Jour­ney from Hol­land to Corowa

The Free Press (Corowa) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JARRYD BARCA

The Free Press caught up with the lo­cal cou­ple ahead of their 65th wed­ding an­niver­sary in the build up to Christ­mas.

Adrian and Nelly, both 88, were neigh­bours in Hol­land, their coun­try of birth, be­fore ven­tur­ing to Aus­tralia to es­cape land that they say had “no prom­ise”.

Adrian mi­grated to Aus­tralia as a 22-yearold in 1952, while Nelly ar­rived 18 months later.

“We had just come out of war from 1940 to 1945 and in that time noth­ing was done any­where, coun­cil had no money and any­thing good was taken away,” Adrian said.

“Even in 1952, it was a lit­tle bit bet­ter, there was still no money avail­able to do a lot of things, the out­look for young peo­ple was ter­ri­ble.”

Prior to start­ing a new life in Corowa, Adrian ad­mit­ted that the fur­thest he had ever trav­elled was just 50km form where he was liv­ing be­cause “the op­por­tu­ni­ties just weren’t there af­ter the war”.

Upon mi­grat­ing, Adrian re­called the reg­u­la­tions back then where he was al­lowed just 10 pounds be­fore head­ing off to the coun­try.

“In six weeks I had spent two pounds. All I had in pos­ses­sions was clean shirts in a bag, eight pounds in my pocket and a few sand­wiches, and I didn’t have a worry in the world,” he said.

Adrian quickly set­tled in as a builder around town and has lent a hand in many of Corowa’s finest struc­tures, in­clud­ing the Golf Club, RSL Club, sev­eral churches and “80 per cent of the shops in the main street”.

To this day he is still work­ing in his home shed filled with tools and lad­ders as if it were a hard­ware store, and when asked whether he would of­fi­cially re­tire, Adrian por­trayed his self-will.

“If I’m forced to, then maybe yes,” he said. “If I’m still ca­pa­ble of do­ing some­thing then I don’t want to re­tire, I’m happy to be in­volved and keep do­ing things.”

Adrian has been a mem­ber of the Li­ons Club for 53 years, joined the res­cue squad, where he is a life mem­ber, and also won a Corowa Ci­ti­zen of the Year award for his out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tions.

Af­ter leav­ing the res­cue squad he then be­came a mem­ber of the Probus Club.

Both Nelly and Adrian, de­spite speak­ing lit­tle to no English on ar­riv­ing to Corowa, have “loved ev­ery minute of it”.

“(Corowa is) like a big fam­ily, es­pe­cially when you’re in­volved in or­gan­i­sa­tions that form part of the com­mu­nity,” they said.

Corowa is filled with in­trigu­ing sto­ries, per­haps none more so than that of the well-known Ver­bunt cou­ple, who mi­grated to the town in the 1950s.

Adrian and Nelly Ver­bunt, of Corowa, cel­e­brated their 65th wed­ding an­niver­sary on De­cem­ber 23 af­ter mov­ing from Hol­land in the 1950s.

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