlucky loser. Even though there was no prior agreement to share any winnings, they are expecting a fair cut.

“Singing My Sister Down” by Margo Lanagan

The narrator, a young boy, accompanies his family to the tar pit. The Chief orders the boy’s older sister into the pit. After she picks a spot, her family walks out to join her. They have mats to spread their weight, so they can be on the tar as she sinks. She has shamed her family.

“A Child in the Dark and a Foreign Father” | Henry Lawson

On New Year’s Eve, a father comes home to find his house and children have been neglected by his wife because she’s “bad again in the head”. His oldest son has done some chores and attempted some housework. The man attends to his wife, children and house.

Read “A Child in the Dark and a Foreign Father”

Australian Short Stories, Cont’d

“A Double Buggy at Lahey Creek” | Henry Lawson

Ever since Mary got married she’s wanted a double buggy. Her husband, Joe, has always worked hard, and they had planned on buying one several times but it never worked out. Mary suggests that Joe plant a potato crop to make some extra money, even though others in the area haven’t had success with potatoes.

Read “A Double Buggy at Lahey Creek”

“On the Train” | Olga Masters

A young mother boards a train with her two daughters. She is distant and doesn’t seem to pay them much attention.

“Five-Twenty” | Patrick White

The Natwicks like to sit on their veranda to watch the traffic. They are getting on in years. The husband, Royal, is in a wheelchair with a hernia, heart trouble, and severe arthritis. The wife, Ella, is still able to get around. They get used to seeing a man in a pink and brown Holden at five-twenty. We’re told about their earlier life, how they got together and the dynamic of their relationship.

Read “Five-Twenty” (PDF)

“Neighbours” | Tim Winton

A young couple moves into a neighbourhood with many European migrants. The husband stays home and writes his thesis. The wife works. It takes them a while to adjust to the neighbourhood noise and interactions.

Read “Neighbours”

“A Lovely and Terrible Thing” | Chris Womersley

The narrator works for Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. While on his way to check out a possible entry for the next volume, his car breaks down. A stranger invites him to stay the night at his place. He says he has a daughter who does a special trick that might get her into the new book.

I will continue to add Australian short stories as I find more.