Significant Tasmanian Women icon

(1900 - 1979)

Amelia BestMember of the House of Assembly (First along with Mabel Miller)

Miss Millie Best was born 1900 at Lower Barrington and educated in Burnie and Launceston. She ran an arts and craft business in Launceston. During World War II Millie Best was a Commandant in the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) Canteen Services.

Elected as a Member of the House of Assembly for Wilmot on 19 February 1955, Millie Best was one of the first two women elected to the Tasmanian Lower House (the other was Dame Mabel Miller as a Member for Franklin). After losing her seat in the October 1956 elections, Millie was re-elected on a recount following the resignation of Charles Best in November 1958, before again losing her seat in May 1959.

In 1975 Miss Best told the Launceston Examiner that she had found that while she loved politics, she preferred 'to work in the Liberal political machine - not in Parliament. I like to organise things.' Millie said that she remained a close friend of former Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies.

In the political field Millie's achievements were:

  • Federal Vice President of Liberal Party Council 1958-60.
  • Federal Chairman Women's Group.
  • State Chairman Liberal Women's Sub-committee.
  • Tasmanian representative Liberal Party Federal Council.

Millie was a dedicated community and voluntary worker throughout her life, and her involvement included:

  • Co-founder and Foundation Member Women Show Judges Association
  • Board of Governor's Launceston Girl's Home
  • Treasurer to the Auxiliary Cosgrove Park Home for the Aged
  • Foundation President of the Business and Professional Women's Club
  • Red Cross Meals on Wheels
  • National Council of Women, and the
  • Good Neighbour Council

Millie Best was awarded an MBE 1956. She 'retired' from her last position as Hostess of the Cosgrove Park Day Centre for the Elderly in 1975. At that time Millie observed - 'I never found that being a woman hindered me in any way in the things I wanted to do'.

Miss Millie Best died in Launceston in November 1979.

References :

Hansard House of Assembly 14 November 1979.

Who's Who In Australia (extract undated)

Parliamentary Library.

Pioneer Woman MHA finally retires: Examiner, 1 November 1975

Bennett, B. & S., Biographical Register of the Tasmanian Parliament 1851-1860

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