Betty Pike was brought up in the gold field towns of Western Australia, and did not find out about her aboriginality, through her mother’s family, until she was 16 years old. To escape her very troubled family circumstances Betty hit on the idea of joining the air force. It was 1943, World War 2 was raging, and Betty had always loved aeroplanes, so she lied about her age, her name and her background and signed up for the WRAAF in Perth. Betty was sent to Melbourne for basic training which was hard but she liked the discipline of it, and eventually she was posted back to Western Australia, where she worked fixing plane engines in Geraldton. Returning with the WRAAF to Victoria, Betty left the services at the end of World War 2 and went on to marry and have children, work in the Catholic Church and school system for many years, including with the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, and she also studied at university.
This interview took place on 12 April 2011 in Melbourne and was conducted by Dr Noah Riseman.
The interview recording above is made available to be listened to here by permission of the interviewee(s), Betty Pike. The recording may not be copied, reproduced or communicated in whole or in part without the prior permission of the interviewee(s). Requests for permission for use of this material should be made to the Serving our Country research project: our contact details.
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