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

Steven McIntosh didn’t just pop the question. He was so confident of a positive response that he surprised his long-time partner with an all-arranged graveside ceremony to promise a lifetime of love.

Lynne Prowd hates surprises, so for her long-time partner to choose her father’s grave for the ceremony and invite family and friends, 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.

Love at first sight, 11 years before the graveside ceremony

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, that 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 where Fred was sure to be nearby.

“The tricky thing was to arrange for our closest friends to be there for the graveside ceremony.

“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 Southeast 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 graveside 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 9 am on December 22, Lynne, Judy, Kylana and I went to the cemetery to pay our respects to Fred.

“At 9.15 am, 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.”

 

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Backyard birds: Noisy Miners

One of the joys of living on the Fraser Coast is being able to work in and around the garden pretty well 12 months of the year and be able to study and enjoy the multitude of wildlife and birds on offer, such as the Noisy Miners.

The simple selection and placement of trees and shrubs will open your garden to the splendours of nature with the most prolific being birds.

One bird species that are frequent in this area are the Miner birds (not to be confused with the Myna bird).

Of the four varieties of Miner Birds, the most common to us is the Noisy Miner also known as the Micky or Soldierbird.

Noisy Miners are one of the most animated and aggressive species to visit the garden.

They are especially noisy when a predator such as a goanna, crow or the household cat wanders into the garden and will fly around the intruder calling loudly and snapping its beak at it, which is possibly why it is also known as the Soldierbird’

Noisy Miners have adapted well to suburbia and our leafy gardens and green lawns.  They’re easily identifiable with their incessant chatter call of “pwee pwee pwee’”  or the chuckling “weedidit weedidit weedidit”.

Noisy Miners feed mainly on insects

Feeding mainly on insects in the upper tree covering they do enjoy fruit and nectar and will feed on a bird feeder placed near a tree.

While they’ll have a go at most fruits they are very partial to PawPaw.  Trees such as Banksia’s and Grevilleas are  a great way of providing shelter and nectar for our Miner friends,

These little blokes are real entertainers when it comes to bath time, taking in turns to dive-bomb into the birdbath or even the family pool and then retreating to a nearby fence or tree branch whilst they preen and clean their feathers.

A close relative of the Noisy Miner is the Yellow-throated Miner. Almost identical to the Noisy except for a yellowish patch on the fore-neck and a more pronounced white rump. It is not unheard of on the Fraser Coast but lives predominantly in drier areas to the west of the Great Dividing Range.  A keen eye is needed if you are to spot the difference.

Miner birds have been wrongly linked with the introduced Myna bird which is of the Starling family and considered a pest in many areas.

The Myna bird was introduced into Australia from south-east Asia in the 1860s and can be found in many parts of the country.  They are a similar size to our native Miners but black to dark brown in colour with larger yellow feet and have a bandy walk.

Backyard Birds

This is the Noisy Miners’ cousin, a Yellow-throated Miner, which is more commonly seen in Western Queensland where this fellow was photographed by Jocelyn in Charleville.

Noisy Miners

Don Watts of Maryborough attracts Noisy Miners to his garden with pieces of fruit in a bowl. Photos by Jocelyn.