Remembered for his Sun on the Stubble children's fiction series and for his acclaimed standalone novels February Dragon, Blue Fin, and Storm Boy, Thiele penned over one hundred works during his literary career, many of them set in rural Australia.
Before becoming a writer, he graduated from the University of Adelaide; taught high school and college courses; and served in the Australian Army.
In the late 1970s, he was named a Companion of the Order of Australia.
A member of a German-speaking family, he grew up in Eudunda, South Australia. He and his wife, Rhonda, raised two children.
He and Felice Arena are both well-known Australian children's authors.