Miles Franklin


Miles Franklin was born at her grandmother Lampe’s property, Talbingo, in the highlands of southern New South Wales, on 14 October 1879, the eldest child of Australian-born parents, John Maurice Franklin and Susannah Margaret Eleanor Franklin, née Lampe (Roderick  gives her mother’s names as Margaret Susannah Helena). Her christian names were Stella Maria Sarah Miles, and she was generally known as Stella. Her siblings were Ida Lampe (‘Linda’), Mervyn Gladstone, Una Vernon (died aged 6 months), Norman Rankin, Hume Talmage (‘Tal’) and Laurel.

Franklin was educated privately at the Franklin property, Brindabella from 1887-89 then at Thornford Public School, until she was 16 which was the end of her formal education. However, I know she attended summer school at the University of Wisconsin (Madison) in 1909 and I think it’s likely she took other courses at other times.

She died on 19 September 1954 at Seacombe Private Hospital, Drummoyne, NSW. The cause of death was given as heart attack, chronic myocarditis and pleurisy. She was cremated and her ashes were scattered at Jounama Creek, Talbingo, since submerged by the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme.

Miles Franklin Award

Franklin left the bulk of her estate to fund the Miles Franklin Literary Award for ‘the Novel for the year which is of the highest literary merit and which must present Australian Life in any of its phases …’. From its inception in 1957 the Miles Franklin has grown to be Australia’s most important literary award. In 2013 women writers and publishers instituted another annual award named after Franklin, the Stella Prize for writing by Australian women in all genres.


My Brilliant Career (1901), Book Around the Corner, Booker Talk

The End of My Career (1902 – unpublished) see My Career Goes Bung

On the Outside Track (1903 – unpublished) see Cockatoos

Some Everyday Folk and Dawn (1909), TheAustralianLegend

The Net of Circumstance (1915) by Mr & Mrs Ogniblat L’Artsau

On Dearborn Street (1981), TheAustralianLegend

Merlin of the Empiah/Mervynda (1925 – unpublished) see Prelude to Waking

Up The Country (1928) by Brent of Bin Bin, TheAustralianLegend

Ten Creeks Run (1930) by Brent of Bin Bin, TheAustralianLegend

Gentlemen at Gyang Gyang (1956) by Brent of Bin Bin, TheAustralianLegend

Back to Bool Bool (1931) by Brent of Bin Bin, TheAustralianLegend

Old Blastus of Bandicoot (1931), TheAustralianLegend

Bring the Monkey (1933), TheAustralianLegend

All That Swagger (1936), TheAustralianLegend

Pioneers on Parade (1939) with Dymphna Cusack

My Career Goes Bung (1946), wadholloway

Prelude to Waking (1950) by Brent of Bin Bin, TheAustralianLegend

Cockatoos (1954) by Brent of Bin Bin, TheAustralianLegend

Short Stories

The Old Post, 1904, archives


Joseph Furphy: The Legend of a Man and His Book (1944) with Kate Baker, TheAustralianLegend

Laughter, Not for a Cage (1956), TheAustralianLegend

Childhood at Brindabella (1963)

Jill Roe ed., My Congenials, Miles Franklin & Friends in Letters (1993)

Jill Roe and Margaret Bettison eds, A gregarious culture : topical writings of Miles Franklin (2001)
Paul Brunton ed., The Diaries of Miles Franklin (2004)
Essays –
Australian Writers Need Courage, 1945, archives

See ‘essays, sketches’ in the Index, Roe, 2008

Journalism –

Life and Labor (1911-15) Journal of NWTUL

How the Londoner Takes his War (1916) by Dissenting Diarist, here

Ne Mari Nishta: Six Months with the Serbs, 1918 (review, wadh)
Ne Mari Nishta: Six Months with the Serbs (extract)
Active Service Socks (article)
Scottish Womens Hospitals (essay, Debbie Robson)
Scottish Womens Hospitals (talk, Debbie Robson)


Roe lists 31 plays by Franklin. I won’t list them all here unless I start reading them. A couple of interesting ones: ‘By Far Kaimacktcthalan’ deals with her time in Serbia in WWI; and ‘The Ten Mile’ after a number of iterations became the novel Old Blastus of Bandicoot.


Marjorie Barnard, Miles Franklin (1967), TheAustralianLegend

Verna Coleman, Miles Franklin in America: Her Unknown (Brilliant) Career (1981) TheAustralianLegend

Colin Roderick, Miles Franklin: Her Brilliant Career (1982), TheAustralianLegend

W. Blake, Miles Franklin: Novelist and Feminist (1991)

Sylvia Martin, Passionate Friends (2001), TheAustralianLegend

Jill Roe, Stella Miles Franklin: A Biography (2008), ANZLitLovers

Essays (about Franklin)

Colin Roderick, ‘Brent of Bin Bin’, The Australian Novel, Wm Brooks, Sydney, 1945

Henrietta Drake-Brockman, ‘Miles Franklin’, Australia Writes, T. Inglis Moore ed., Cheshire, Melbourne, 1953

Verna Coleman, Foreword, My Career Goes Bung, A&R, Sydney, 1980

Roy Duncan, Introduction, On Dearborn Street, UQP, Brisbane, 1981

Drusilla Modjeska, Miles Franklin: A Chapter of Her Own, Exiles at Home, Sirius, Sydney, 1981

Elizabeth Webby, Introduction, My Brilliant Career/My Career Goes Bung, A&R, Sydney, 1990

Matthew Higgins, Miles Franklin’s Mountain Country, Australian Geographic


Miles Franklin was angry about her schooling (14.06.15), TheAustralianLegend

Such is Life, Abridged! (03.02.16), TheAustralianLegend

Miles Franklin’s War (25.04.16), TheAustralianLegend
The Sorrow of Miles Franklin beneath Mount Kajmakčalan, Ivan Čapovski (03.09.20), TheAustralianLegend
Australians Working with Scottish Women’s Hospitals, Debbie Robson
The Scottish Women’s Hospitals and Australians talk, Debbie Robson

Brent of Bin Bin, Miles Franklin (02.09.16), wadholloway

Miles Franklin, Canberra, the Griffins (12.12.16), TheAustralianLegend

Miles Franklin’s Last Diary (16.03.18), TheAustralianLegend

Prior Prize Winners, All That Swagger (11.06.18), TheAustralianLegend

Melbourne and Sydney, TheAustralianLegend

Monday Musings: Literary Visitors in 1965 (13.05.19) Whispering Gums [Bruce Sutherland, more work required on his connection with MF]

Miles Franklin in America (21.10.22), wadHolloway