Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria
Died Saturday, 28 July 2001 after a long, painful illness.
Botanical artist. Illustrated A.M.Blombery, Proteaceae of the Sydney Region (1981).
Obituary by A.M.Blombery below
Betty was a talented, generous and helpful person. As one of Australia's leading botanical artists she staged several successful exhibitions of her work. Also, she carried out a number of private commissions of watercolour paintings of native plants. With her love of native plants, the flowers of the family Proteaceae were her favourite subject to paint. When asked to paint a series of watercolours for a limited edition book it is not surprising that the Proteaceae of the Sydney Region was chosen. This project occupied a painstaking period of 4 years to complete and 20,000 km of travelling to collect the plant specimens. The 86 exquisite watercolour paintings from the book are now in the Archives. of the NSW State Library and who on special occasions display the paintings.
Betty illustrated numerous books on Australian plants, including a number of my own books. Over the years Betty took on a number of extra tasks in addition to illustrating my books and I asked her to be my co-author.
In the early days of S.G.A.P when the meetings were held at the Sydney Technical College Betty was a regular attendant. When the first flower show was held at Farmers Gallery shop in the central business area of Sydney Betty played an important part in staging the show. For a number of years Betty undertook the distribution of seeds to the members of the society.
With her love of native plants it naturally resulted in the development of a prize- winning garden. The unequalled centrepiece of which was a display of Australian Rock Orchids. Betty allowed her garden to be opened yearly to the public and this inspired the many visitors to grow more Australian plants in their garden. With her sister, Jean Walker they wrote a book Designing Australian Bush Gardens, followed by a sequel More About Bush Gardens. Later both books were combined into a single volume All About Bush Gardens. These books served as a tremendous inspiration for people to grow more native plants in their home gardens.
Betty wrote and illustrated a number of articles for Don Burke's Backyard Journal. In the July issue of the magazine, just prior to her death, an article she had previously written and illustrated on Hakea was published.
As a worker at Stony Range Flora Reserve, Betty served almost from its inception and for a number of years was the Publicity Officer for the reserve.
In addition to Betty's many activities she had a love of classical music and for many years subscribed to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and Opera Company. Her favourite musician was Wagner and with her husband they travelled to the home of Wagner music in Bayreuth, Germany on a number of occasions.
Finally some years ago Betty's garden was approved by the National Trust as a Trust garden and presented her with a terracotta plaque, which is now attached to the house. It is hoped that this wonderful garden will be kept as a showpiece well into the future.
Alec Blombery, Oct 2001
Source: Native Plants for NSW, Vol.36 No.4
Also in: H.Hewson Australia - 300 Years of Botanical Illustration (1999)