Beryl Mills

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Beryl Lucy Mills (3 January 1907 – 13 July 1977) was an advertising agent, librarian, and beauty queen.[1] She was the first woman to win the Miss Australia quest in 1926[2]

First "Miss Australia", Beryl Mills of Western Australia, 1927, photographed by Sam Hood

Early life[edit]

Beryl Lucy Mills was born on 3 January 1907 at Walkaway, Western Australia, the fifth child of parents Frank Ernest Mills and his wife Kitty, née Gibbons. After winning a scholarship to the University of Western Australia in 1924 and studying languages, she was admitted to Claremont Training College.[1]


Beauty queen[edit]

Beryl Mills was an entrant in the inaugural Miss Australia contest run by Smith’s Newspapers Ltd, owners of Smith’s Weekly and The Guardian.[3][4] After initial success as Miss Westralia, she entered and won the national competition in June 1926 in Sydney.[1] Her winnings included 1000 pounds, two cars, and a promotional tour of the United States.[3][5] She was accompanied by her mother and Sir Frank Packer and was a guest of the Miss America pageant at Atlantic City.[1] Her tour included laying a wreath on the grave of an ANZAC soldier buried in the Presidio Cemetery, a guided tour of University of California Berkeley campus, and a visit to the White House, where she was invited to meet President Calvin Coolidge.[6]

Advertising agent[edit]

In Sydney in 1928 she established the Beryl Mills Advertising Service before moving to Melbourne in the 1930s.[1][7]

Personal life[edit]

Beryl Mills married journalist Francis Keith Davison on 19 March 1928 at St Michael's Anglican Church, Vaucluse, Sydney. They moved to Melbourne where daughter Judith was born in 1935.

Mills returned to Sydney by 1941 and became librarian at Frank Packer's Consolidated Press Ltd. She met Major Leslie Garland Calder, and they moved to the United States and married[1] on 19 December 1946 in Virginia. She became a naturalized American and moved to Florida in her husband’s retirement. She died there at Punta Gorda on 13 July 1977.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Brooke, Marion; Griffen-Foley, Bridget. "Beryl Lucy Mills (1907–1977)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. National Centre of Biography. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  2. ^ "Australasian Gazette – Miss Australia, Beryl Mills, Leaves for the US on the Sonoma (1926)". National Film and Sound Archive. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Miss Australia: A Nations Quest". National Museum of Australia. Retrieved 28 August 2016.
  4. ^ Conor, Liz (January 2001). "Beauty contestant in the photographic scene". Journal of Australian Studies. 25 (71): 33–43. doi:10.1080/14443050109387718.
  5. ^ Smart, Judith (January 2001). "Feminists, flappers and miss Australia: Contesting the meanings of citizenship, femininity and nation in the 1920s". Journal of Australian Studies. 25 (71): 1–15. doi:10.1080/14443050109387716.
  6. ^ Ustinoff, Julie; Saunders, Kay (2004), "Celebrity, nation and the new Australian woman: Tania Verstak, Miss Australia 1961 [Paper in: Construction Works. Nile, Richard with Tallis, Denise (eds).]", Journal of Australian Studies (83): 61–73, 187–189, ISBN 978-0-7022-3530-6, ISSN 1444-3058
  7. ^ Dickenson, Jackie (2016). "Advertising: A Suitable Career?". Australian Women in Advertising in the Twentieth Century. Palgrave Pivot, London: 10–23. doi:10.1057/9781137514349_2. Retrieved 30 November 2017.