REAL AUSTRALIA

Love, laughter and respect - over the decades

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Keith and Joan Johnson are still very much in love after 70 years.

Keith and Joan Johnson are still very much in love after 70 years.

As community-based journalists, we are often invited along to record major milestones in peoples' lives.

These are anniversaries, birthdays or sporting award presentations that might not be important to a broader national audience, nonetheless, these stories are often incredibly relatable to people right across the nation.

In my first job with the South Coast Register at Nowra on the NSW south coast, I was the one with the camera setting off to various events on the weekends to capture these special moments.

Many times you are also invited to sit down, have a bite to eat and enjoy a chat.

Wedding anniversaries were always a favourite and one question you always felt compelled to ask was: "what was the secret to a long and happy marriage?"

The answers varied - some were hilarious, however, mostly they were very simple.

They said having a good laugh and mutual respect for one another was the key to a long and happy marriage.

The couple - who have three children, seven grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and six great great grandchildren - met at a Brisbane dance in 1948.

Scott and Nellie Reid wed on September 19, 1970 at Camp Hill Presbyterian Church.

Scott and Nellie Reid wed on September 19, 1970 at Camp Hill Presbyterian Church.

The pair met through mutual friends in the 60s and share three children and four grandchildren, with another due early next year.

Daughter Linda Scheffler said her mother spent lots of time in the kitchen and her father enjoyed woodworking.

"It drives mum insane," she said. "He is always whittling away at something on the front verandah.

"Mum is always in the garden or she's cooking. Being Italian, she is always cooking."

The wedding party: Ron and Margaret Sharpe, bridesmaid Pat O'Dwyer (nee Gerrey) and best man Ray Henry.

The wedding party: Ron and Margaret Sharpe, bridesmaid Pat O'Dwyer (nee Gerrey) and best man Ray Henry.

On the NSW south coast, Margaret and Ron Sharpe recently marked their 60th wedding anniversary with only a small gathering of people due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The couple reminisced with guests about their special day, including how the 19-year-old Margaret designed her own wedding dress, which was made by her cousin Patty, a Sydney dressmaker.

They walked down the aisle to the strains of Schubert's Ave Maria, sung by soprano Vonnie Muller, while Margaret's uncle Clem played the organ, and later the piano, at the reception.

While in Nambucca on the NSW mid north coast, Barry and Elizabeth Stride recently celebrated half a decade together.

Back in 1970, the wedding party arrived in two golden-roofed white Holdens, although it was Stride senior's yellow V8 Monaro that escorted the newlyweds on their honeymoon.

Barry described Beth as a real catch, with "a winning smile and legs for days".

While Beth admired Barry as he cruised around town in his MG.

Their son Trevor said, "their marriage has withstood the test of time because of a solid foundation of genuine love and respect for one another".

Don McKenzie, 96, and his wife Nancy, 92, have been married 70 years.

Don McKenzie, 96, and his wife Nancy, 92, have been married 70 years.

In Victoria, Don and Nancy McKenzie have celebrated 70 years of marriage. They were more than happy to share their secrets to a long and successful partnership.

"You can learn a lot by listening," said Don, who first met his future wife in the 1930s, when they were students at Prospect Estate School.

The couple married in Sale Presbyterian Church on September 2, 1950, and moved to Landsdowne Street, Sale, where they built the home they still live in today.

Don said while he "wonders where all the years have gone", he says it has been a lovely life.

With weddings scant on the social calendar this year, their stories are a reminder that love is still well and truly alive.

And while these local stories may not appear on the national news cycle, they are still the stories that matter to the communities we serve.

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