One of the surviving nurses from the SS Vyner Brooke, Betty was washed ashore some days after the Bangka Island massacre but was captured and became a Prisoner of War. Betty wrote White Coolies based on a secret diary kept during her three and a half years in a POW camp in Sumatra. The movie Paradise Road is based on Betty’s book. After returning to Melbourne, she and Vivian Bullwinkel travelled throughout Victoria raising funds to establish a memorial to those nurses who died in Sumatra. Betty was appointed as the first administrator of the Australian Nurses Memorial Centre (ANMC), later becoming its Patron. She also wrote the tribute Matron AM Sage ‘Sammie’.
Picture credit: Australian History Nursing Project