Thursday, September 17, 2009

Eccentric Sydneysider 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, very little 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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Blogger Satima Flavell said...

As a Sydney Uni student in 1960, I used to see Bea on the bus now and then. She was very fat and obviously quite crazy. She wore a sign around her neck saying "Shakespeare quoted" and a price - might have been 2/-. I don't know what you got for your two bob as I was never game to speak to her.

Taxi drivers hated her. One of them told me that she would get in a cab and demand to be driven several hundred miles. When the driver refused she would get out and slam the door in such a manner as to damage either the car or the driver's ears, or both.

It was reputed at Uni that she had been a brilliant law student in her youth but had gone mad from studying too much. My generation took the warning on board, and never "studied too much". This was the sixties, after all:-)

12:17 PM  

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