Monday, September 17, 2007

Eccentric Bee Miles

Today according to Australian Eastern Standard Time when this item was posted
1902 Bee (or Bea) Miles (d. December 3, 1973), was a famous eccentric in Sydney, Australia, a town known for its eccentrics – individualists such as Webster (the immensely popular soap-box orator, a genius about whom, sadly, nothing appears to have been published); the Flying Pieman; Rosaleen Norton, the Witch of Kings Cross; the Bengal Tiger (also apparently unsung); William Chidley the natural health fanatic; Dulcie Deamer, the Queen of Bohemia; and of course, Sydneytown’s favourite, Mister Eternity.

Then there was Bee Miles, who must surely be an immortal Sydneysider. According to contemporary newspaper reports, in pre-World War II Sydney Bee was more widely known than the Prime Minister. From a wealthy North Shore family, at only 12 years of age young Beatrice wore a 'No Conscription' badge to school during the contentious conscription referendum in World War I. Later, she was severely marked down for an essay about Gallipoli, which she described as a 'strategical blunder' rather than a 'wonderful war effort'. In this, as in many aspects in her later life, she went quite against the norms of her day ...

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