Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Betty's Active, Full Life Ever Spiced with Travel

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Betty's Active, Full Life Ever Spiced with Travel

Article excerpt

WIFE, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, good friend. Betty Mackay was all of these. She was farewelled at St Luke's Anglican Church in Wandal by several hundred friends and family on Wednesday February 4, after a short illness.

Betty Louise Mackay (nee Leath) was born in Perth, Western Australia, in 1928. She spent much of her formative years travelling Australia with her electrical engineer father Cleo, and mother Phyllis Leath.

Despite being born on the other side of the country, she had strong links to Rockhampton and the Capricorrn Coast, dating back several generations. Granddaughter of prominent Rockhampton builder TB Renshaw, Betty was always proud to point out the many fine structures in the region which he built, such as the Archer Park and Mount Morgan Railway Stations.

By necessity of her father's profession, Betty's education occurred in a variety of schools throughout the country. By the end of high school, the family had settled in Sydney and Betty graduated from University of Sydney with a BA at the tender age of 19 in 1947.

After graduating, she worked in several Sydney commercial radio stations. People who knew Betty may find it scarcely credible to hear that her listening ear ever strayed from the ABC.

The old AWA valve radio, which served the Mackay family so well for decades, was permanently stuck - almost certainly through lack of dial turning - on the local ABC, and no amount of effort could persuade the dial to move to any other station.

In 1950 she left Sydney for a holiday to Rockhampton to visit her cousins and was introduced to Donald Mackay, an ex-RAAF air gunner from Victoria who had just moved to Rockhampton to work at The Morning Bulletin. Shortly afterwards, in what Don recently described as "one of his better snap decisions" he asked Betty to marry him. The couple set up house in North Street, and a few years later, Mansfield Street, Rockhampton.

Betty's early years of travelling the country with her parents did nothing to dampen her enthusiasm for more travel, whether it be the relatively short journey to the Capricorn Coast for weekends and holidays or epic journeys such as the one she and Don made to Darwin in 1961. …

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