What’s On

Rose Ellis on the life of Bee Miles

Rose Ellis on the life of Bee Miles

Date & Time

September 27, 2023 - 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm

Author Rose Ellis joins us in conversation with Mandy Sayers to talk about her latest book, Bee Miles.

Rose Ellis will discuss her latest book, Bee Miles, the untold story of the uncompromising and fearless woman who captivated mid-20th century Australia with her spectacular acts of defiance.

About Rose Ellis’s book Bee Miles

Bee Miles was famous for appearing in public in towns and cities across Australia, breaking their rules, and living, she said ‘recklessly’. But she was no ordinary wanderer.

Born into a wealthy family, Bee moved in Sydney’s literary and artistic circles in the 1920s and 1930s, before she took up residence on the streets. A consummate performer and a perceptive critic, she caught the public’s imagination with her spectacular acts of defiance, emerging majestically from the surf with a knife strapped to each thigh, stopping a country train in its tracks, hitchhiking across remote Australia, and drawing large crowds in the cities with her Shakespeare recitations. She was once even voted more famous than the Prime Minister. She was also repeatedly incarcerated in prisons and mental hospitals and treated brutally by a succession of figures in authority, starting with her father.

A truly larger than life character, Bee constantly defied conventional expectations of female behaviour. The public found her captivating and fragments of her story have been told again and again in many forms. Until now, no-one has uncovered the real story behind the colourful legend. This first full biography offers a fascinating glimpse into a dark side of Australia’s history.

About Rose Ellis

Rose Ellis is a writer, editor and researcher based in Sydney.







About Mandy Sayers

Mandy Sayer is an award-winning novelist and narrative non-fiction writer. Her honours include the Vogel Award, the National Biography Award, the South Australian Premier’s Award for Non-Fiction, The Age Book of the Year for Non-fiction and the Davitt Award for Young Adult Fiction. She was the recipient of the 2021 Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship, which supported her research and writing of Those Dashing McDonagh Sisters. She lives in Sydney with her husband, writer Louis Nowra, and their rescue dog, Basil.


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What’s On at SMSA

Date & Time

September 27, 2023 - 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm


Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, Pitt Street, Sydney NSW, Australia

Henry Carmichael Theatre

280 Pitt Street Sydney NSW 2000

Level 1


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