Historical information

This item was donated to Wodonga Historical Society by the artist, Betty L. Barberis. Betty Barberis nee Barton was one of 12 children born to Roderick Barton and Myrtle Ann Hore of Gundowring in the Kiewa Valley. She was born in 1927 and attended Upper Gundowring Primary School. Betty was encouraged to enter a project for the "Young Farmers" by illustrating a book. She won first prize for Victoria and the book was exhibited at the Royal Melbourne Show. This resulted in Betty attaining a Manual Art Teacher's Studentship which she completed at Wangaratta Technical School. Here she learned many new skills ranging from garment design to ceramics. She also attended Melbourne Teachers College. Betty created many decorative banners, the first being for the Australian section of the World Scout Jamboree in 1948. Over her long career she was to create many other banners and commissioned work for significant organisations and institutions
Betty’s great body of work included landscapes, millinery, ceramics, and a bronze sculpture of her husband Vern Barberis who was a fellow schoolteacher and represented Australia as a weightlifter, winning a bronze medal at the Helsinki Olympics in 1952. She also illustrated several books and had exhibitions in many galleries including in Albury.
Betty passed away at The Grange, Wodonga on 26 November 2013.

The 1981 Rotary International Pacific Region Conference was held in the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne, between 26 and 29 November 1981. More than 5,000 Rotarians from around the Pacific attended the conference in Melbourne to discuss 'The Future of the Pacific Region'. Speakers included the Honourable Malcolm Fraser, Rotary International President Stan McCaffrey, President Elect Horoji Mukasa, Ranald McDonald, representing the media, Sir Ian McLennan, representing industry, Japanese former Ambassador Nobuhiko Ushiba and Philippines Deputy Consul General Mrs Minerva Falcon, both representing diplomatic services, as well as other Rotarians. A limited number of plaques were produced from quality imported porcelain.


This item represents a major event held in Melbourne for Rotary International and is also the work of a prominent artist from the Wodonga district.

Physical description

2 ceramic plaques designed by Betty Barberis for the emblem of the 198T Rotary International Pacific Region Conference held in Melbourne in 1981. The plaque bears the Rotary emblem, slogan and other text as well as an image of a kangaroo and lyre bird.

Inscriptions & markings

In top banner: "SERVICE - ABOVE - SELF"
In central circle: "ROTARY INTERNATIONAL" around 1981