Born: Warrnambool on January 25, 1952.
Husband: Paul. Children: Chris, Leigh, Joel and Katie.
Parents: Crawford and Irene Ward. Siblings: Margaret, Lorna, Don, Geoff and Barry.
Education: Nullawarre Primary School before going to Warrnambool Technical College.
Sporting highlight: Would be playing tennis for Nullawarre when I was growing up and indoor cricket and ten pin bowling.
Let's talk about your time playing tennis. Who were some of the other sides which played in the competition against Nullawarre?
I started off playing in the junior tennis team against other sides from Nirranda, Timboon, Mepunga and Nullawarre North.
I loved playing tennis but I never rated myself very highly. I was fortunate to have played in a few junior premiership sides, and I also loved playing hockey at school, but I had limited ability.
My sporting career was put on hold when I was 17 years old.
Betty, can you please explain the comment?
I had signed up to be a nurse at the Warrnambool Base Hospital when I was 17 in 1969, so I had to work a lot of weekends.
I'll never forget I had eight weeks of theory and practical experience before we went into the wards and I studied for the next three years. It was like you were doing a hands-on apprenticeship, as it was a baptism of fire.
For the first period of time, you worked on the general ward, but it didn't take very long before you were working in the other various wards, including the theatre.
Things have changed a lot since I started work there in 1969 in medicine and up at the base hospital, which is now Southwest Healthcare.
The district is extremely lucky to have had various brilliant medical people having worked there and still working up at the hospital over the years but I think John Hounsell and Terri Hayes have been remarkable.
How many other nurses signed up with you back in 1969?
There were 13 in the original group but 12 finished.
I had different stints working up at Southwest Healthcare in between having children and living in Melbourne with (husband) Paul for a period of time, but I've always seemed to find my way back to Southwest Healthcare.
It was back in 199, I started working night duty on the children's ward. I was there for 18 years, working different shifts. I have watched in awe over the years the care and respect the nurses have given the patients.
One particular nurse I would love to mention is Sue Marsh. Sue is the unit manager and has done a wonderful job. She's got an amazing attitude and leads a fantastic team.
Betty, your husband Paul has been heavily involved in local sport at various levels. What are your memories of those times?
I've got nothing but great memories. In the late 1970s, we went into partnership with Lindsay Hill, Robbie Gass and John Holland down at the Warrnambool Ten Pin Bowling in Timor Street.
It used to be a very busy place, as we would have pinball machines plus the ten pin bowling. We used to get lots of school children there and we had lots of groups playing competition ten pin bowling.
We were involved in the business for about 10 years - I often think it was a great time of our lives.
Paul played footy with South Warrnambool before going out to West End Allansford. He played and coached there and then we went out to Koroit.
I joined the committee while we were out at Koroit. The women's group catered for lots of functions and we had wonderful times there before Paul's job in insurance saw us move to Melbourne but we always had property in Warrnambool.
Speaking of property in Warrnambool - one place you and Paul built was the Blue Hole. It was a pretty special type of house. How many years did you own that property?
We started building the house in 2002. It took us just over two years to build it and we sold it in 2008. It was a magnificent house but we do own Logans. We've had Logans, which is on three acres, since 1983.
It's been home to various different types of businesses over the years, including a spa and fitness resort, but over the years, we've developed the gardens on the property.
My love for gardening, I would say, came from my mother, who was an avid gardener, and my dad, who loved his time in the veggie patch and among the fruit trees.
We started off with a blank canvas at the property in 1983. The wind and salt air took its toll for many years before we established trees to give the plants protection from the harsh elements. The different dwellings we have on the property have also provided much-needed shelter. I just love every aspect of gardening from the flowers and their colour and perfume to the veggies we share with neighbours and friends.
My advice to anyone is to start small in the garden and take little steps. I've learnt a lot about gardening from listening to Vasili on the radio. His advice over the years has been incredible, and then, out of the blue, Paul had got in contact with Vasili for my 70th birthday in January and Vasili came down to Logans the next day to have a look around the garden and gave me some wonderful advice.
Betty, away from the garden, your daughter Katie has been fighting the fight against breast cancer. Do you wish to speak about that?
Yes. Katie was diagnosed on November 11, 2020, with breast cancer.
Katie is doing a great job with the assistance of her husband Kelvin. They have two children.
I would have to say Katie is an emotionally strong person. She's gone very public about her battle with breast cancer, posting things on social media telling her story.
Katie has people seeking advice and help from all over Australia. I don't think there's a day that goes past when someone does not get in contact with Katie, asking her for advice and support as they battle breast cancer.
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