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Community & Business

25 May, 2023

From Conservatorium stage to Oakey: Betty turns 100

Dr E.A.F. McDonald Nursing Home resident and former musical singer Betty Robinson celebrated her 100th birthday with friends, and family who had travelled from the United Kingdom, to see her.

ABOVE: It’s your special day, Betty!

There were choruses of “Happy Birthday” sung to the tune of resident Mick Haddy’s kazoo.

Betty’s niece Michelle Crawford, had flown across from the United Kingdom for the occasion and described Betty as someone full of life.

“Betty has always been energetic, lively, full of fun, very caring and a very special lady,” she said.

Betty was born in Leeton, New South Wales to a British serviceman and his wife, who were looking for a more accommodating climate for his war injuries.

She was educated at Girls’ Junior High School, William Street, Sydney becoming School Captain in her final year and taking her Intermediate Certificate in 1939. 

Betty is a born performer and appeared on stage in several Gilbert and Sullivan musicals at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music during the Second World War.

It was there she met her close friend Gwen Chapman, who was to become godmother to two of her children. 

She lived in the Bondi Beach area during the early 1940s and enjoyed swimming in the area, before marrying and settling down at Willoughby on Sydney’s North Shore with her family.

Her son, Adam Baynard from Kingsthorpe for the occasion, recalled her taking the family on holidays to Newcastle, Katoomba and Canberra.

Daughter Marion Nelson, also from Kingsthorpe, said that she’d been a great mother.

After the children grew up, Betty held down jobs in hospitality and in offices. 

Her various work references were always exemplary.

As someone always on the move, Betty has lived across New South Wales and southern Queensland in her 100 years. 

A keen soprano, she always joined a church choir wherever she went, and was happy to sing in any denomination.

Betty has been extremely, social and would write piles of Christmas cards to the many acquaintances she had met over the years.

It was said that “her card would be the first card that people would get.”

Betty has outlived most of her acquaintances, but still enjoyed receiving cards on the day, including from King Charles and the Queen Consort, Camilla.

She moved to Kingsthorpe in 1997 to be closer to children, Adam, and Marion, and was very active in the Kingsthorpe QCWA branch.

Member and friend Marie Ehrlich said Betty always made the effort to keep in touch after moving to town.

“She was a very active member and loved by all,” she said. 

Betty moved to Aldersgate Court in Toowoomba, but now resides in the Dr E.A.F. McDonald Nursing Home.

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