August 9 marked 60 years of marriage for Gunnedah’s Brian and Jill Howes.
The pair celebrated with family and friends and received congratulations from dignitaries including the Queen and the Prime Minister.
Brian and Jill both attended Gunnedah Public School when it was in Elgin Street and Gunnedah High Street when it was on Bloomfield Street. Brian was an “original paper boy” for the newspaper in his youth.
Brian first tried to attract Jill’s attention during tennis lessons on a property near Gunnedah in 1954. Jill was 17 at the time and working at Storey’s Department Store, while 18-year-old Brian was an employee of Namoi Valley County Council.
Brian eventually won Jill over and took her to the cinema and from that first date, their relationship grew.
Brian joined the National Service in 1956 and underwent training in New Holsworthy, Sydney, and Conundra, Queensland. He is now a member of the Gunnedah RSL sub-branch.
The couple married during Brian;s service period in 1958 at Christ Church, Church of England, Gunnedah.
Jill was attended by her cousin Abda Kidd (nee Melick) and friend Phyllis Thompson. Brian was attended by best man Eric Gibbons and his brother Graham. The reception was held in the dining room at the Courthouse Hotel and the newlyweds honeymooned in Canberra.
The couple’s first child Craig was born in 1962, followed by Joanne in 1965. Tragically, Craig died in 1989, leaving behind his wife Tania Honess and their three boys.
Over his working life, Brian was employed in the mines and John Geddes Electrical. Brian was an electrician for about 40 years. Jill worked in accounts at a local doctor’s surgery.
The pair retired in the late 1980s and sold their house in 2010 to hit the road in their caravan. They spent two years travelling through NSW, Queensland and South Australia before returning to Gunnedah and purchasing a unit where they still reside.
“We’ve had a good ol’ run-around,” Jill said.
Brian and Jill have five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren who keep them busy.
“I do the sewing for the grandchildren [and] I knit for them,” Jill said.