My Grandfather: Leonard Augustus Betts
Leonard Augustus Betts was born at James Street, Latrobe,
Tasmania on 21st December, 1903, son of George Thomas Betts
and Selina Burgess.
The 1925 Electoral Roll finds Leonard in Queensland at
Macknade in the Ingham District. He is a labourer.
By 1928 he is in the ACT at Beauchamp House, [ a public housing
hostel for workers] Canberra. His occupation is listed as 'useful'.
Leonard married Thelma Veronica Bartlett, in Sydney NSW in
1929. The couple had four children. They called him 'Daddy Len'.
Leonard was a fettler with the railways and worked away for weeks
at a time coming home to his family on the weekends. After an
accident where he fell off the back of a truck, Leonard hurt his
back and was unable to work. He also suffered from a 'bad heart'
for most of his life.
The 1930 Electoral Roll shows Leonard, a labourer, residing at 7
Camp Unanderra [Mittagong]. Thelma is recorded twice, at 10
Cromwell Street Croydon and also at Bent Street, Chester Hill.
Her mother Sarah Bartlett is also residing at Bent Street.
The 1936 Electoral Roll records Leonard as residing at Campbell
Hill Road, whilst Thelma is still recorded as being at Bent Street,
Chester Hill. Also residing at the Campbell Hill Road address is
Thelma's sister Dorothy Bartlett, an Office Assistant and mother
Sarah [nee Higgins]
With the advent of WW2 and the construction of a munitions
factory at Leighton's Field near Villawood, the family moved again
to 112 Railway Ave Stanmore, a property previously leased by
Thelma's cousins, the Ryans. The family moved in on St Patrick's
Living with Thelma, Leonard and their children was Thelma's
mother Sarah [nee Higgins] 'Mumma', her father Boston 'Old Dad'
Bartlett as well as Thelma's unmarried sister Dorothy.
By 1948, Leonard and Thelma had separated. Leonard moved
into a small flat in Douglas Street, nearby. Oral history states that
Thelma blamed the complications of having her mother living with
them as reason for the break-up. The 1954 Electoral Roll shows
Leonard, a labourer, living at 32 Gordon Crecsent, Petersham.
Leonard was a keen horse race follower and in later years is said
to have had shares in a racehorse called Royal Marine.
He died on 22nd October 1979 following a heart attack and is
buried at Redcliffe, Queensland.
Above: Leonard Augustus Betts,
Below: Leonard with two of his
grandchildren who called him