10 January 2023

Wagga couples celebrate 150 years of marriage

| Chris Roe
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three couples' wedding anniversary

Peter and Trish Hilton, Peter and Elizabeth Holland, and Carole and Stuart Gamble celebrate a combined 150 years of marriage. Photo: Stuart Gamble.

Wagga’s Elizabeth Holland says “It’s important to celebrate long marriages” after being a part of a triple golden anniversary event at South Wagga Anglican Church.

She and her husband Peter invited fellow parishioners Peter and Trish Hilton and Stuart and Carole Gamble to join them and celebrate a combined 150 years of marriage.

“I knew that the Gambles and the Hiltons both had theirs very close to ours, so I thought, well, this is an opportunity as a church fellowship to celebrate something that’s worth celebrating,” Elizabeth explained.

“I mean, they don’t happen that often; I’ve never been to a 50th wedding anniversary before!”

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The three couples were joined by family from home and abroad and many friends from their Wagga church community.

“It was just lovely to make such a statement about marriage and its importance and to see so many couples there,” said retired Wagga surgeon Stuart Gamble.

“A number of them are well past their 50 years as well, and a couple past 60 years too, by the grace of God.”

Wedding dresses

Vintage wedding dresses mark fashion from 50 years ago. Photo: Stuart Gamble.

Along with a shared cake, several vintage wedding dresses were on display, as of course were many photos charting the three couples’ years together.

Elizabeth met Peter in her hometown of Parkes when the English research engineer visited the Central West with an Australian friend from a church in Sydney.

“So he was a complete stranger, you might say,” she laughed.

“He came to Parkes for the weekend and we just happened to meet and then he wrote to me and we went from there.”

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Asked how it felt to reach the milestone, Elizabeth said she hadn’t spent much time thinking about it.

“I’ve lived a very busy life: I had a career, we have children and we moved countries twice, there are just all these experiences down through the years, I feel as if we’ve been blessed,” she explains.

“There’s a feeling that God has brought us this far together and, despite things that might throw us apart, we’ve carried on and kept together and can still enjoy each other’s company.

“I said to my daughter today, it’s not a matter of what you get in life, it’s a matter of what you do with what you get.”

Party lunch

The three couples enjoy lunch together at the golden anniversary celebration. Photo: Stuart Gamble.

Stuart and Carole Gamble agree that their shared Christian faith is fundamental to their relationship, which began at university in Melbourne.

“When we got married, it was for life,” said Stuart.

“I guess there are lots of ways to keep a marriage alive. I’ve always tried to respect my wife, to take responsibility for my actions, to ask forgiveness where I needed to ask forgiveness, and to take time to romance my wife so that she can’t help but be in love with me.”

Carole laughed and affirmed that Stuart remains an attentive spouse after half a century together.

“He’s indeed very romantic and he treats me extremely well and spoils me like crazy,” she said.

“I mean, there are obviously irritations and things in a marriage, but that calls for patience and acceptance.

“Whether to continue with a marriage or to walk away from it has never been a question we’ve asked, it’s just not been an option.”

Stuart added that modelling a successful marriage for the next generations was also important.

“My own parents also celebrated 50 years and really, my father taught me how to love because of the way he treated my mother with tenderness and respect,” he explained.

“So I guess we tried to set an example for our children.”

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