Australian Dictionary of Biography

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Miller, Sir Edward (1848–1932)

by E. M. Finlay

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986

Sir Edward Miller (1848-1932), financier, pastoralist and politician, was born on 3 August 1848 at Richmond, Melbourne, second of five sons of Henry 'Money' Miller and his wife Eliza, née Mattinson. He was educated privately and at Melbourne Church of England Grammar School after it opened in 1858 until 1862.

Edward was introduced to the financial world under his father's guidance, gaining experience with the Victoria Insurance Co. and eventually becoming chairman of directors. He replaced his father as director (and later was chairman) of the Bank of Victoria, remaining on the board when it amalgamated with the Commercial Banking Co. of Sydney in 1927. On his father's death in 1888, he inherited his mantle as Melbourne's leading figure in banking, insurance and real estate. Unlike Henry Miller, who regarded mining investments as a dangerous gamble, Edward was chairman of directors of the Pioneer Tin Mining Co. of Tasmania and of the Goldmining Association of Charters Towers, Queensland, whose capital of £4500 returned £550,000 in gold. Interested in Broken Hill from its inception, he held the first scrip issued by the Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Ltd. Edward was a careful conservator of his inheritance, constantly developing and modernizing his valuable city properties and managing the family's Victorian pastoral interests and further property acquired at Windoora and in the Rocklands estate near Camooweal, Queensland.

Miller shared the family interest in horse-racing, although breeding and training were managed by his brothers Albert and Septimus. After their steeplechaser Redleap, trained on the family's private track at Alphington, won the Victorian Grand National Hurdle in 1889, the Millers built elaborate stables at Mill Park, Bundoora, where the Findon Harriers were housed. This beagle pack had been started by Edward Woods in 1870, and previously accommodated by Miller at Findon, in Kew. Miller was master of the hunt for twenty years after 1871. In 1896 the pack was opened to public subscription as the Findon Harriers Hunt Club.

Miller was a member of the Legislative Council of Victoria, representing South Yarra (1892-1904), then East Yarra Province until he retired in June 1913. Noted for a meticulousness in all his concerns, he spoke frequently in financial, pastoral and land policy debates.

When the Australian branch of the British Red Cross Society was founded in 1914 (from 1916 Australian Red Cross Society), Miller became its honorary treasurer until 1928. He was also treasurer of the Talbot Colony for Epileptics, and a committeeman of the (Royal) Children's Hospital, the Eye and Ear Hospital and the Royal Victorian Institute for the Blind. Knighted in 1917, he was president of the Melbourne Club in 1923.

Miller died on 26 September 1932 at his home Glyn in Kooyong Road, Toorak, and was cremated. He was survived by his wife Mary Elizabeth, née Darlot, whom he had married on 5 September 1877, and two sons, Edward Eustace, and Everard Studley. His estate was sworn for probate at £104,669. Lady Miller had in 1918 been appointed O.B.E. in recognition of her war work.

Select Bibliography

  • A. Sutherland et al, Victoria and its Metropolis, vol 2 (Melb, 1888)
  • E. Scott, Australia During the War (Syd, 1936)
  • H. B. Ronald, Hounds are Running (Kilmore, Vic, 1970)
  • Parliamentary Debates (Victoria), 1893, 2nd S, p 4, 1932, 2nd session, p 1196
  • Australasian Insurance and Banking Record, 21 Oct 1932
  • Table Talk (Melbourne), 31 Mar 1893
  • Australasian (Melbourne), 9 June 1917
  • Argus (Melbourne), 27, 28 Sept 1932
  • Age (Melbourne), 27 Sept 1932, 1 July 1933
  • Bulletin, 5 Oct 1932
  • Herald (Melbourne), 1 July 1966.

Additional Resources

  • funeral, Argus (Melbourne), 29 September 1932, p 6
  • will, Argus (Melbourne), 27 December 1932, p 6

Citation details

E. M. Finlay, 'Miller, Sir Edward (1848–1932)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/miller-sir-edward-7582/text13239, published first in hardcopy 1986, accessed online 22 December 2014.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 10, (MUP), 1986

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