• Entry type: Person
  • Entry ID: AWE1051

Franklin, Stella Maria ( Marian) Sarah Miles

(1879 – 1954)
  • Born 14 October, 1879, Talbingo New South Wales Australia
  • Died 19 September, 1954, Drummoyne New South Wales Australia
  • Occupation Writer


Miles Franklin’s place in Australian literary history was assured when on her death in 1954, she made provision for an award for Australian literature. The Miles Franklin Award is the most prestigious for an Australian author to receive. Although she spent almost twenty-four years away from Australia, working mainly in Chicago and London, she was committed to pursuing the notion of the unique Australian perspective in literature. Despite her early success with the publication of ‘My Brilliant Career’ in 1901, she struggled to gain the recognition she believed she was capable of achieving. Nevertheless on her return to Australia in 1932 she entered the Sydney literary scene enthusiastically and had many of her works published.


Miles Franklin, the eldest child of John Maurice Franklin and Margaret Susannah Helena, nee Lampe, was educated at home and after 1889 at Thornford Public School, when the family moved to Stillwater. They later moved to Cranebrook near Penrith in 1902. After working as a governess in 1897, Miles Franklin, completed her first novel ‘My Brilliant Career’ in 1899. It was published in London in 1901 after being rejected for publication in Australia. Writing was her means to independence and she left for the United States of America in 1906. She spent nine years working in Chicago for the National Women’s Trade Union League with fellow Australian Alice Henry. She continued to pursue her writing career.

She moved to London in 1915, worked briefly at a creche run by Margaret McMillan in Deptford, as a cook, as a volunteer in Macedonia with the Scottish Women’s Hospitals for Foreign Service, and as a secretary. She remained in London until 1927, but visited Australia in 1923-1924 and again in 1927. She returned to London in 1930 in search of publishers, but settled in Australia permanently in 1932 after her father’s death in 1931. During this period she wrote under the pseudonym ‘Brent of Bin Bin’.

Despite the demands of her ageing mother, Miles Franklin became a major personality on the Sydney literary scene, supporting new publications and fellowships for Australian writers. She maintained her commitment to an Australian literature until her death.

Her published works include:
My Brilliant career (1901)
Some everyday folk and Dawn (Edinburgh,1909)
The net of circumstance ( London 1915)
Prelude to waking
Old Blastus of Bandicoot ( London 1931)
Bring that monkey
All that swagger
My career goes bung



  • 2001 - 2001

    Inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women

Published resources

  • Book
    • All that swagger, Franklin, Miles, 1936
    • Childhood at Brindabella: my first ten years, Franklin, Miles, 1963
    • My brilliant career, Franklin, Miles, 1902
    • My brilliant career; My career goes bung, Franklin, Miles, 2004
    • Old Blastus of Bandicoot: opuscule on a pioneer tufted with ragged rhymes, Franklin, Miles, 1931
    • Back to Bool Bool: a ramiparous novel with several prominent characters and a hantle of others disposed as the atolls of Oceania's archipelagoes/ by Brent of Bin Bin, Franklin, Miles, 1956
    • Bring the monkey : a light novel, Franklin, Miles, 1933
    • Cockatoos/ by Brent of Bin Bin, Franklin, Miles
    • Guide to the papers and books of Miles Franklin in the Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, 1980
    • The Complete Book of Great Australian Women: Thirty-six women who changed the course of Australia, De Vries, Susanna, 2003
    • Jean Devanny: Romantic Revolutionary, Ferrier, Carole, 1999
    • Laughter, not for a cage : notes on Australian writing, with biographical emphasis on the struggles, function, and achievements of the novel in three half-centuries, Franklin, Miles, 1956
    • Stella Miles Franklin: A Biography, Joe, Jill, 2008
  • Edited Book
    • The diaries of Miles Franklin, Brunton, Paul, 2004
    • My congenials: Miles Franklin & friends in letters, Roe, Jill, 1993
    • Yarn spinners : a story in letters, Dymphna Cusack, Florence James, Miles Franklin, North, Marilla, 2001
    • 200 Australian Women: A Redress Anthology, Radi, Heather, 1988
  • Resource Section
  • Resource
  • Site Exhibition

Archival resources

  • Mitchell and Dixson Libraries Manuscripts Collection
    • National Council of Women of NSW - program for the launch of the Centenary Stamp Issue and a complete set of the issue, 1996
    • National Council of Women of New South Wales further papers, 1895-1981
    • National Council of Women of NSW Inc. - further records, 1926-1927, 1937-1990
    • Papers relating to National Council of Women of New South Wales, 1895-1897
    • National Council of Women of New South Wales further records, 1895-1997
    • Miles Franklin papers collected by Bruce Sutherland, 1903-1956
    • Miles Franklin papers, mainly literary manuscripts, [1900-1954?]
    • Miles Franklin - The Book of the Waratah Cup, 1902-1908, 1944-1954
    • Florence James - papers, 1890-1993
    • National Council of Women of New South Wales records, 1895-1976
    • Miles Franklin - Papers, 1841-1954
    • [Collection of pamphlets containing souvenir concert programmes and Australian biographies.]
  • National Library of Australia, Manuscript Collection
    • Papers of Miles Franklin 1887-[ca. 1931] [manuscript]
    • Papers of Miles Franklin 1877-1933 [manuscript]
    • Correspondence and literary papers 1887-1954 [microform]
    • Papers of Myrtle Rose White, 1940-1961 [manuscript]
    • Records, 1928-1994 [manuscript]

Related entries

  • Related Women
    • Henry, Alice (1857 - 1943)
    • Cusack, Dymphna (1902 - 1981)
  • Friend
    • Scott, Rose (1847 - 1925)
    • White, Myrtle Rose (1888 - 1961)
  • Supported by
    • The United Associations of Women (1929 - )
  • Collaborator
    • James, Florence (1902 - 1993)
  • Related Awards
    • The Stella Prize (2013 - )