Tributes flow for Thorn Birds author at Norfolk service
Tributes have been paid to Norfolk Island author Colleen McCullough, who is most well known for her novel The Thorn Birds, at a service on the island.
Tributes have been paid to Australian author Colleen McCullough, who is most well known for her novel The Thorn Birds, at a service on Norfolk Island.
McCullough died at the age of 77, after a long illness, and her funeral was held on Wednesday.
She moved to Norfolk Island in the 1980s and was a vocal supporter of Norfolk Islanders' rights.
McCullough's family drama The Thorn Birds sold 30 million copies worldwide, and she went on to write another 24 novels.
The former editor of the Norfolk Islander newspaper, Tom Lloyd, told Amelia Langford the service was very fitting.
TOM LLOYD: She was a lady that just wanted to fit into the Norfolk Island scene and she wasn't one for pomp and ceremony of any description and the funeral service followed along those lines of her wishes beautifully. Before the funeral, all the flags on the island went down to half-mast. The grave had been dug by the cemetery sexton and his band of workers, and the ladies on the island had made all the floral tributes and the pall-bearers had been chosen and the hearse had been driven by the little guy that drives it to every funeral - everything just went off as though it was a normal Norfolk Island funeral. It was a wet day with about 200 people present, we were all huddled under umbrellas trying to keep the rainy remnants of Cyclone Ola off our backs.
AMELIA LANGFORD: It sounds like a lovely service.
TL: It was a beautiful service in so many different ways, you know. Different but the same as the Norfolk Island funeral services that have happened and we have covered on the island for the last 50 years. We had to go to all these and record the stories of those who have gone before and Colleen - she was the lady who was quite outspoken on many subjects. One of the most moving comments that she had made in her long fight with her husband, Ric, to push the case for Norfolk Island people in how we thought we should be governed was: 'Please don't tamper with this fragile butterfly,' describing Norfolk of course, 'because if you destroy it, you destroy something very beautiful'. And I must confess I got a little bit teary-eyed.
AL: I can imagine. It's such a beautiful phrase isn't it. And she was such a supporter of Norfolk Island.
TL: Oh, she was. And you know she had some pretty rip-roaring letters to the column of our little weekly newspaper and also of some of the bigger newspapers of Australia. But she's gone. As the minister said, she did life - she was like Frank Sinatra and she did things her way.
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