Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Born 1922; died in Melbourne on 7 July, 2022, almost reached 100 years of age.
Dr Beth Gott graduated in Botany from Melbourne University, later studying the life-cycle of Rye cereals at London University. On her return to Melbourne, she conducted research on wheat varieties grown in Australia before turning her attention to 'ethnobotany' and the study of the traditional uses of native plants.
Since the 1980's Beth assembled extensive databases of plants used by the Aborigines of south-eastern Australia, while also documenting the landscapes created by Aboriginal management, including the use of fire.
Dr Gott created and curated the Aboriginal Educational Garden at Monash University.
Beth was a plant physiologist and ethnobiologist who challenges white-centric views of botany and advocated for Aboriginal land-management practices. As well as her large database of plants that were used by Aboriginal people she wrote valuable books on the subject, including Koorie Plants, Koorie People: Traditional Aboriginal Food, Fibre and Healing Plants of Victoria.
In 2017 Beth was made a Member of the Order of Australia for "significant service to the biological sciences as an ethnobotanist specialising in the study of the use of native plants by Indigenous people".
Beth's herbarium plant collections only number about 30 specimens.
pers.com. Robert Newton, email, 11/07/2022;
Portrait Photo: 1999, M.Fagg (APII H.189).