Aunt Betty's Typewriter

This typewriter was owned by my Aunt, Bertha Harriet Browne (Betty), who may have purchased it around 1928, when she was 16 and held her first job. Betty kept this typewriter her whole life, even though she bought others later down the track.  We believe this style of typewriter was first manufactured in 1921.

Like many women of that time -correspondence, shorthand and typing were Aunt Betty's entry ticket into every good thing that followed in her working  life.   

After leaving school as equal dux, she was recommended to Fletcher Jones who employed her as secretary to the Director and 1st Accountant, so we believe it is highly likely that Fletcher Jones would have bought this typewriter for her, and taken payments out of her wage. She worked in that job for 19 years until she was married, which was quite often what women did back then, when there were many less women in the workforce. 

Fletcher Jones was a very prominent figure in Warrnambool and a wonderful man. He cared for his workers, our family knew him quite well, mainly through Aunty Betty. I still recall him offering me lifts and other kindnesses long after he was very successful. 

Before he started his first Warrnambool store in 1928, (Sir) Fletcher Jones used to go around town selling his wares in a horse and cart, a hawker, they were known as back then. His department stores became very successful in the 1950s and it was an Australian company that employed hundreds of people in the Warrnambool factory and stores. 

Betty just loved typing, and she was very fast at it. Back then you had to be fast in order to get a job as a typist!

She wrote letters every day and continued in a career as a secretary her whole life. She loved anything to do with people and one of her other positions was as Secretary, Treasurer, Missionary and School teacher at Framlingham Aboriginal Community in the 1950s, which is about 20km outside of Warrnambool township.

Betty's philosophy was "life is meant to be lived".

This story was shared by Wilma Williams and first appeared on ABC Open

Betty Rust. Photo: shared by Wilma Williams
Note from Fletcher Jones to Betty Rust.  Shared by her niece Wilma Williams
Early Fletcher Jones Staff Photo with Betty Rust sitting to the left of Fletcher Jones second row and fifth from the left. Shared by Wilma Williams

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