A 60-year part­ner­ship

Doreen Wha­lan shares some in­sights on a suc­cess­ful mar­riage

The Observer - - LIFE OUR GLADSTONE - Ju­lia Bartrim ju­lia.bartrim@glad­sto­neob­server.com.au

They met at a dance one evening 61 years ago, and have been to­gether ever since.

Doreen and Graeme Wha­lan will cel­e­brate their 60th wed­ding an­niver­sary today with a big fam­ily din­ner.

When they met at the dance in the man­u­fac­tur­ing town of Lith­gow they were both 17.

“We just sort of danced all evening and it started from that. It was his long lashes and his blue eyes that got my at­ten­tion the first time.

“He was nice, (he) spoke nicely, we just sort of hit it off, quite hon­estly.”

Graeme and Doreen mar­ried when they were 18 at the Methodist Church on Mort St in Lith­gow in 1957. They had only known each other for about 12 months.

Doreen’s friend from work, Mar­lene, was her brides­maid.

Doreen wore a white bal­le­rina length dress of bro­cade satin with lace sleeves over tulle, and a pearl, or­ange blos­som veil.

“I was quite ner­vous, it was quite a big step,” she said.

The cou­ple went on to have four chil­dren and spent many happy years on the Gove Penin­su­lar at the north­ern tip of Arn­hem Land.

When asked what has kept them to­gether she said, “I re­ally can’t hon­estly say ... when you’re mar­ried you can’t just get off and say I’ve had enough, I’m out of here.”

“You make mis­takes but you look at each other and think well, we’re in this to­gether. If we don’t agree with each other, we think about it and talk about it.”

She says she’s never known why Graeme chose to spend his life with her.

“I’ve been try­ing to find out for years.”

“I re­ally don’t know, I keep say­ing to him, why did you pick me?

“I don’t know, he said, you were just nice, you looked good, (you) were good to talk to, I thought I’d stick with you.”


TEAM: Doreen and Graeme Wha­lan will cel­e­brate their 60th wed­ding an­niver­sary today with a fam­ily din­ner.

The cou­ple were only 18 when they got mar­ried.

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