Mildura Weekly : Friday August 1 Vol 8 No 39
FEATURE 17 FRIDAY, AUGUST 1, 2014 MILDURA WEEKLY.COM.AU community heroes SURGERY Dental Community Heroes. At 86 she has enjoyed a lifetime of community Red Cliffs Settler News. And she’s not done yet. As ALAN ERSKINE reports... good woman down Betty trained as a stenogra- pher at St Joe’s, then got a job at Tractor and Imple- ments, leaving to do book work for four local business- es, while also doing night work at Merbein’s Royal Theatre. She was 22 when she met and married Ken Krake, rais- ing seven children through the years, and now enjoying their company, along with her 18 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren. Ken and Betty took a punt on a 40-acre mixed fruit property and orchard at Curl- waa, but hadn’t been there long when they were all but wiped out by a horrific storm that stripped the place bare. Betty was forced to go back to work, getting a job as merchandise manager at the then just-completed Coles New World supermarket in Mildura, where she spent three years before going ‘back to school’ to successfully complete her High School Certificate. Later, in 1989, four years after Ken passed away, Betty completed her Certificate of Applied Social Science (welfare studies), and a few years later again got her Bachelor of Social Work at La Trobe Uni. That led to a 23-year career with the Social and Community Welfare Services, including the position of tru- ant officer for the Mallee for nine years. She also had an extensive involvement in the fields of child protection, ju- venile justice and intellectual disability services. Betty had only been ‘re- tired’ a matter of months be- fore (reluctantly) taking on the role as editor of the Red Cliffs Settler News, taking a ‘crash’ course in computer studies for a month before going solo. Doing what she does best, listening, learning and interacting with the commu- nity, it wasn’t long before the size of the paper - and circu- lation - increased, with the newsletter doubling in size to its current 16 pages, improv- ing layout, design and con- tent, and including colour, and lots of photographs. Betty credits Sunnyland Printers with a lot of her suc- cess. “They have been amaz- ing through the years,” she said. “They couldn’t be more helpful, and I wouldn’t have been able to achieve half of what I’ve done without their help.” Despite a busy working life, Betty has enjoyed many travel experiences, in- cluding trips to Europe, Eng- land, Ireland and the United States, as well as an extended safari-style camping trip around Australia...but she says that in her 87th year, her travel days are behind her, and she’s more than content now to share life with family and friends, especially host- ing them at her beautifully- kept Irymple home. Her outdoor entertaining area and well looked-after gardens are home every year to 80 people as a garden par- ty and fashion parade fund- raiser for Jacaranda Village in Red Cliffs, held every Octo- ber for the past 10 years, and which has so far raised more than $10,000. And in her ‘spare’ time, Betty has been involved in many organisations as a vol- unteer, including marriage guidance, drug and alcohol rehabilitation service, emer- gency accommodation for the homeless (adult and youth), and Lifeline counsel- ling. She was a foundation member of the Quota Club, served terms as president and District Governor, is on the committee of Red Cliffs Chamber of Commerce and Resource Centre (where she has her Settler office), and when Red Cliffs lost two well-known and loved men in the Port Arthur shootings, she helped set up and run a project in their honour, and which promotes and assists various projects within the community. Betty was also the person responsible for brighten- ing up the town by forming an ‘Illumination Commit- tee,’ aimed at encouraging townsfolk to make a variety of colourful Christmas cut- outs, complete with lights, to brighten up the streets. She also encouraged late night shopping, helped organise a giant Christmas tree, and entertainment, is a key figure on the town’s market com- mittee, and Red Cliffs indoor bowls, along with long ser- vice to the town’s Nexus and Probus clubs. She has had a TAFE award named in her honour, and at the other end of the scale, was the inaugural recipi- ent of the prestigious Pearl Award, named in honour of Pearl Wallace, the only fe- male paddlesteamer skipper on the Murray, an award that was decided from a quality field of nominees as part of the 2008 Mildura-Wentworth Arts Festival to honour wom- en who have given outstand- ing service to the community. Betty Krake’s unselfish and ongoing contribution to the Red Cliffs and Sunraysia community was recognised on Australia Day, 1985, when she was named the shire’s Citizen of the Year, with fur- ther well-deserved honours coming later, firstly the Vic- torian Government senior achiever award in 2006, and in June, 2010, being awarded the Order of Australia Medal for her continuing commu- nity work. Betty Krake is a fitting re- cipient of the inaugural Mil- dura Weekly/Tankard Dental Community Heroes award. 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