Ms Thea Beatrice May Astley AM (1925-2004)



Mr Chancellor, 

Many thousands of readers have drawn great pleasure from Thea Astley's acerbic wit, sympathy for those who are neglected and disappointed in their aspirations, and penetrating observations of struggles for psychological power. Her ten novels, from Girl with a Monkey, published in 1958, to It's Raining in Mango, published just two months ago, have won many awards. On three Jccasions she has gained the coveted Miles Franklin Award for the year's best novel. 

Thea Astley is a graduate of this University from the days when its Faculty of Arts occupied the former Government House just across the river from where we now are. She taught in Queensland and New South Wales schools, lectured all over Queensland as a Commonwealth Literary Fund lecturer, and ended her full-time teaching career as Fellow in Literature and Creative Writing at Macquarie University. In 1983 she came back to the University of Queensland, working energetically and inspiringly as Writer in Residence. 

She has served with distinction as a member of the Literature Board of the Australia Council, edited the short-story anthology, Coast to Coast, in 1970 and 1971, and found the time to write her own short stories, published in 1979 as Hunting the Wild Pineapple. 

Queensland', she once said, 'isn't the home of the tall yarn. It's where the tall yarn happens. Acted out on a stage, where, despite its vastness, the oddballs see and recognize each other across the miles and wave their understanding.' Today we are proud to acknowledge her understanding of us. 

Mr Chancellor, for her distinguished services to Australian literature, I present to you Thea Beatrice May Astley, Member of the Order of Australia, Bachelor of Arts of this University, for conferral of the award of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, to which she has been admitted by th'e Senate of the University. 


Doctor of Letters honoris causa


Bachelor of Arts
Doctor of Letters