Spotlight On:
Elizabeth Jane FREE (nee Shackleton)


What is a Spotlight On: “With this page I hope to be able to encourage family members and friends to submit comments, stories and pictures to help shape an outline of a person’s life. If you would like to contribute to the information after reading over the brief below, please email, post comments or submit a worksheet or photo for inclusion. All information no matter how small will help build a personal biography that will be included in the family tree to give more history of this person.”


Elizabeth Jane FREE (nee Shackleton)
9 March 1924 – 17 July 1998


Born in Byford, Western Australia, Australia in 1924, the fifth child of six to Thomas and Mary Shackleton (nee Pickup).

Wanting info on her childhood, school life, early working life.

She married Lewis Hinsley,son of Robert Hinsley and Miriam Edmunds, in Jarrahdale, Western Australia, Australia. This relationship ended in divorce.

Before her divorce from Lewis, Betty met and started dating Giovanni Vincent Placanica.

Wanting information on this relationship, how they met, why it ended.

When she was 25, she married Arthur Donald “Mick” Free on 29 December 1949 in Mundijong, Western Australia, Australia. Son of Alfred and Eunice Free (nee Schmitt)

Wanting information on how they met, where etc., places they lived, hobbies, likes and dislikes, photos and video footage.

Betty as a mother:

Wanting to add stories from her children.

Betty as a grandmother:

Wanting to add stories from her grandchildren.

She died on 17 July 1998 in Shoalwater, Western Australia, Australia. She was cremated on 23 July 1998 in Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia and is buried at the Karrakatta Cemetery,


Please check back on this page as it will keep changing as further information is added.


Picture 2 of 6

William Edmund SHACKLETON
Elizabeth Jane “Betty” SHACKLETON

More Information:

I’d like to get the ball rolling by telling a little story of Bencubbin, Western Australia, Australia

Not sure how old I was, but my little sister and I stayed at Nanna & Pop Free’s in Bencubbin. My sister was big enough to walk with me to the playground between the pub and the store that my grandparents’ house was directly behind, so I would say I was about 6 or 7 years old. Late 1970’s.

Mornings would start very early with the sounds and smells of the fire burning in the old wood stove. Nanna & Pop would be up and the old weatherboard house was alive with noise. Porridge with warm milk and toast done over the flame in a steel clamp toaster..

Toast Maker

At this point in life, she and Pop were very fond of the drink and so looking after the grandchildren obviously posed a bit of a problem. Nanna was never afraid of a challenge so in true genius style she would allow my sister and I to play in the chook pen… after she latched the door behind us.

The chicken coop was bout a 3m x 5m fully enclosed cage, which was great fun for us kids. I had Nanna’s old solid steel iron to make the roads for the many dinky cars that I had to play with.  My sister spent her time talking to the chooks, waiting for the next egg. Nanna all the time sat on her chair outside the chicken coop with her bottle of Kalgoorlie Stout giving us encouragement and making us feel like this was the most normal thing in the world. Many fun hours were spent locked in with the chooks.

Old IronKalgorlie Stout

Then, when the time come to have dinner, she would give us instructions to go and collect Pop from the pub and we could play on the swings until he came out.

Pop would be in the front bar of the hotel and he would put us up on a stool and get us a coke. After that he would send us to the park to wait for him. Soon after Nanna would stomp through the park, collecting us up as she went…. Into the pub to give Pop his marching orders and the whole rowdy group would walk back home through he park, for dinner.

Pop would end the day by telling us kids that if we “didn’t go to bed he would have to let old Foxy out”. Foxy was an old foxes tail that Pop would bring alive in the most scary of ways… Foxy could and would chase you all the way to your room and only Pop’s amazing ability to stop Foxy at the last second saved us kids for a horrible death.

We would climb into the middle of an old steel frame bed that would sink down half way to the floor, cradling you like you were back in the womb and you would drift off to sleep looking forward to doing it all again the next day, even hoping for a glimpse of Foxy.


[mapsmarker marker=”1″]


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

6 thoughts on “Spotlight On:
Elizabeth Jane FREE (nee Shackleton)”

  1. I looked at photo #4 and thought that I was looking at a photo of me with Betty. The photo looks like it was taken at our house in Byford. I remember uncle Mick and Betty coming there. They used walk up the back lane.

    • Thanks Shirley, would you have any other pictures of Mick and Betty?
      If you have a story that comes to mind about them could you put it in an email or post it here as I would love to include a little more about them in the tree.

  2. Picture 4
    Lynette Free (holding rabbits)
    Dorothy Free (holding kittens)
    Billie Free (in middle back)
    Kevin? Free (in front)
    dont think it was at Byford,
    one of the railway houses supplied?, not sure where?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *