Thyroid UK
90,438 members104,806 posts

Author Colleen McCullough has died in hospital on Norfolk Island

Author Colleen McCullough has died in hospital on Norfolk Island

Author Colleen McCullough has died in hospital on Norfolk Island

11 days ago January 29, 2015 7:41PM

COLLEEN McCullough, the internationally famous Australian author, has died in hospital on Norfolk Island. She was 77.

McCullough was a neuroscientist by training, and worked in various Sydney and English hospitals before settling into 10 years of research and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in the US.

But then she became a full-time author, and for nearly 40 years McCullough was one of Australia’s top-selling novelists.

The literary establishment may have been sniffy about her work, but McCullough laughed all the way to the bank as her tales of forbidden love, her historical series covering the fall of republican Rome and her body-filled police procedurals made her a wealthy woman.

In 1974 her first novel, ‘Tim’, about a middle-aged women’s romance with a good-looking, intellectually disabled handyman, did well and was made into a film starring Piper Laurie and Mel Gibson after it was published in New York.

She then published her next book ‘The Thorn Birds’ in 1977, and a string of successful novels, including the Masters of Rome series.



McCullough suffered health problems most of her life.

At 32 she was found to have hypothyroidism, which caused depression and weight gain.

But she reckoned that although she’d always looked like the back of a bus, she’d always had boyfriends because “men love a funny woman”.

I got alerted to this by the BBC Radio 4 Last Word program earlier this evening:


4 Replies

I loved the Thorn Birds. It taught me more about climates in Australia than my geography lessons ever did! I never knew anything about the author though and sadly it sounds as though she didn't have a healthy life. I wonder whether she was diagnosed in England or America. Thank you for posting Rod.

1 like

She was a brilliant story teller and I will miss her books. She always seemed larger than life. May she be in a better place.


Thanks for that Rod. I remember being glued to the TV the night The Thornbirds was on. My husband used to talk about 'your Thirnbirds' as if he didn't watch it too. It was epic.


Loved the Thornbirds. Will look out her other books now. RIP Colleen.


You may also like...