When we think of incredible women who’ve changed the world, too-often we look to celebrities. Headline grabbers from overseas. We forget to look in our own backyard. We forget the Australian women who’ve made a difference, sometimes on a world stage, sometimes across our nation.
We forget because we have lost them in history, or they’re not on our television screens, or they don’t perform on the Superbowl and there is no dedicated YouTube channel.
So, for all these women, the Australian women who’ve, each in their own way, made the world a better place, we remember you.
Miles Franklin (1879 – 1954)
She was a feminist of the first wave. Born in 1879, to a family on Brindabella Station in rural New South Wales, Stella Maria Sarah Miles Franklin wrote My Brilliant Career when she was a teenager. It told the story of a young, headstrong, passionate girl, Sybylla, growing up in the country. Sybylla wanted a career as a writer. The farm she lived on was failing. Drought and bad business decisions had ruined it. Her father became an alcoholic and she went to live with her grandmother. As she grew into a woman she was proposed to time and time again, by the same man. Sybylla was not convinced, understanding that marriage wouldn't please either of them. She vowed never to marry, she dreamed instead of becoming a writer.
Franklin wrote more books, under several pseudonyms, she had columns in The Daily Telegraph and The Sydney Morning Herald under the names 'An Old Bachelor' and 'Vernacular'. She travelled the world. She worked for the National Women's Trade Union League in the US and co-edited the leagues magazine.