Woman Stubbs, Elizabeth (Beth) (1918 - 1998)

Order of Australia

Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
Kindergarten director and Public servant

Written by Deborah Towns, Swinburne University

Elizabeth (known as 'Beth') Mary Stubbs was born in Ballarat in 1918. Her parents were Oliver and Florence Stubbs. After completing her primary and secondary schooling at Queen's Church of England Grammar School, Ballarat, she enrolled at the Kindergarten Teachers College Melbourne in 1937. She gained her Diploma after two years and studied the extra year for the one year nursery school certificate. After teaching for six years she was appointed as the first pre-school child development officer for the City of Kew.

In 1949 she was awarded the Vera Scantlebury Brown Scholarship. Funded by the Vera Scantlebury Brown Memorial Trust, this scholarship is awarded annually to professional women serving mothers and young children in Victoria in the fields of public health, social welfare and early childhood education. With her Scholarship, Stubbs studied overseas and gained a BSc(Early Childhood) from Columbia University. She also visited kindergartens, schools and children's welfare centres throughout the USA, UK and Sweden. Upon her return in 1952 she was appointed chief pre-school supervisor in the Maternal, Infant and Pre-School Welfare Division of the Maternal and Welfare Branch of the Health Department, Melbourne. When she began there were 166 kindergartens in Victoria. When she retired in 1980 there were 1,125 with 58,774 children enrolled. Her staff of pre-school advisors had increased from three to thirty-three and she left as Director of the Division of Pre-School Child Development, a new government department.

During her long 'retirement' years, Stubbs was actively engaged in community organisations, including the Australian Pre-school Association, the Management Committee of the Lady Gowrie Child Centre and the advisory Council for Children with Impaired Hearing. In 1987 she was awarded the Order of Australia for her service and leadership in the development, care and education services for children. She died in 1998.

Published Resources


  • Stubbs, Elizabeth, For Pre-school Children and their Parents: Aspects of the History of Pre-school Education in Australia 1900-1950, Lady Gowrie Child Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, 2000. Details

Book Sections

  • Waters, Joan, 'Beth Stubbs 1918 - 1998', in Waters, Joan (ed.), With Passion, Perseverance and Practicality: 100 Women Who Influenced Australian Children's Services, 1841-2001, OMEP Australia, Carlton, Victoria, 2002, pp. 174 - 175. Details

Online Resources

See also