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Emma Miller was born in Chesterfield, England in 1839. From a young age she was involved in anti-political activities and fought for equal rights because of her families Unitarian beliefs. Emma was a born rebel. Although she was born and raised in England she didn’t actually make the difference she had longed for until she moved to Queensland, Australia in 1879 with her 2nd husband and 4 children.
Emma and her family were a few of the many immigrants coming into Australia at the time. This made it difficult for them, and many others to get jobs. Emma Miller was an extremely skilled seamstress and was employed as a gentlemen’s shirt maker. Through her work as a seamstress Emma became aware of the exploitation of women workers. She helped found a local free thought association and through this became known for her strong beliefs and desire to change issues such as the unequal pay and opportunities for women in the workplace.
Emma Miller helped contribute to Australia’s nation identity by helping women to have equal rights, giving women the same footing as men and making us the first country in the world to have women voting in a national election. Emma fought bravely for free speech, civil liberties, anti-war and equal rights and pay for women. Emma also contributed to Australia in many other ways, she was the mother of the Queensland Labour party and despite her age and frailty she made a difference where many other people hadn’t.
Emma Miller helped people in many ways; she fought for many causes and in a way helped more people than if she had fought for just one cause. People have the idea that being a rebel is a bad thing but only by being a rebel can you stand out and make change; Emma changed many people’s mind about what it is to be a rebel. Emma Miller contributed greatly to get Australian women the right to vote and she was so successful that we were the first nation to have women voters and set an example for other countries to do the same. She believed that men and women should be equal and campaigned to achieve that, she also became president of the Women’s Equal Franchise Association which would give her more power to implement the changes that Australia so obviously needed.
Emma grew up in the time of the industrial revolution. Her father got her interested in being a rebel as she grew up and had been campaigning against politics with her father throughout her childhood. She was a rebel so she didn’t mind doing things that others would say couldn’t be done. "The world is my country; to do well is my religion" , a saying by Tom Paine that Emma lived by. Emma lived a hard life of tragedy, she was widowed 3 times and had to fend for herself and support her 4 children, sometimes she worked up to 70 hours a week so she was used to hard work. She had something worth fighting for when she wanted to get equal pay and rights for women, she was doing it for Australia and for her family. Emma Miller believed in ‘one person, one vote’ which is why she fought so tirelessly to enable women to have their say and be able to voice their opinion.
Emma helped empower women and helped fight for their rights which has improved the life of women today giving them the same rights as men. Emma helped empower women, give them rights and courage to stand up for what they believe in, Emma showed Australia that anything is possible and was still fighting strongly at age 73. It certainly would have took a lot of courage to continue their fight after being charged down by police on horses, they showed their strength and resourcefulness by knocking down the police with hat pins. ‘Wherever Progress has needed a faithful worker or an earnest voice she has been there every time’. A quote from the magazine ‘The Worker’ about Emma Miller and her loyal dedication.
She was born in England so she was an immigrant to Australia. She lived until she was 78 and was campaigning and fighting for various things until the day she died. She moved to Australia when she was 40, when she came to Australia there were quite a few other immigrants so she was one of the crowd, not an individual and had to work hard to make herself known. She worked as a gentlemans shirt maker; she must have some skills like that and mustn’t have minded working. Although Emma Miller was a ‘hidden hero’ people of the day recognized the effort and contribution she made to this country, she ran the Women’s Union in Queensland and encouraged others to continue her fight when she passed away in 1917. Emma Miller contributed much during her old age and continued fighting, she encouraged women and the elderly everywhere to go out and fight for their rights and what they believed in.
When Emma died from cancer on January 22, 1917, several newspapers ran obituaries, the flag at Brisbane's Trades Hall flew at half mast and unions and women's groups from all over Australia sent condolences and tributes.
A statue was made in memory and recognition of Emma Miller.
Emma Miller's statue in King George Square, Brisbane. A small hand-scratched plaque under it asks who has stolen Emma's umbrella (missing from her left hand).
Australian Women Biographical Entry -http://www.womenaustralia.info/biogs/AWE0654b.htm
Queensland Council of Unions-
CM Federation: The extraordinary suffragette emma Miller-
Australian’s Workers Heritage Centre-
Queensland Government Women’s stories-
Emma Miller, Wikipedia-
Australian dictionary of biography-
Women, Virtual Gallery-
Who is who around 1990-
Latest page update: made by Chandra
, Sep 21 2006, 5:58 PM EDT
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