Blog,  Book Reviews,  Home Education,  Home Education - Australia,  Home Education - History,  Learning

Australian Pictorial Social Studies

This term we’re studying Australian explorers,  specifically our Inland explorers.  When gathering  resources I recalled this set of books with great fondness.  The series is titled ‘Pictorial Social Studies’  with a little logo labelled  ‘Australian Visual Education’.

Published in 1958, with 55 books in the set, covering not only Australian history but social studies worldwide.  My favourite however are the Australian history books, covering the Settlement and expansion, exploration, Gold and more.

Written in comic form they are chock full of information without overloading and the visual presentation totally engages the children, ‘whetting the appetite’ for more information. Australian history buffs, I suggest you check out ebay and gumtree.

One reason I know they are totally effective in imparting knowledge is, I’ve used these series before.
Recently my brothers B(30) & K(28) were discussing a visit to the Blue Mountains which that had undertaken with overseas visitors, they had regaled the group with factual information about Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth’s incredible feat crossing the Blue Mountains. The group listened spellbound as they bombarded them with historical detail, the visitors much impressed asked how they knew so much? A question I was keen to have answered myself when the story was recounted to me. Brother B reminded me, “You taught me”
“I did?”
“Remember that comic book you read to us?”  Well yes but the boys were all of 6 & 8 then.  Amazing that they both remembered over two decades later!!

Inside of each cover is a map.  Without further ado, displaying the contents below, as I’m certain my friends Jeanne and Angela, amongst others are eager to see:)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  • Jeanne

    I did a search for these recently after you mentioned them on my blog. They look fascinating. I've been looking out for them irl, but haven't found any yet. Thanks for sharing!

  • Erin

    more than happy to post to you, just ask when ready.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see some on ebay and gumtree.

    Does this mean you have book shelves now?:)

    I've enjoyed looking at old treasures you've posted lately too:)

    I'm happy to post to you too if you want to borrow:)

    Let me know if you're successful:)

  • Erin

    Um I'm Erin, sorry, not willing to sell but I'd love for you to be able to look at them somehow, I notice you are in Japan, you may be able to find copies online 2nd hand. Were you thinking of doing more modern versions?

  • Sean Michael Wilson

    Thanks Erin.
    Our comic book, FIGHT THE POWER!, has one section about the Australian workers general strike and protests of 1917. The old books had a chapter about the Eureka rebellion of the 1840's i think. So i came across them that way. i often do hisorical and social issue books.

    Would certainly like to see more of these. Yes, im Japan, though Im a Scot.


  • Karelia

    My husband and I are visiting his parents in Bundaberg. My MIL took me out to the back shed to go through some boxes of books, amongst which are:

    Pictorial Social Studies folders with booklet inside, condition fair to good (though all need clean up), published Australian Visual Education, series numbered 1-25, but with no copyright date, have 20 of these 25, and series unnumbered with copyright 1960, have 30 of these.

    Have seen them for sale on eBay for $13 each (!!!) but we'd be happy with $5 each. If anyone wants them, please let me know ASAP 🙂

  • Kerod Rothman

    I am looking at my set now which my parents gave me in 1958 ,and still sometimes browse through them .
    The sure beat looking at a computer .
    These books were the reason I received an A in History in what was called our Junior Exam (grade 10 )

    • Erin

      Your experience highlights the influence books play in our lives. How wonderful that you still have your set!

  • ashleigh

    Hi there.
    These books were published by my father Peter Leyden in 1956-59 and I am writing a memoir of him so pleased to hear they are still liked! He sold the rights to them in 1959 as he ran out of money to reprint them! Let me know what titles you have in case you have some I do not have in my archives
    Ashleigh Gallagher nee Leyden

    • Keith Thomas

      Wow! You should feel so proud of your father. I remember when the first of these books arrived at our primary school in 1958. They were such a refreshing change from traditional textbooks and we kids loved them, especially the one on bushrangers.
      But when I look at them afresh today, I can see your father had an intense love of Australia and optimism for its future. He also had a deep appreciation of the part our history plays in the way we look on ourselves as a nation today. He wanted to pass all these on to the upcoming generations. He was a very generous man with a strong sense of responsibility to other people.

      • Erin

        Imagining what a moment that would have been, seeing the books for the first time, something so different to previously.
        Yes Peter Leyden’s love and knowledge of Australia is clear. Greatly appreciate them.
        My favourite is actually the Overland Telegraph, an incredible feat

    • Erin

      Honoured you dropped in! Yes your Father’s work is indeed still appreciated and enjoyed. In fact my 10 and 12 year old boys are currently reading some of them at present as we are focusing on Australian history atm.
      So sad to hear he sold his rights!
      How sweet of you, I’ll have a look and let you know, though I think I have them all, in fact I have a second set stored away to share with my children when they set up house in the future.

  • Andrew Townes

    I would live a set of these to show my kids.. to teach lost knowledge and show the differences in opinion over the fenerations .. anyone would like to sell me a set .. please email me !
    Thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.