BILL and Roslyn Mitchell reached 50 years of marriage last weekend, a milestone they attribute to the respect and consideration they have always shown each other.
The couple have four children Emma, Ken, Jeanne and Heather who all travelled to be with their parents to celebrate their half century.
“It was just lovely. Everyone gets on really well so it was a very happy occasion,” Ros said.
Ros and Bill’s history goes back further than 50 years. They were both from dairy farming families in Currumbin in Queensland and grew up on close by farms.
Bill became a seafarer or marine engineer based in Sydney and worked throughout the world.
While he was on leave back in his home town, he wandered into the hotel in Currumbin and ran into Ros’s father who told him his daughter was in Sydney too.
“It started from there,” Bill said.
The pair met up in Sydney where Ros was working as a nurse at Crown Street Hospital.
Ros and Bill’s happy day was February 2, 1963.
The couple describe their wedding day as a typical February Queensland day; swelteringly hot.
They wed at the Anglican Church in Coolangatta in the presence of friends and family before honeymooning in Maroochydore.
It was so hot, the MC at the reception sought permission from the bride for the men to remove their coats while the women toughed the day out in their hats and stockings.
Not only did the day celebrate Bill and Ros’s love, but was a great chance for the two dairying families to meet up and socialise.
“The wedding breakfast was held at 11am so the two families could get back to milking,” Ros said.
Ros was married in an elegant long, straight satin dress with a train which she dug out to show her grandchildren when they visited over the anniversary weekend.
The next 30 years were spent in Sydney where they reared their children.
In these years Bill continued his work as a marine engineer which saw him out at sea up to three months at a time travelling the waters around Australia and the UK.
In Bill’s seafaring days the married couple would communicate through letters, many of which Ros has kept.
She said mail was delivered twice a day and she would often be waiting eagerly for a delivery.
“It was a way of life,” Bill reflected on his career.
“By the third child it was time for him to come home and get a job on the land,” Ros said.
Bill then became a TAFE teacher for marine engineering in Sydney.
When Bill retired, they purchased acreage in Willina near Coolongolook before settling in Wingham.
For the past two years they have enjoyed their time in Wingham and said a highlight has been the friendliness of people in town.
The couple put their successful partnership down to the respect and consideration they have given each other throughout their relationship.
As advice for newly married couples, Bill said marriage is a two way exchange.
“You both have to contribute to its success,” he said.
“You have your ups and downs, there will be times to stress, but you have to get over that.”
Bill and Ros have six grandchildren and say they now look forward to witnessing their achievements.
“We’ll be watching on with interest,” Ros said.
Ros has her heart set on reaching their 60th wedding anniversary and receiving a letter from the Queen.
“The way time is flying I’m sure it won’t be long,” she said.