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Bee Miles

Australia’s famous bohemian rebel, and the untold story behind the legend

What an amazing story Rose Ellis has told. Bee Miles, or Beatrice as she was christened, lived an amazing life, very full and rich and entirely on her own terms. This cost her dearly, as her father, dismayed by her ebullient nature, had her committed to an asylum several times. Rather than compromise, Bee spent her time in the asylum writing and seeking an early release.

Bee’s background was one of wealth and privilege. She was born in 1902 in Sydney, the fourth of six children. She excelled in piano and schoolwork. Her father influenced her thinking in the early days. He was anti-conscription and anti-Churchill.

These ideas, when presented in essays at school, were rejected and disputed hotly by her teachers. From that time on, it seems that Bee learned to cope with opposition and followed her own path.

This led her to be arrested more than 300 times; she had been in prison all over the country and also been a patient in seven psychiatric hospitals. Mostly an agreeable and happy person, Bee was known and acknowledged by most people. Her chief love was to experience speed and she would hang onto the back of trams and cars to get a buzz.

The story of this amazing lady is set in the early 1900’s and life in Sydney was so different then. The author has outlined political and social norms for that time in such detail that one is transported to Macquarie Street and other places Bee frequented. She chose to be homeless in later life and would quote Shakespeare for a fee. She had her ashes scattered on the family tomb at Rookwood Cemetery.

Beatrice ‘Bee” Miles is one of Australia’s legends.

Author Rose Ellis
Publisher Allen and Unwin
ISBN 9781761069130
Distributor Allen and Unwin
Released September 2023