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Doris Isabel Beeby (1894–1948)

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Doris Beeby, 1937

Doris Beeby, 1937

Doris Isabel Beeby (1894-1948) secretary, trade union official, journalist and Communist 

Birth: 30 July 1894, at Stanmore, Sydney, daughter of native-born parents (Sir) George Stephenson Beeby, Labor politician and judge, and Helena, née West. Unmarried. Death: 17 October 1948 at Castlecrag. 

  • Baptised in St Andrew’ Anglican Cathedral, Sydney, on 31 July 1894.
  • Educated Sydney Church of England Girls Grammar School (SCEGGS) and Sydney University. Assisted her father after his appointment as a NSW and then Commonwealth Arbitration Court judge.
  • 1939-40 active in Spanish Relief Committee, London, where she joined the Communist Party of Great Britain. Sold copies of the Daily Worker.
  • Joined Communist Party of Australia on her return to Australia. From 1942 to 1945 she worked as an organiser for Sheetmetal Workers' Union.
  • Canberra correspondent for Tribune. Active in feminist causes, principally through the United Associations of Women.
  • May have acted as intermediary between Wally Clayton and Soviet Foreign Ministry official at diplomatic function, Canberra, 1948, and assisted Clayton’s espionage for Soviets.
  • Cause of death: cancer.

Heather Radi (ed), 200 Australian Women; John Playford thesis, p. 415; Tribune (Sydney), 23 October 1948; David McKnight, Espionage and the roots of the Cold War: the conspiratorial heritage, (London) 2002; Desmond Ball and David Horner, Breaking the codes: Australia’s KGB network 1944-1950 (Sydney, 1998).

Citation details

'Beeby, Doris Isabel (1894–1948)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 28 May 2024.

© Copyright People Australia, 2012

Doris Beeby, 1937

Doris Beeby, 1937

Life Summary [details]


30 July, 1894
Stanmore, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


17 October, 1948 (aged 54)
Castlecrag, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (not specified)

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Key Organisations
Political Activism