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Covering The Banana Shire
Central West Queensland

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8 March, 2021

Dotting couple celebrate 62nd Valentine’s Day

Grace and Bill have been together for over a half-century; the story of their marriage is one of warmth and affection.

By Michael R Williams

Grace and Bill still show tenderness toward each other even after 59 years of marriage.

Grace and Bill have been together for over a half-century; the story of their marriage is one of warmth and affection.  

“I WENT up there [Longreach] with a friend who wanted to go up there,” said Grace.  

“I was in charge of the outpatient’s wing of a hospital in Brisbane." 

The couple, now living at the Wahroonga Retirement and Aged Care Facility, have been married 59 years and said they love each other just as much as the day they met.  

“Then she came out to Longreach for a break,” said Bill, “and I tell her she heard about me and came out looking for me.”  

“I didn’t, I actually didn’t,” she said.  

Grace had a fall about three years ago and broke her left arm.  

She has a scar just under her shoulder and Bill took care of her during her recovery.  
They have a few greenhouses outside the back door.  

It is reminiscent of a plant nursery they once owned next to where Foodworks is now on Dawson Highway.  

The whole family used to work there together.   

“The first night Grace was in Longreach, she walked into the hamburger place — where I was there with me friends and that,” said Bill. 

“I knew the girls she was with, but I took one look at Grace, I said to the boys, that’s for me”. 

“We went to a dance one night and it all started from there.” 

Bill was working at Longreach Motors and Grace became a nurse at the Longreach Hospital. Bill proposed six weeks later, and they officially married two and half years after that.   

They bought an old house off Bill’s dad. 

“It needed a lot of work, but we built it up,” he said. 

“Then we stayed for a while and then we left,” Grace added.  

After a few years, the couple shifted to Brisbane. 

Cindy was an only child at that stage.  

“She was the only Grandchild of Grace’s father who at the time was unwell,” Bill said.  

“So, I rang him up and asked him if he’d like us to come down for 12 months.  

“After 18 months or so we were considering coming home [Longreach], and he died so that was how we ended up in Brisbane.” 

They stayed in Brisbane for another 10 years.  

Bill owned a cleaning business and Grace continued her work as a nurse. 

He said to keep his business going, Bill had to work 17 hours a day and 6 hours on Sunday.  

Grace said the kids didn’t know him until they moved to Biloela because of his workload.   

“It was 1974,” Cindy added.  

Cindy was in grade six when they moved, and by then, she had become the eldest of three girls.  

“There’s my sister Jane who is four years younger, and then my sister Kathy who is three years younger than that,” she said. 

They were a jovial household.  

Bill said it was the strength of his marriage that maintained the disposition of the household.  

“We’ve never had a row in 60 odd years. 

“We might have had a couple of disagreements, but never anything you’d call a row. 

“Have we dear?” 
“Yes, darling,” Grace said as she blowed a kiss at Bill.  

They said their relationship works because they both have very loving personalities.  

Cindy believed they were dotting parents and they taught her the importance of love and affection.  
“They were the best parents anyone could ask for,” she said. 

Cindy grew up both in Brisbane and Central Queensland. 

She said she wouldn’t want to grow up in the city after experiencing the country.  

“It’s more friendly,” she said. 

“I was a Longreach boy and when I experienced the city life, I hated it,” said Bill.   

During the ’70s drug started to seep into the culture of Brisbane, Grace and Bill were worried that would affect the children’s upbringing.  

“I said I’m not going to raise my daughters when there are drugs in the city.” 

“In a relationship, you have to be best friends,” said Cindy, “and that’s mum and dad.” 

Bill added that when the boys would ask him out for a drink, he’d tell them he’d rather stay home and have a drink with Grace.  

“We’ve more or less always idolised one another,” he said.  

“We’ve had a very good life; I wouldn’t wish to have spent it with anyone else.” 

In the 90s, the couple opened a cut-price grocery story, however, it was soon lost to an undisclosed event. 

Bill said they lost everything.  

He believes what happened to them would have caused 90 percent of marriages today to end up with divorce.  

“But we’ve always stuck together through thick and thin,” he said.  

He said the success of his marriage had come down to two pieces of advice his father gave him. 
“He sat me down he said, “Son you see that fence there?” I said, “yes,” Bill said. 

“He said “there are two sides to it. And it looks different on the other side.” 

“Always think with this [your head],” his father said, “before you speak with this,” Bill pointed to his mouth.  

“That’s the best advice I’ve ever had; I tell the young ones that.” 

Cindy said she felt sorry for Bill having to live with four girls in the house.  

“, Bill said 

“I was sixth in charge and when they got a cat who was a female, I was seventh in charge.” 

When Grace’s mother, ‘Nana’ lived with the family, it allowed the parents to work a lot more to pay the bills.  

Grace and Bill now have four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.  

They moved to Maryborough when Bill caught severe chronic fatigue. 

“Whenever I came back from going away for a week or so, I’d be feeling good.” 
So, they stayed with his daughter, Jane for a few years before Grace was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. 

Bill was on the Biloela Lions Club committee and was involved in building the Wahroonga Retirement and Aged Care Facility he now lives in.  

Bill said his cleaning business came in handy when he stripped the floors for the facility.  

Now his passion for plants is coming also in handy, as he and Grace spend their days maintaining the facility’s gardens.

FOR MORE HEART MELTING STORIES READ THIS WEEK'S PAPER

OTHERWISE, THE HIGHLANDS AND LONGREACH LEADER ARE BELOW



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