Author 'speaking from the grave in letter'

Jodie Stephens

Colleen McCullough is "speaking from the grave" in an unsent letter in which she accused her "chauvinistic" husband of pressuring and criticising her in his desire for more money, a lawsuit over her estate has heard.

In October 2014, months before the author's death, she purportedly wrote to husband Ric Robinson that she would be selling off property to recover their debts.

In the letter, which has been tendered in the NSW Supreme Court, she allegedly said her husband had made no attempt to disguise his antipathy towards her.

"The pity of it is that you have a chauvinistic attitude to women, even though you are prepared to be supported by one," said the letter, which wasn't sent to Mr Robinson.

Dr McCullough purportedly wrote that Mr Robinson pressured and criticised her to fuel his desire for more money, and it seemed he was concealing reasons for taking cash.

Barrister Kim Morrissey on Thursday said it offered a snapshot of her thinking towards her husband, at the time Mr Robinson claims the author was changing her will to leave him everything.

"This is Dr McCullough speaking from the grave," Mr Morrissey said.

The barrister is acting for Dr McCullough's friend and executor, Selwa Anthony, who claims the University of Oklahoma Foundation is the sole beneficiary of her estate as per a July 2014 will.

Mr Robinson, however, says the best-selling Thorn Birds author left him everything in a later will.

Mr Morrissey during his closing remarks said the letter was inconsistent with Dr McCullough wanting to change her will to leave her husband everything.

But Mr Robinson's barrister, David Murr SC, said it showed she did plan to leave her estate to him and worried he wouldn't get much if their finances weren't sorted out.

He pointed to a passage where Dr McCullough queried what would happen to Mr Robinson when she died.

"If I don't do something about reducing your debts now you will never get out of the mess you land yourself in when I do die," the letter said.

"When I married you I was worth some millions, but I am not worth that today, were I to die tonight you'd be in the s***."

Mr Murr said the couple was obviously in a difficult situation but after a long life together they'd made compromises and adjustments to enable them to go on living.

He attacked the reliability of the evidence of plaintiff witness Piria Coleman, a former solicitor, who testified she fabricated a document and gave it to Mr Robinson, deceiving him into thinking it was a new will in his favour.

Justice Nigel Rein has reserved his decision on the will dispute.