Australian author Colleen McCullough died in hospital on Norfolk Island today, aged 77. McCullough was born in Wellington, New South Wales, on June 1, 1937. Her mother was a New Zealander of part-Māori descent. McCullough's best-known work was The Thorn Birds.
Before entering tertiary education, she had earned a living as a teacher, librarian and journalist. She worked as a neuroscientist in Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. In 1963 she moved to Britain and then spent 10 years from April 1967 researching and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in New Haven, Connecticut. It was while at Yale that she wrote her first two books. One of these was The Thorn Birds, which became an international best seller and in 1983 a popular television mini-series.
In 1980 she settled in the isolation of Norfolk Island, a small island in the Pacific Ocean situated between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia, 880 miles directly east of mainland Australia's Evans Head. The island is part of Australia.