Behind her quiet and unassuming exterior, Bartonvale Gardens independent living resident Betty Greig has quite the adventurous life story to tell.
Born in Sunshine, Victoria in 1928 as the eldest of five, Betty lived in Footscray in her early childhood.
Her first adventures began in the gold-mining town of Creswick near Ballarat as a ten-year-old, where her grandfather and uncle took the children of the family to dig in a 150-foot-deep mine.
“On my last dig I found a piece of yellow, ugly rock and gave it to my grandfather as I wasn’t interested in it,” she said.
“Many years later I found out that the yellow rock had been sold for a thousand pounds, and the money was used to build the family’s new house!”
At 22, Betty married Bob and moved to South Australia, where he worked for the Department of Defence, Science and Technology, before a move to England beckoned in 1954.
“We initially thought it was only going to be for six to eight weeks,” Betty said.
“I nearly fainted when I found out it was going to be for three years!”
Three children were now part of the family, and the Greigs enjoyed their time in the United Kingdom, making trips to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and experiencing snow for the first time.
After having their fourth child, the couple were on the move again: this time to Washington DC for a three-year period.
“Shortly after arriving and living with four children in a rental apparent, Bob was given 2 days to arrange a work trip to Rome for a week,” Betty said.
“While he was away I was given the job of finding a home, a high school for Peter, junior high for Norma and Ian, a primary school for Helen and a car.
“It was a hectic time, but I managed to do everything within the week Bob was away and even managed to get the car back to the apartment without a major incident!”
Through Bob’s work, the family were invited to Cape Kennedy for the launch of Apollo 6 – NASA’s final unmanned test of the Saturn V launch vehicle.
“The colours of the launch were amazing – orange flames and plumes of white,” Betty said.
Trips to Virginian state parks, fossicking for dinosaur bones, a white Christmas, a girl guides tour to New York and riots following the assassination of Robert Kennedy are all strong memories of Betty’s time in the United States.
A return to Australia and a home in Salisbury, Adelaide in 1969 brought a close to Betty’s international adventures, apart from the impressive feat of walking on an active volcano in New Zealand in 2017.
“Bob and I had many good years of travelling around Australia,” she said.
“At the last count I have six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren and have enjoyed watching them all grow up.”
Following Bob’s passing, Betty made the move to an independent living unit at Bartonvale Gardens in 2013, where she has enjoyed a social and secure lifestyle.
“I’m very happy here,” she said.
“I’ve made some very good friends, I feel safe, and the best part of it is that my family like it.”
For more information on Bartonvale Gardens Retirement Village, click here.