Betty Weale - Words of Wisdom
“The year after the war I was a finalist in the Miss Australia Competition, it was about who raised the most money for charity. I was on the front page of the paper when I made my debut. We went out on a boat once and when we got right out the boat broke down, we had to wait for the lifesaver and swim ashore, well I didn’t wait for the lifesaver I swam myself to shore.” *laughs*
Name: Elizabeth (Betty) Weale – I have never been called Elizabeth, everyone calls me Betty, I don’t know why, family called me that one day and it just stayed.
Age: 93 and a half
Where and when were you born? Goulburn, 1925
What are the most important lessons you've learned in life? To be polite to people and to be honest, smile, but mostly to be myself.
What’s the secret to a happy marriage? I think it’s give and take, let me put it this way, all men stray, all women stray - you have a lot of forgiving to do no matter what happens. John (husband) and I were married for 68 years, we understood each other - understanding is a lot of things, particularly if you are at home and your husband is working. It takes a lot of getting used to, we had a very happy marriage thank goodness. We had two beautiful children, my son lives here in Orange and my daughter lives in Sydney, they are wonderful to me.
Tell us about your school life. I had a very happy school life actually; I enjoyed it, I left when I was in Third Year after the Intermediate Certificate (15 years old) and when I left, I went to Ms Hales Business College. The girlfriends that I had at school I still have now, one’s 94 and the other is 93, we still keep in touch with one another.
What big world events were the most memorable while you were growing up? Well, the War was on of course, though it didn’t stop us...or me from doing anything because we were fortunate enough to be in a position where the Depression didn’t affect the family at all. During the War my fiancé at the time was called up in the War, I was about 18, he went to New Guinea, on the Kokoda trail and was wounded, he came back then. When he came back, we decided we weren’t to marry one another, that’s when I met my husband, I met him the day the Japanese signed the papers saying they weren’t going to fight anymore. We went to a ball at Paddington Town Hall and there was a group of us, I hadn’t met him before, when it was time to go home, they said ‘How are you getting home Betty?’ I said Oh well I don’t know.. what do you suggest? They all suggested they would take me, but they all had motorbikes, one person had a car…. it was John. *laughs*
What is your favourite childhood memory? My Dad had a weekend on the river in Sutherland, we had a cottage there, weekends and holidays my Grandmother would take us all down there, we had boats, rafts and canoes, we loved it. I spent my first 10 years in hotels. We didn’t notice it, we weren’t allowed downstairs near the bar, my parents were very strict about that, perhaps after hours we would go down and have a lemonade, we were never allowed to have a beer! *laughs*
My father was always very generous to us, if we wanted anything, he would always advance the money, but… he had a little notebook, we had to pay it back, he never spoilt us that way, though we were never short of anything.
What life advice would you pass along to your grandchildren? I have six grandchildren and eight great- grandchildren, I would only say to be polite and do as your told because most of them don’t with parents these days. And to be happy - more than anything else, be happy.
What did you want to be when you grew up? A secretary and that is what I became!
What was your favourite job? Now you’ve got me….I don’t think I had one *laughs* the one job I didn’t like was housework. *laughs*
What are you most proud of? My achievements on the bowling green, I couldn’t play tennis anymore because I got a bad neck, so I took up bowls because Mum and Dad played them. I bowled until I was 83, I won all sorts of competitions and so forth, I was an umpire - I wouldn’t start bowls until I knew what the rules were, so I was an umpire from the time I was in my 30’s. I was President of the Windsor Bowling Club.
Who is the person who influenced your life the most? Why? I’d say my husband, he was always understanding, he treated me well, if we had any worries, we discussed them, therefore he wasn’t only a husband, he was a friend.
What was your favourite thing to do for fun? Sport was my thing, I loved all sports - tennis mainly, basketball, ice skating (you get to the stage when you can dance on the ice, but I wasn’t one of those *laughs*), physical culture, anything that we would play at school. When we were living at a hotel in Waverley, I did nothing else but go down to Bronte Beach and swam every afternoon, I was a good swimmer, I still am if I had a pool to go in. *laughs*
What do you enjoy doing now? My favourite past-time in my later life was travelling. My husband wouldn’t go out of Australia, we travelled every year from about April through to August, around Australia in a caravan. Every place you go to is different, the landscape is different, the people are different. We were in Darwin just after they had the cyclone, that was amazing to see, nobody lived in Darwin at that stage, they all lived on a boat, the Government sent a ship up there and transferred everyone while they cleaned up.
Now, I enjoy scrabble, I love all of the things that we do here (Gosling Creek Aged Care) I can’t toss things anymore after I broke my arm when I first got here.