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.

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Surprise, Honey! We’re getting hitched, today, beside your dad’s grave!

Steve and Lyn McIntosh. Photo by Jocelyn Watts

Steve and Lyn McIntosh. Photo by Jocelyn Watts

STEVEN McIntosh didn’t just pop the question. He was so confident of a positive response that he arranged the marriage celebrant and invited the guests first, then surprised his partner with a commitment ceremony beside her father’s grave.

Lynne Prowd of Maryborough hates surprises, so for her long-time partner to choose a graveyard in which to promise a lifetime of love in the presence of family and friends, and without her having the opportunity to dress for the occasion, was a brave, brave move.

However this was one surprise that, after first expressing a few profanities, Lynne said she would treasure for the rest of her life, for all the right reasons.

The gesture was so typical of the man she loves – Aussie larrikin on the outside and wonderfully sentimental on the inside.

Steve said it was love at first sight when they met 11 years ago.

“Having  both been married previously with unhappy endings, we had lost the taste for wedding cake and all the fanfare that goes with it. Not to mention the enormous costs involved.

“We have always planned to have some form of ceremony to substantiate our relationship, with the view that it would be simple and discreet. It would be very personal, with no legalities, vows or holy matrimony – easy, just like our relationship.

“During the Christmas period just passed, we were in country Victoria to share the festivities with family and friends.
“In secret, with the help of Lynne’s mother Judy and our daughter Kylana Ruby, I planned to have the ceremony next to Lynne’s father’s resting place.

Steve explained that soon after meeting Lynne he told her father, Fred Prowd, he would someday ask for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
“Sadly, Fred Prowd passed away suddenly a few years ago. He was, and always will be, extremely close to us all,” Steve said.

So it was fitting their commitment ceremony was held at a place where Fred was sure to be nearby.

“The tricky thing was to arrange for our closest friends to be there.  My friend Anthony and his wife Kylie from Melbourne, as well as Lynne’s friend Silvana and her husband Shane from Cairns made a huge effort to meet us at the small Lang Lang cemetery in South East Gippsland.

“When I asked them, they both said they wouldn’t have missed being there as our unofficial Best Man and Matron of Honour for anything so I hastily met with and organised a civil celebrant to perform the commitment ceremony. Amazingly, it all came together perfectly.

“The most remarkable thing about this wonderful event was that it was all arranged in two days and we kept it secret from Lynne for the next two weeks while we holidayed in Tasmania. The day after we returned the weather was stunning. At 9am on December 22, Lynne, Judy, Kylana and I went to the cemetery to pay our respects to Fred.

“At 9.15am, Lynne was totally astounded and extremely delighted when she glanced around to see our friends with the celebrant Elizabeth, walking up the main path through the tiny cemetery toward us. Tears flowed freely.

“It was truly magnificent. Under a stunning blue sky, we exchanged single red roses and smiled adoringly into each other’s eyes throughout the entire ceremony. Lynne’s sweet tears of joy when we kissed will linger on my tongue forever.

“We all celebrated in the car park afterwards with charged glasses of cold champagne and plenty of chocolate dipped strawberries. Superb.”

Timing is everything for your wedding!

By Jocelyn Watts

With so many superb ceremony, photography and reception sites offering on the Fraser Coast, choosing the best for your wedding can be difficult.

Among the myriad things to consider, you will also need to think about timing. You might want a traditional church wedding in Maryborough and have a favourite restaurant in Hervey Bay but when it comes to timing, the travel distance between the two cities will impact on your overall plan for the day. And getting from one venue to the next during wet weather is not only uncomfortable, it’s hazardous.



Barbeler wedding

If time is short, the places where you and your family dress, the ceremony site, choice of photography locations and reception venue should all be short distances apart.

Without much traffic to worry about, you’re more likely to get to ceremony on time and you’ll have more time between that site and the reception venue for photography. Plus, the day will run more smoothly for family and guests if they can walk from their motel rooms to the ceremony and reception, and enjoy a few drinks, without worrying about their cars.

In terms of convenience, my top choice for Fraser Coast weddings is Susan River Homestead, located halfway between Maryborough and Hervey Bay.

The adventure resort has a number of stunning outdoor spots ideal for wedding ceremonies and photography but if Mother Nature delivers rain on the day, the bride can be driven directly to an undercover car park and arrive totally dry.

The ceremony can also be held undercover just outside the restaurant and photos taken inside. Not only that, with motel rooms onsite, the groom, his attendants, family and guests can all dress and simply walk about 100 metres undercover and arrive dry at your wedding.

Popular close-by combinations on the Fraser Coast include:

Fraser Coast
Susan River HomesteadSusan RiverSusan RiverSusan River
St Paul’s Anglican ChurchTown Hall GreensCarrier’s Arms HotelCarrier’s Arms Hotel
St Mary’s Catholic ChurchQueen’s ParkBrolga Theatre/GustoKimba Lodge
Mary River ParklandsWharf StreetBrolga Theatre/GustoMcNevins Motel
Queen’s ParkQueen’s ParkBrolga Theatre/GustoMcNevins Motel
Hervey Bay
Pier Park, UranganUrangan PierPavilion by the PierAkama Resort
Dayman Point, UranganUrangan PierWaterfront RestaurantMantra Hervey Bay
Quota Park, UranganUrangan PierBayswater HotelPeppers Pier Resort
ESA Park, Pt VernonBeachGatakers Landing Rest.White Crest Apartments
Fraser Island
Kingfisher Bay ResortSunset BeachSeabelle RestaurantKingfisher Bay Resort

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