- 14 May 1908
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
- 13 September 2000
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
- Nurse, Nursing administrator and Author
Betty Jeffrey was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia on 8 June 1987 for service to the welfare of nurses in Victoria and ex-service men and women. Jeffrey was one of the members of the Australian Army Nursing Service who was captured by the Japanese after the fall of Singapore in 1942. Incarcerated in Japanese prisoner of war camps for three and a half years, after the war she wrote about the experiences in White Coolies (1954) which was later the basis for the film script Paradise Road (1999). After her return to Melbourne, and spending some time in hospital, Jeffrey and fellow survivor Vivian Bullwinkel travelled throughout Victoria raising funds towards a memorial for military nurses. The Nurses Memorial Centre was opened on 19 February 1950 and Jeffrey was appointed its first administrator. In 1986 she became the Centre's patron.