Mosman couples married for more than 60 years share their relationship secrets on Valentines Day.

Geraldine and George Lockyer. Now in their 90’s and married for more than 70 years.

Geraldine and George Lockyer. Now in their 90’s and married for more than 70 years.

 

WANT TO KNOW THE SECRET TO A LONG AND HAPPY MARRIAGE? ANNA USHER ASKED THREE OF OUR MOST REMARKABLE LOCAL COUPLES FOR THEIR ADVICE, WHEN IT COMES TO KEEPING THE LOVE ALIVE!

 
 
George and Geraldine in their Mosman home this week.

George and Geraldine in their Mosman home this week.

GERALDINE AND GEORGE LOCKYER.

Married 73 years

It was a chance meeting at Taronga Zoo wharf that brought Geraldine and George Lockyer together in 1945.

A British merchant sailor, George was attached to HMS Shirabank, which was anchored in Sydney Harbour towards the end of World War Two.

Geraldine was working at the wharf kiosk, selling sweets and cigarettes to ferry passengers when she met her husband-to-be.

“He had rowed into shore with some other men from the ship, then came up to the counter and asked me out,” Geraldine says.

“I didn’t think too much of it at the time, because the Shirabank was moving on.”

“But as fate would have it, the ship broke down with engine trouble after leaving Sydney,” Geraldine laughs, “it limped back into the harbour and we’ve been together ever since.”

Geraldine and george Lockyer

Anna: When did you know you were in love?

Geraldine: It all happened very quickly. George and I courted for a few months and he told me that I was the girl he was going to marry. I was 17 at the time and he was 22.

The Lockyer’s on their wedding day.

The Lockyer’s on their wedding day.

Anna: Tell me about the day you got married?

Geraldine: We married in a registry office on Avenue Rd in Mosman on February 29th, 1946. Mrs. Fox, who I worked with at the wharf kiosk, helped choose my wedding dress, hat and gloves. It was below the knee, with soft capped sleeves and a scooped neckline that was quite high.

Anna: Did you have a wedding reception?

Geraldine: A lady called Mrs. Blatch lived in a timber house across from us in Wudgong St, and she held a luncheon for us. It was a very small but happy, gathering. 

Anna: Do you believe in love at first sight?

Geraldine: I believe in physical attraction but not instantaneous love. You have to know a person very well before you fall in love with them.

Still in love, 73 years later.

Still in love, 73 years later.

Anna: How much has your love for each other changed over the years?

George and Geraldine, photographed on their wedding day in 1946.

George and Geraldine, photographed on their wedding day in 1946.

Geraldine: We have both become more tolerant. When you’ve been married as long as we have, you know when to talk and when to stay quiet! Our love for each other doesn’t falter and never will.

Anna: What is the key to a successful marriage?

Geraldine: All marriages go through good and bad patches. But the important thing is to maintain a sense of humour and don’t argue over the little things.  

Anna: Do you have plans for Valentine’s Day?

Geraldine: Not at all. In fact, George has never given me a Valentine’s gift. And to be truthful, I don’t care for any of this candle and chocolate business. We are from a different era.

 
 
Bob and Irene Ferguson. Still in love after 69 years.

Bob and Irene Ferguson. Still in love after 69 years.

BOB AND IRENE FERGUSON.

Married 69 YEARS

Bob and Irene Ferguson are much loved members of the Mosman community. Until recently, the family had provided boating services to the people of Sydney for over 100 years, at Ferguson’s Marina on The Spit.

Irene and Bob were both shy teenagers, who met at Percy Jupp’s ballroom dancing studio in Cremorne, in 1945.

“We were both 16 and my friend told me to take to the floor with this boy, because he didn’t want to dance with her,” Irene says.

“So, we briefly danced and there was no conversation – not one word!”

Irene and Bob Ferguson
Bob and irene ferguson

A few weeks later, Irene says Bob worked up the courage to ask if she would like a lift home on his motorbike.

“It was a brief meeting with few words spoken, and when it came time for me to get off the bike, he rode off like a bat out of hell!

Bob and Irene on their wedding day, in 1950.

Bob and Irene on their wedding day, in 1950.

“We were both very shy, but we’ve been together ever since that moment.”

Anna: Tell me how Bob proposed?

Irene: Ha! It happened at the front gate of my home after we had been to Christmas Carols in St Leonards Park in 1949. He said, “I think we’ll get married”. My mother always laughed about it and said Bob was the only one of her son-in-laws who never asked for a hand in marriage!

Anna: What was your wedding day like?

Irene: We were married in the Mosman Congregational Church. My sister loaned me her heavy satin wedding dress with a train and a hand appliqued bodice. I carried Arum lilies and my girlfriend was shocked because they were supposed to be funeral flowers! Our reception was held at the ballroom dancing studio, where we first met.

Anna: How much has your love changed over the years? 

Irene: We knew each other for five years before we married in 1950. Our love began as a friendship and grew from there. Even though Bob is a man of few words, our love is always there, and we have always worked through any rough patches.

Bob and Irene have recently moved to Queensland but still call Mosman “home”.

Bob and Irene have recently moved to Queensland but still call Mosman “home”.

Anna: What is the key to a successful marriage?

Irene: Perseverance.

Anna: What advice do you have for young couples today?

Irene: Don’t rush things!

 
 
Ivan and Beth Hodge today.

Ivan and Beth Hodge today.

Ivan and Beth Hodge.

MARRIED 60 YEARS

Ivan and Beth are local identities, famous for throwing a free community party each year, to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

The pair met in Rotorua, when Ivan was given the task of coaching Beth’s representative basketball team.

“I had a good job, a fancy car and I was pretty good at basketball,” Ivan said, “Beth and I became great friends through sport and our relationship grew from there.”

Ivan and Beth Hodge as newlyweds in 1959.

Ivan and Beth Hodge as newlyweds in 1959.

Anna: When did you know you were in love?

Ivan: At the beginning, Beth and I were great friends who enjoyed each-others company and our love grew from there. We were lucky because there was no hurry to fall head-over-heels like there is today.

Ivan and Beth on their wedding day. September, 1959.

Ivan and Beth on their wedding day. September, 1959.

Anna: How did you propose?

Ivan: I remember the spot where I popped the question. It was January 1958 and we were at Bastion Point in Auckland. I proposed to Beth thinking that she would immediately say ‘yes’, but instead she replied, “I’ll think about it” - and kept me hanging for a few hours!

Anna: Do you believe in love at first sight?

Ivan: I don’t believe in love at first sight but there can definitely be attraction at first sight.

Anna: Most romantic moment?

Beth: For me, it was when we were travelling from New Zealand to Australia all those years ago. It took five days and we were young and so in love.

A young Beth, photographed overseas in the 1960s.

A young Beth, photographed overseas in the 1960s.

Ivan: My most romantic moment was camping with Beth out the back of the Taj Mahal. It was the most incredible experience.

Anna: What advice do you have for young couples today?

Ivan: Spend time together. Don’t rush things. Have a hobby that you both enjoy.

Don’t get lost in the middle-aged blur of kids and work and be supportive of each other. Invest in your family – and always have something to look forward to, because life is short!