Quite when the figurative usage of ‘companion’ as ‘a work of reference ... that is presented as a friend to be consulted with whenever needed’ came into fashion is uncertain. I well remember my first companion, the third edition of the invaluable Oxford Companion to English Literature, from my student days in the 1950s. Oxford University Press now has a large stable of companions – some seventy titles at last count – covering everything from Christian thought to jazz to baroque music. The latest addition to the Oxford stable is a doorstopper: The Oxford Companion to Australian Politics (OCAP). Together with its sister volume, The Oxford Companion to Australian History, first published in 1998, it should become an indispensable, if expensive, tome in the library of any thinking Australian.