Betty Foster

Listen to an interview with Betty Foster (a flight attendant in the 1950's and 60's) and Geoffrey Thomas (aviation editor for The West Australian newspaper) as they discuss how Betty's colour photographs introduced National Geographic to remote WA and how she paved the way for aerial photographers today.

This interview was done after a post on the State Library of WA's Facebook page sparked interest in the air hostess and her magnificent photos, many of which can be found in the State Library's collection. 

Most of Betty's photographs were taken with an East German Werra camera loaded with Kodachrome film. The aerial photographs were captured from the back seat of a Douglas DC-3.

Betty's photographs prompted the National Geographic magazine to visit Western Australia for the first time in 1963 after she crossed paths with Alan Villiers, the captain of the Mayflower II. He sent a handful of her slides to National Geographic and the next day they asked for 200 more.

Some of her images were even included in the September issue of the magazine that year.

Recorded live on ABC Radio Perth on 21st January 2022.

You can read two fantastic stories on Facebook about Betty Foster, Melting Mascara, Shorts And Thongs and Take To The Skies With Betty Foster.

This page last updated on 8 February 2022