Bernard and Joyce Birmingham at their Goonellabah home.
Bernard and Joyce Birmingham at their Goonellabah home. Contributed

Keeping each other happy the key to a long marriage

IT MAY not always be easy, but keeping each other happy is the key to 60 years of married life, according to Bernard and Joyce Birmingham of Goonellabah.

"If you make each other happy then you will be happy," Joyce said following their wedding anniversary.

The couple was married in November 1953.

Both 80 this year, Bernard and Joyce met as teenagers in 1950 only three months after Joyce had arrived in Australia with her parents and three sisters from the Lake District in England.

Bernard, born at Coraki, was living in North Lismore at the time.

Two years later he spent six months in the air force at Richmond, near Sydney, before they were engaged at 19 and married as 20-year-olds the following year.

One memory from the ensuing years was the 1954 flood and the visit of Queen Elizabeth II to Lismore in the pouring rain.

Bernard and Joyce Birmingham, of Goonellabah, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in November 2013. Photo Contributed
Bernard and Joyce Birmingham, of Goonellabah, who celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in November 2013. Photo Contributed Contributed

In 1959 they moved to Sydney where Bernard worked as a dental prosthetist and part-time as a carpenter.

They spent 25 years in the city, living at Rydalmere, Guildford, Castle Hill and Baulkham Hills, before moving back to the Far North Coast where they bought a property at Wyrallah, then retired to Ballina.

Bernard and Joyce, who now live in their home at Goonellabah, have five children, 11 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Extended family came from Sydney, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast to mark their 60th anniversary at the Gateway Motel in Lismore.

The couple received letters of congratulations from the Queen, Governor-General, Prime Minister and Premier, among others.


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