- 20 February 1913
Stawell, Victoria, Australia
- 21 August 2001
The daughter of Thomas and Gwenelian (née Bartleman) Laby, Beth Laby completed her secondary schooling at Korowa Anglican Girls' School. She graduated with a Diploma of Foods and Cookery, Institutional Management, from the Emily McPherson College of Domestic Economy before becoming a demonstrator with the Metropolitan Gas Company.
In 1942 Laby was appointed to the cookery department at Emily McPherson College and part of her college war work included teaching members of the Australian Women's Army Service, the Women's Royal Australian Navy Service and army hospital cooks. She demonstrated to civilian women the use of diverse foodstuffs during a time of food rationing and uncertain supply, as well travelling to country towns to show women how to make ovens from oil drums in case the war moved south from Darwin.
Laby became acting head of the Emily McPherson College cookery department following the resignation of Miss Jose and later taught at Prahran Technical College. In her retirement she was a delegate to the National Council of Women of Victoria (NCWV) for the Home Economics Association of Victoria. From 1992 to 1997 she was an associate of the NCWV and continued to contribute to council fund-raising activities and assist the home economics advisers well into the 1990s.
Sources used to compile this entry: Allinson, Mary, 'Elizabeth (Beth) Bartleman Laby', The Age, 16 November 2001; Docherty, James, The Emily Mac : the story of the Emily McPherson College, 1906-1979, Ormond, Melbourne, 1981, 314 pp.