It's an interesting phenomena that in a country that used to pride itself on it's rugged outdoors / country style heroes, the vast majority of the population live on the coast - in large cities.
It's no secret around here that the rural inland is struggling. Populations have continued to decrease and small rural communities are really struggling to survive, although hopefully the Tree-Change phenomena is starting to help with that a little. But you quickly become aware of the fact that the "city dwellers" forget we exist. A lot of this is reflected again in our crime fiction (with the exceptions of The Broken Shore by Peter Temple and Diamond Dove by Adrian Hyland).
We track locations in books on AustCrime (in the Right Hand Menu you'll see an option "By Category" - hover over Story Location and you'll see not only the locations but the number of entries here that mention that location). Having said that - some of those numbers are really interesting (the number of articles is in brackets after each location).
Victoria (5) being the whole state in which Melbourne (87) is the capital city and in direct competition with Sydney (176) which has always been Sin City - Melbourne's just trying to catch up. Country NSW (16) is the state in which Sydney sits (and I think Robert G Barrett's probably got a stranglehold on a lot of those locations). Canberra (20) is another capital city and the countries parliamentary capital city into the bargain whereas Arnhem Land (3) is about as outback as you can get. We've also got a more generic setting of Australian Outback (12), many of these entries I would imagine we can thank Arthur Upfield for. As a comparison Country QLD (1), Cairns (3), Great Barrier Reef (1) and Brisbane (3) so obviously there's just not enough books being set in Queensland full stop. Adelaide (8) is another capital city, Tasmania (9) as the whole state and Western Australia (2) to stack up against it's capital city Perth (5). The Northern Territory (1) is currently very under-represented. One location I've just noticed is Mallee, Australia (1) - (excellent - that's nearly local, I must go see what that article is about!) (Remembering that these numbers could change as things are added to the site).
Not all these articles relate directly to books obviously, but it is interesting to consider the way that the setting for our crime fiction has changed. Arthur Upfield, S H Courtier and others tended to set their books in rural / outback locations, at the same time that so much fiction was being set in Melbourne and in Sydney. Maybe that's because of the circumstances of where they came from, but also because of the sensibility of the nation at the time.
It's a little bit of a sad outcome that we've never really attained a very wide ranging use of settings throughout the entire country. We went from the rural to the city, and we've never had what you'd call a comprehensive current day set of books that encompass the entire place. Now it's obvious that writers tend to write what they know / where they live, it's going to make getting your settings a lot more accurate if you're gazing out the window (so to speak), but if our crime fiction is to evolve to be as wide ranging as other countries, then surely, at some stage, somebody's going to have to turn inland. Not to the absolute outback, but to the smaller country cities, the smaller states, the country towns, the rural areas, the food bowls, the rivers, the creeks, the hills, mountains and the plains. Of course, our publishers have to take a role in this as well - books that reflect the entire country may not necessarily be the big blockbuster sellers, but what Australian Crime fiction is. But there are lots of readers who don't do the mean inner city streets - an increasing number of us are in the dustbowls along the major highways.