Beth Newland, a long-standing contributor to the history of Australian science, died in Paris on 6 May.
A graduate in history of Sydney University, Beth was senior librarian at the Australian Atomic Energy Commission when, in 1973, I chose her to be my research assistant to work part-time for some six years on Australian scientific institutions and the history of Australian science in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her interest in the field led her to complete an MA thesis at the University of New South Wales in 1983, for which she gained first class honours, on 'Sir Roderick Murchison and Australia: A Case Study of British Influence on Australian Geological Science'.
She tutored in courses in the history of science, and science and technology, at the Universities of New South Wales and Wollongong; worked as research assistant to Evelleen Richards at Wollongong where she contributed substantially to the book, Vitamin C and Cancer; and was completing her research and writing for a PhD at Wollongong on the life of the Australian nineteenth century naturalist, Dr. George Bennett, when she died.
Lively and humorous and a warm colleague to many women in the field, Beth's involvement was strongly people-oriented and she was co-founder with me in the late 1980s, and the first energetic Executive Secretary, of the Colonial Science Club (Royal Australian Historical Society), of Sydney, which has become a model for kindred associations in other States. Until illness overtook her, she was also working as joint editor with me on a collective biography of 'Women in Australian Science'. Beth's knowledgeable contribution to the discipline, and her genuine sense of sharing, participation, and support to others, will be widely missed.