They will be mourning on Norfolk Island. One of their most colorful and well-loved inhabitants has passed away. And it is Australia's loss, too. Colleen McCullough has died.
From ABC news
Internationally acclaimed Australian author Colleen McCullough has died in hospital on Norfolk Island, aged 77.
The popular writer was most well known for her sweeping family drama, The Thorn Birds, set on a remote sheep station in outback Australia.
The book, which sold 30 million copies worldwide, was sold for a then-record $1.9 million and a miniseries, starring Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward and Barbara Stanwyck became one of the most watched of all time.
But The Thorn Birds was just one of the many books McCullough wrote in a career spanning four decades.
Her first novel, Tim, written in 1974, tells the story of the relationship between an older woman and a younger, developmentally impaired man.
It too was dramatised and became one of actor Mel Gibson's first films.
McCullough continued to write in several genres, producing books including An Indecent Obsession, Morgan's Run and The Ladies of Missalonghi.
But it was her seven-book, intensely researched, historical series Masters of Rome that won her much acclaim, including plaudits from politicians including Bob Carr, Henry Kissinger and Newt Gingrich.
Her final book Bittersweet was published in 2013 and she had been working on a sequel when she died.
This last is particularly notable, as McCullough was both blind and confined to a wheelchair when she wrote it. A testament to the courage of this remarkable lady.