Betty - My Mother


I was born on 20th October, 1926 at Cleveland Street, Sydney, the daughter of James Fuller Rose and Annie Louise Rose (nee Lergessner). My father was a carrier and drove trucks all his life. My brother Jim was born on 26th November, 1931.

During the depression we lived with my grandmother Rose at Unwin Bridge Rd, Tempe, and developed a very close relationship with my grandmother. As a teenager after I had left school, I would visit Grandma every Sunday after church for breakfast. When my father couldn’t get any work during the depression we went to the country (Bathurst, I believe) to live with my father’s brothers and their families, catching rabbits to sell for a living. We rented a small mud hut at Kelso (near Bathurst) for a time and I went to school at Kelso Public School. This was a one teacher school where I made my first Holy Communion.

When we returned to Sydney around 1934, we rented a semi detached cottage at 88 Beauchamp St., Marrickville. I went to Marrickville Public School for a few months and hated it, so I left and walked a mile each way to St. Bridget’s Catholic School. starting in 4th class where I met my life long friend Betty Lawler (now O’Brien). I found high school hard going and left in 2nd year aged 14 years.

I got a job at Bateman’s Garage in Bankstown and held that for approximately 18 months, then got a job at Anthony Hordens retail store in Sydney. My wages were £1/2/6 per week in 1942. I went to night school to learn shorthand and typing and got an office position with Industrial Acceptance Co., a finance company, when I was 18 years old, and was there until I left to get married in 1948.

After leaving school I played tennis at weekends and went to Scottish Dancing on Saturday nights at Undercliffe. I went to physical culture classes after work at a studio at Central Square, Sydney, and dancing at Shrublands Hall (Marrickville) a couple of nights a week. My father was away from home a lot with his carrying business and didn’t provide very well for the family, so my mother got a job at the Australian Woolen Mills to support the family. Eventually my parents separated and were divorced when I was 18 years old, and my mother saved enough money to buy the semi cottage at Marrickville. My brother Jim left home when he was 12 years old and went to live with my father in the country where he finished school.

By then my father had a second family and it was another 20 years before I learned that I had a step sister, Barbara, and 4 step brothers, Robbie, Bernie, Wayne and David. I have become very good friends with them since. I also learned that my father’s second wife was the elder sister of my brother’s wife, Margaret, and we have met Mona on several occasions.

I met my husband Thomas Ronald Mooney when I was dancing at Shrublands Dance Hall, and he partnered me as a debutante at a De La Salle ball, and 3 ½ years later we were married at St. Bridget’s Catholic Church, Marrickville on the 4th of September, 1948. We spent our honeymoon at the Cecil Guest House, Katoomba, arriving by train at 11:30 p.m. on a freezing cold windy night. The porter took our cases and we caught a taxi to the guest house and were worried the porter had stolen our cases.

We lived with my mother at Beauchamp St., Marricville for the first 3 months of our married life, before moving into our own home at 43 Robertson St., Campsie. We have 3 children, Geoffrey, Dianne and David and lived at Robertson Street until 1967 when we bought land and built a home at Enid Avenue, Roselands (which was then called Lakemba) where we have lived for the past 30 years. We have been married for 48 years and looking forward to our golden wedding anniversary.




I was born on 24/4/27 in a private hospital in Messiter St., Campsie. The family home was in Robertson St., Campsie. I am the eldest son of a family of six children, 2 elder sisters, Jean and Marge, and a younger sister, Shirley. My two bothers are Bryan and Phillip.

Mooney Avenue, Earlwood was named after my father who was Health and Building Inspector at Canterbury Council in the mid 30’s. My father took me to the opening of the Harbour Bridge when I was 5 years old.

I started school at St. Mel’s, Campsie up to 6th class, and then on to De La Salle College Marrickville where I attained my Intermediate Certificate in 3rd year before leaving in 1941. I was never an academic at school, being more interested in sport. The family moved to Thompson St., Earlwood about this time. After leaving school I got an apprenticeship in electrical fitting at Braybon Bros. in Sydney, and worked on Industrial Projects and Equipment for 5 years. I completed my technical training at Belmore and Ultimo colleges and joined Stovne Electrical Co. doing breakdown service to industries around Sydney. During the war years I was servicing navy and merchant shipping on Sydney wharves. I was on a ferry on Sydney Harbour the night the Japanese submarine entered the harbour and fired torpedoes.

I went ballroom dancing 3 nights a week and did Tech homework and football training the other nights. I met my wife, Betty Rose, at Shrublands Dance Hall in Marrickville while in the Campsie Younger Set and was a partner to debutantes at the De La Salle balls at Marrickville Town Hall on several occasions. Betty and I were married at St. Bridget’s Church, Marrickville in September 1948. We have 3 children, Geoff, Dianne and David, and 7 grandchildren aged from 19 years to 6 months.

When first married I was earning £7/1/6 per week and to earn extra money I drove hire cars and taxis in my spare time until, in 1951, I took up cab driving full time. I was a very interesting life and the most famous passenger besides celebrities was Bee Miles, the eccentric Sydney identity who was always reciting poetry and telling stories of Greek Mythology. She was a most interesting person and not harassed.

After several years when the children were of school age and never seeing their father because he was driving night shifts, I gave up the taxis and managed my father’s service station at Alexandria for 2 years before returning to my trade in the electrical industry where I worked for several major companies in the electrical engineering field on power stations, steel mills and heavy industrial projects.

I retired in 1992 and took a long while to settle into retirement before joining the Canterbury-Earlwood Probus Club, and I now wonder how I found the time to go to work.

Beatrice (Betty) and Thomas (Ron) Mooney



Betty died at a nursing home near Gosford on Thursday, September 17, 2105, just short of her 89th birthday. I was in Montreal at the time visiting my son Michael and his wife Anne. I'm thankful to Michael for his emotional support. It was invaluable to me.

As per Mum's instructions, there was no funeral, but an immediate family gettogether at a restaurant at Brighton Le Sands in Sydney. It's where Mum and Dad used to go for special occasions. It was a very special occasion, filled with love, insights into who Mum was, and some wonderful stories. I would like to particularly thank my sister, Di, and brother, David, for an unforgettable day. Below are some pics from the day.

"In the end all we have is each other." - Unknown

Betty002 Betty008 Betty005 Betty06
Betty07 Betty009 Betty012 Betty004

"Our Special Rose" - Geoff Mooney

We lost you just short of your 89th birthday, which you sadly failed to achieve,
Your immediate family gathers here today to remember you, and to grieve.
We are all honoured to have known you, loved you, and shared your life,
You were so very special in so many ways, as a mother, a grandmother and a wife.

We are all sad at your passing, but joyous for the lives to which you gave, 
A special meaning, not just an existence, something we will forever save.
As your physical health declined in the end, your light simply grew brighter,
And we were all brought together in both sadness and joy, and the family grew even tighter.

Rest in peace, mother, we trust that you look down upon us today with a smile,
As we lift our heads and glasses in reverence and appreciation for your while.

We will always love you.

Your loving family.


Contribution from eldest grandson, Michael Mooney

Linger on, pale blue eyes. Ok, Im gonna come clean here, I was petrified of Grandma when I was a kid. I’d suck in 3 or 4 shallow breaths as we filed passed the kitchen window on the left side of the house, militantly hard grass blockading either side of the narrow path, ensuring you stayed the course. We were always greeted with an outpouring of unabashed love, soft drinks and snacks. Grandma and Pa left no doubt that we were precious little things, poppin’ and fizzin’ with enough energy to win those fleeting family moments just as time was trying to claim them. In the tenderness she gave me, I felt the sternness of the great generation. The tough love that allowed her to survive a difficult upbringing in a world reeling from the 30’s and 40’s. So i’d play it safe. I can be loud and a little bit of a loose cannon, unaware of what’s going on around me. I knew I could misfire and that she (I thought) would have none of it. So I didn’t give her any……….. and we had nothing but fun.

The everest of my first entire plate of vegetables was climbed thanks to the gentle whip of Betty’s guardianship. Oh the torture. I was so afraid to disappoint her, but i felt sick to my stomach. Oh the nausea. Is there anything more grotesque to the child eye than a pile of steamed green veggies ( no sauce to down it, no salt to bury the bitterness) Far be it from me to exaggerate, but in the vintage plate she had set before me lay the mother of all old-growth broccoli. That monster should’ve been in a natural history museum. Each Herculean mouthful was chased by a tsunami of coke-a-cola. I’d swish the coke around my mouth while I worked at the greens. I had never been as aware of the mechanics of eating as I was for those 2 hours. Every clench and release of my jaw was matched by a wave of disgust. I was distraught! And she was laughing! She was laughing!! She found my bitter plight rather enjoyable. She had a great laugh, didn’t she?!?! I reckon you can hear the echo of that laugh in Kate and Trent. I wish I could be there to hear it with you today. An for those who don’t know me, I’m now a vegetarian. There is nothing i like more than mountains and mountains of flavourless veggies, just as she served em to me. You win betty!! You win!!

In the ensuing years, I finished school and trooped off to university…. my parents amicably split up and, much to my infinite shame, I didnt visit my grandparents often enough. I’ll always remember the christmas of my 24th year. Grandma and Pa had no idea that i’d be joining them for lunch. When my sister and I arrived, the surprise on their faces was only matched by the joy at having another treasured grandchild at the table with them. And I felt grownup. I could talk to them as a friend, not as a kid. Pa took me in his arms with such ferocity that we both shed a tear. it was a wonderful day, ill never forget it. It was the last time I saw Pa. The blur of my 20’s passed, and in my 30th year i managed to convince my beautiful wife Anne to marry me. I think Betty was pleased. Much to my horror, she bluntly informed me that Anne must be a fine lover…. because she spoke French. She laughed at my mute reaction.

In one of the greatest moments of my life, as Anne made her way towards me to become my wife, Grandma grabbed my arm in alarm and whispered anxiously in my ear, “ Michael… she has tattoos!!” …. I thanked her for informing me, and told her I was ok with it…. “ Thanks Grandma… Ill marry her anyway” we got married anyway. In the speeches that followed, betty held my hands and my gaze.. she told me that above all I must be Anne’s best friend. I remember those pale blue eyes… I felt she was looking through me, making sure that I understood… what it would mean to spend a life with someone…. I hope she knows that I listened, and I’m trying to make her proud. I wish I could be there with you all to toast her life. Some days, it’s really hard to be away. Today is one of those days. Much love to you all. Im on a plane about to touch down in Montreal. I have a wine in hand and Im raising a glass to my grandma. je vous aime beaucoup!!

Love Michael.


B J Thomas (our cousin) - "Mama"

(click above link)