Colin Thiele

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Colin Milton Thiele
Colin Thiele 1964 Portrait.jpg
A portrait of Colin Thiele in 1964.
Born Colin Milton Thiele
(1920-11-16)16 November 1920
Eudunda, South Australia
Died 4 September 2006(2006-09-04) (aged 85)
Brisbane, Queensland
Occupation Novelist, poet, educational writer
Nationality Australian
Period 20th century
Genre Children's, Australian
Subject Australian history, Australian biographies
Notable works Storm Boy, Blue Fin, Sun on the Stubble, February Dragon, Jodie's Journey

Colin Milton Thiele AC (/ˌtˈl/; 16 November 1920 – 4 September 2006) was an Australian author and educator. He was renowned for his award-winning children's fiction, most notably the novels Storm Boy, Blue Fin, the Sun on the Stubble series, and February Dragon.


Thiele was born in Eudunda in South Australia to a Barossa German family. The young Colin only spoke German until he went to school in Julia Creek.[1] He was educated at several country schools including Kapunda High School before studying at the University of Adelaide, graduating in 1941. He later taught in high schools and colleges.(Port Lincoln)

Thiele enlisted in the Australian Army in December 1940, and was posted to the 18th Light Horse (Machine Gun) as a private.[2] He transferred to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in July 1942, serving out the remainder of the war as a corporal posted to Air Defence Headquarters, Higgins, at the tip of the Cape York Peninsula.[3]

Thiele wrote more than 100 books, which often described life in rural Australia, particularly the Eudunda, Barossa Valley, and Murray River/Coorong regions of South Australia. Several of his books have been made into films or television series, including Sun on the Stubble, The Fire in the Stone, Blue Fin and Storm Boy.

In 1977 he was made a Companion of the Order of Australia, the second highest level of the order, for his services to literature and education.

Thiele suffered from severe arthritis from 1955[4] and in his later years left South Australia to settle in warmer conditions near Dayboro, Queensland.

In 1986 he returned to South Australia for a family (the Wittwer family) reunion organised by Cheryal Wittwer, after which he returned to Queensland.

On 4 September 2006 Thiele died from heart failure in a Brisbane hospital, aged 85.[5] He was survived by his wife, Rhonda, two children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Media coverage of his death was minimal, as he had died on the same day as Australian media personality Steve Irwin.


Thiele's literary works ranged from the early 20th century until the very early 21st century until just prior to his death in September 2006. The primary component of Thiele's work was children's literature and educational support for teachers,other authors, primarily educating in the areas of English, Drama and Australian history.


Can I Call You Colin, an authorised biography by Stephany Evans Steggall, was published in March 2004.

The Thiele Library at the Magill campus of the University of South Australia was named after him many years before his death.

The Senior Student Library which is shared by Golden Grove High School, Pedare Christian College and Gleeson College is named after him.[citation needed]

The road designated Highway B81 between the start of Highway A32 Main North Road just north of Gawler, and Morgan on the Murray River and passing through Kapunda and Eudunda, is named the Thiele Highway after him.[6]

The Secondary House Thiele at Matthew Flinders Anglican College is named in his honour.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Postcards – Feature – Eudunda – Colin Thiele Country
  2. ^ ARMY: Thiele, Colin Milton – World War Two Nominal Roll. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  3. ^ RAAF: Thiele, Colin Milton – World War Two Nominal Roll. Retrieved 25 September 2012.
  4. ^ Nicholas Tucker (6 September 2006). "Colin Thiele Obituary". The Independent. Retrieved 8 September 2006. 
  5. ^ Chris Brice (4 September 2006). "Colin Thiele dies after illness". Retrieved 4 September 2006. [dead link]
  6. ^ "Colin Milton Thiele". Retrieved 27 September 2010. 
  7. ^ It's an Honour website AC
  8. ^ It's an Honour website Centenary Medal

External links[edit]