Saturday, June 17, 2023

Vale Betty Mason (1925-2021)

Vale Betty Mason

Photo David Lawrence, 16 June 2023

Photo David Lawrence, 16 June 2023

Photo Marghanita da Cruz, 17 June 2023

Council Meeting
10 May 2022
Item No: C0522(1) Item 21
Subject: Notice of Motion: Vale Betty Mason
From: Councillor Marghanita Da Cruz
Motion: That Council work with Betty Mason’s family and friends to install a Historical Marker, in an appropriate location, acknowledging Betty’s contribution to Annandale.


Betty Mason campaigned effectively to save much of the heritage of Annandale in the Leichhardt Municipality as well as improving the area with tree planting and parks.
Betty Mason co-founded the Annandale Association in 1969 when the “witches” houses were threatened with demolition, and worked with the National Trust to protect historic buildings in the area. The Association also defended Annandale from the expressways, which were planned to run through the suburb.
A resident action group was formed with Betty as secretary, Jeffrey Miles, a Sydney barrister who would later become Chief Justice of the ACT, anthropologist Nick Peterson and his wife Ros, and history student Alan Roberts. Objectives for the new Annandale Association were thrashed out at the Masons’ home.
Betty served as the Secretary of the Annandale Association from its inception until her passing in 2021. The Association guided popular walks, prepared “A plan for Annandale” and later published the Annandale Amble.
Alan Roberts later chose the creation of Annandale as a suburb for his history thesis. Betty assisted with the thesis by examining the certificates of title for every one of the many hundreds (perhaps thousands) of lots and then typed up the thesis.
A patchwork quilt was presented to Betty in recognition of her contribution to the community. Making the quilt was a secret project. Maureen, the “ring leader”, organised her husband to photograph a number of Annandale landmarks. The photographs were dropped in letterboxes across Annandale. Each of the women who received a photograph created a picture patch which Maureen collected and sewed to a green backing fabric. Betty described the quilt as “the creation of a number of local women”.
Quilt in 2010 in Leichhardt Library. Photo Marghanita da Cruz

The panels were
1. Annandale Association 10th Anniversary for Betty from her friends in Annandale ;
2. The Abbey, Johnston Street Annandale;
3. Annandale House Gates, in the Grounds of Annandale Public School;
4. Kennilworth and Claremont (Witches houses), Johnston Street;
5. 289 Annandale Street;
6. Annandale Post Office;
7. Meeting of the Annandale Association, in the upstairs hall of the Annandale Chamber;
8. Hunter Baillie Church;
9. Haledon, 181 Annandale Street (oldest house in the group);
10. Betty holding the quilt presented to her on the 10th anniversary of the Association. Made in secret, the quilt featured 19 panels based on sketches by fabric designer Jill Carne. Photo Nick Lloyd, Annandale Association President in 1979.Rocky outcrop, Northern End of Annandale Street;Beale’s Piano Factory;
11. Piper Street Park;
12. Horse Trough at North Annandale Public School;
13. Goodmans Buildings (corner Johnston Street and Parramatta Road);
14. Aqueduct ;
15. Annandale Council Chambers (now neighbourhood centre);
16. Two of a Group of three Terraces Johnston Street, near intersection with Reserve St;
17. Josie, the Poet's House - a villa with stables in the backyard, where her husband Freddy kept trotters; and
18. A Corner Shop in Annandale
In 2010 Betty donated the quilt to the Local History Section of the Leichhardt (now Inner West) Library.
“Historical Marker - Commissioned to enhance understanding of the unique history and identity
of people and events associated with the location. May include steel fabrication, engraved or pressed metal, based on 20 year + tenure.” - Inner West Memorial planting and plaques in parks and open spaces policy, viewed 25 April 2022
C0522(1) Item 21         Notice of Motion: Vale Betty Mason

Motion: (Da Cruz/Stamolis)


That Council work with Betty Mason’s family and friends to install a Historical Marker, in an appropriate location, acknowledging Betty’s contribution to Annandale.

Motion Carried

For Motion:                 Crs Atkins, Byrne, Da Cruz, D'Arienzo, Drury, Griffiths, Howard, Langford, Lockie, Scott, Shetty, Smith, Stamolis, Stephens and Tsardoulias

Against Motion:          Nil


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