Andy Guiseppe Betti (Joe) 1945 - Wendy Louise (Born Bode)
Andy Guiseppe Betti was born to Giuseppe and Emma Betti in the Nannup Hospital on the 27th April 1945. Andy has always been fondly known as Joe. Joe was the eldest of four children, Mary, Peter and Evelyn. Joe lived with his parents in the bush town called Willow Springs where his father worked in the local timber mill. They later moved to Nannup and his father continued to work in the timber industry in the Nannup timber mill.
When Joe was around four, the family moved to Northcliffe. His father worked in the bush cutting down logs, working in the mill and they lived in one of the worker mill homes. His father also helped new immigrants arriving out from Italy, helping with their English and general guidance to living in Australia. While living in Northcliffe his mother Emma worked at the boarding house, an eating house for single workers at the timber mill.
As a child, Joe’s best friend and neighbour was Kevin Patterson. Friends since birth, they went to school together and have remained close friends ever since. Joe used to play footy in the back yard, tennis, a bit of cricket, ride bikes and just hang about with Kevin and the Johnson boys (Billy Johnson in particular) who lived next door. Joe was also an alter boy at the St Joseph’s Catholic Church in Northcliffe.
Joe did all his schooling at the local Northcliffe Junior High School until he was 14. Every day he would walk the return trek of two miles to school rain, hail or shine because Emma didn’t drive and Guiseppe had already left for the Mill. Joe enjoyed school, his favourite subject being maths because he had good number sense and quick mental math ability. According to Joe, he and Kevin used to get up to a bit of mischief but they were never caught!
On weekends and special occasions the family would walk to the pictures and they all used to look forward to those days. As a family, they spent time together at the “Worker’s Club” where Guiseppe used to play Briscola with the other men, Emma would chat with the women and the children would play. They also went to dances at the Shire Hall until late where Joe would play and then fall asleep under the chairs.
Joe didn’t want to go on to Manjimup for senior schooling – it just didn’t interest him. So he left school at 14 and was fortunate to get a job at the Northcliffe Timber Mill where his father worked. Joe worked there for about three years doing labouring work until they asked if he was interested in becoming a crane driver. He jumped at the opportunity and was soon driving the cranes. Joe was paid around 4 pounds a week and Emma charged one pound a week board. Joe still remembers his first watch bought with his first savings for 17 pounds.
Not long after he started work his father had a stroke, he was only 56. After that, his mother Emma found it exceedingly difficult to cope with the family and a decision was made that they all move to Donnybrook making is easier for her to be near her siblings. In January 1965 the family moved to Donnybrook. They had a house on the South West Highway and Emma was much happier being closer to her siblings. Joe was 19 years old and he got a job at the Preston Timber Company Timber Mill in Irishtown Road, Donnybrook. Funnily enough, Raymond Bode was the Site Manager there who would later become Joe’s Father-in-law.
It didn’t take long before word got around that the “Betti Boys” were in town! Joe’s brother Peter was well known in town too – he was very talented at football and quite charismatic with the girls. Joe’s first friend in Donnybrook was Terry Kirkpatrick who he started playing football with. When Joe turned 20, conscription became compulsory so he registered for National Services. In September of 1965, he received a letter from the government saying his number had come up and he had to serve two years in the Australian Army. Joe didn’t really want to go into the army because Guiseppe wasn’t able to work and his two sisters, Mary and Evelyn had left home so Emma would have no-one at home to help her. Within 24 hours of leaving Perth Joe had his hair cut – army,shaved short, full dental check, medical check, injections, bag of army greens and a rifle. It was the rifle that probably made it real to Joe and scared him the most. Boots had to be spit polished every day. It was all a bit of a shock. He did three months basic training in Puckapunyal Victoria followed by three months in Sydney at the School of Military Engineering. This entailed booby traps, explosives, bridge building, construction, water rafting, knots and lashes and use of a rifle etc.
After three months in Sydney, Joe was posted to Malaysia for seven months with the Royal Australian Engineers. While he was there it was classed as a ‘war zone’. He was given full military packs and had to carry them everywhere, day and night. It was classed as an ‘active war zone’ but he was fortunate at the time there was no active fighting. On returning to Australia from Malaysia he spent the rest of his time at the Karrakatta Army Barracks until he was discharged in September 1967.
When Joe returned home to Donnybrook he had saved a bit of money and bought his first car – a Ford Cortina, cream in colour, red seats which were armour oiled weekly, and had a foxtail swinging off the
aerial. Life was good, the girls liked it and not long after he met his wife Wendy Bode. In 1969 he applied for a War Service Loan and was granted $8000 to go towards a new home which he built prior to being
married. Joe and Wendy were married in November 1970 and their new home was completed a month later. On Christmas Eve that year they moved into their brand new home with only the bare necessities.
In January 1971 Joe started word with his cousin Lui Tuia and continued working with Lui for 17 years. From there he worked as a plant operator and Grader Driver with the local government.
Joe is a well known and well respected member of the community. His community spirit and altruistic nature is innate and in his younger years Joe served on the committee for football, tennis and young farmers. He was a member of the Donnybrook Apex Club for 12 years contributing active service for the community. He was the President and Treasurer of Apex for many years and was recognised for his service and leadership to attend a world Apex Convention in Singapore. On retiring from Apex at 40 years of age (members needed to retire at 40 back then) he was made a Life Member in recognition for his tireless work with the club.
Joe has also been an active member and contributor to the Donnybrook RSL and Legacy and only recently retired as being the local representative for Legacy WA in 2020. Additionally, Joe has been the President of Donnybrook Men’s Bowls for 8 years during that time he was the driver of the steering committee to have the new synthetic greens installed (Joe still enjoys playing today). Furthermore, Joe has spent many years in aged care as a volunteer beginning in 1974 and retiring formally in 2017 when the responsibility of Tuia Lodge Aged Care facility was given to the local shire.
Joe and Wendy sold their first home in 2004 and built again in Meldene Estate in Donnybrook in 2005 where they still live today. Joe retired from full time work at the age of 64. Joe and Wendy have two
daughters, Michelle and Joanne and blessed with five grandchildren.
What do you think is the key to a good life is Joe? Look after yourself,your health – mind and body. Accept life as it comes to you and work through your problems..
- Michelle Louise 1972
- Joanne Mary 1974