Elizabeth Anne (Betty) Cairney, nee Dingwall, was an avid traveller whose keen interest in ethnography inspired a love of textiles collected from around the world. Betty was born on December 7, 1928 in Oak Bay to George and Anne Dingwall, nee McFarlane, both from Scotland. Betty married John Cairney (Jack), an officer in the Royal Canadian Navy, in 1949 and spent many years frequently moving with her family between Victoria and navy bases in the Maritimes, with a few years in Norfolk, Virginia. During her early married years Betty served as President of the Shearwater Officers Wives Club, and as Vice President of the Halifax YMCA. Her travels to China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Thailand and Viet Nam launched her study and collection of textiles. While living in Jakarta she was a member of the Indonesian Heritage Society and a volunteer worker in the Indonesian National Museum cataloguing textiles and other artifacts. She travelled extensively to many of the islands of Indonesia, absorbing the culture and the people. After 10 years in Indonesia, Betty moved to Key West, was a member of the Key West Maritime Heritage Society and later moved to Palm Coast, Florida. Betty and Jack later retired to Cordova Bay, in Victoria.