Love sparkles after 60 years

IF THERE is a short-cut to happiness, Len and Shirley Shaw of Maryborough found it when they met at a dance more than half a century ago.

Diamond anniversary

Len and Shirley Shaw celebrate their Diamond wedding anniversary.

One dance – the Twilight Waltz – was all it took to set the scene for 60 years of marriage that produced three daughters, 15 grandchildren and by the end of this year, 18 great-grandchildren.

Len and Shirley were married at St Paul’s Church of England (now Anglican Church) in Maryborough on June 16, 1956.

Celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary at B & B On Sunrise in Tinana on June 18, the couple agreed their secret to a long marriage was simply to “be happy”.

“We don’t have any arguments,” Len said. “If it looks like there’s an argument brewing, I go down to the dam and come back an hour later.”

Shirley (nee Birt) said: “I watch The Bold and the Beautiful on TV. He hates that so I watch it and he goes outside.”

Their recipe for compatibility works for them.

“It’s been easy sailing,” Shirley said. “We’ve had ordinary life, nothing special really. We’ve only been on one trip, a Fairstar cruise. Otherwise, we’ve just worked and raised the kids.”

However, the glint in Len’s eyes and Shirley’s cheeky smile suggests their story is anything but ordinary.

“Len had an AJS motorbike that we often rode to Hervey Bay,” Shirley continues.

“In those days you never wore a helmet. We were coming home from Gympie one night and we were just outside Tiaro.

“I’m on the back asleep on his shoulder and we woke to the sound of gravel scratching the bike as we were headed for the bush.

“Luckily we woke up in time. We were both asleep with no helmets on and we survived.”

Len, a typical Aussie larrikin, was sacked from his first job at Reid’s Bacon Factory after an altercation with his boss.

“It end up that he had a rowing team and he wanted another man so I rowed in his crew. There was no animosity,” he said.

Len grew up in Maryborough’s flood area of the Pocket, the son of a blacksmith whose shop was located opposite the Carlton Hotel on the east side of Bazaar Street.

“I used to ride a horse to drive the cows down every morning before school and bring them back past Reid’s Bacon Factory in the afternoon to do the milking.

Diamond Anniversary

Son-in-law Jeffrey Cunningham shares highlights of Len & Shirley’s 60 years together.

“One day the boss’s son pulled me up and asked if I wanted a job. I was only 13 so my old man rang the headmaster to see if I could leave school.”

Len laughs: “The headmaster said ‘For Christ sake, take him the hell out of here!'”

That was the first of many jobs from the bacon factory to sugar and meat factories, driving trucks and owning a bread run. He was even Hervey Bay’s first Mr Whippy!

“I was Mr Whippy when it first came to town,” Len said. “I had the Hervey Bay run and I’d pull up and there’d be kids coming from everywhere.

“I also sold insurance for three months but hated it – if you couldn’t eat it I didn’t want to sell it!”

Len said: “We were never rich with money but we felt rich having such a beautiful family.”

Most of them were among the 50 people who gathered to celebrate Len and Shirley’s special milestone.

Related Images:

Belly flops ‘just not cricket’ in Australia Day fun

FRASER Coast’s lovable mascot Harvey the Whale has been warned against belly flops when he takes on Polly the Parrot, Blazer, Cluedo and other local mascots in an Australia Day race on January 26, 2016.

Hosted by the Rotary Club of Maryborough Sunrise, the Mascot Race is one of many exciting events being held in Maryborough’s Queens Park to celebrate this year’s Australia Day.

“Belly flops are not allowed,” Maryborough Sunrise Rotary president Glenda Pitman said.

“We know Humpback whales can swim in bursts of up to 26kph but the 50-metre race is over the grassy terrain of Queens Park not in the Pacific Ocean.

“Attempting belly flops and gliding over the grass is just not cricket so we’re using a handicap system so Harvey isn’t disadvantaged.”

Other mascots include Robert the Recycler from the Fraser Coast Regional Council, Bendigo Bank Pig and a curlew and dugong from the Burnett Mary Regional Group (BMRG).

Everyone is invited to join the day’s fun which starts with a free community breakfast  followed by traditional games, flag raising, Billy Tea and damper and Dummy Spit competition.

See the Australia Day gallery

All hands on deck for Rotary workshop

Fraser Coast people are being invited to open their hearts and wallets to give landmine victims a new lease on life with donations of prosthetic hands.

Rotary Club of Maryborough Sunrise President Glenda Pitman said that each month, about 20,000 people including children were injured in landmine accidents.

“In more than 60 countries across the world, there are more than 300,000 live landmines still in the ground,” Mrs Pitman said.

“A wonderful program has been established in Rotary District 9570 to allow Australians to come together to learn a little of the challenges faced by people with arm limb injuries while building a simple mechanical prosthetic hand to donate to a victim.

“Twice a year, volunteers (paying their own costs) travel to the sub-continent to work with local Rotary Clubs and other local groups to fit hands to identified recipients.  Three trips are planned for 2016 – to Sri Lanka, Cambodia and Laos.

“Generally, a simple prosthetic limb on the sub-continent costs more than AUD $3000.

“Here in Australia, a complex digitized prosthetic can cost over $70,000.

“The Helping Hands Program provides opportunities for groups of two or three people to come together to build a hand for donation for the low cost of $400 per hand.

“But, there is a catch.  So that participants can gain an appreciation of how difficult life without a limb can be, teams work with a covering on their dominant hand and sit side by side.

“Participants also decorate the case that the hand is delivered in and have their photo and a message included.  When hands are distributed, the recipient’s photo is taken and sent to the hand makers.

“Can you donate $400 to $4000 and a few hours of your time to change the life of a landmine victim?

“Hand kits are must be pre-purchased in lots of 10.  The more sponsors we can find, the more hands we can deliver.  The Rotary Clubs in Maryborough will arrange for a minimum of two kits to be available for purchase.

“This is a wonderful team building exercise and all donations are acknowledged. ”

Please contact Maria on (ah) 4121 6421 or or Robyn on (ah) 4121 5001 if you would like further information or to reserve hands.

See Jocelyn’s Helping Hands photo gallery

*A Rotary Facebook link to the SEVEN LOCAL NEWS report reached 6289 people, with 1.8k views and 50 shares.