Couple back in Mackay to celebrate 50 golden years together
HAZEL and Allan McMaster will have spent 50 years learning how to put their best foot forward, in their relationship and in their old-time dancing, when they celebrate their golden wedding anniversary on August 31.
When Hazel Jeffs met Allan at a dance in Mooroopna in the sixties it wasn't love at first sight. She admits she wasn't immediately taken by Allan.
"He had this terrible crew cut, and I just couldn't stand it, but the next time I saw him it was different," she laughed.
The couple met after Hazel moved from Mackay to Victoria in 1966 to work at the hospital in Mooroopna.
It wasn't long before they decided they wanted to spend their lives together. Allan asked Hazel to be his wife when they took a holiday to Melbourne from Shepparton about 12 months after they met.
"He said 'we are going to Melbourne for the weekend' and we went down there and bought an engagement ring," Hazel said.
"Back in those days, you loved each other and you got married."
They returned to Mackay for the wedding and were married in St Andrew's Presbyterian (now Uniting) Church at Walkerston on August 31, 1968 by Rev. G. Whitney.
The groom had his brother Robert McMaster and Hazel's brother Keith Jeffs by his side, while Hazel's sisters Joyce and Beryl Jeffs and flower girl Debbie Simonson made up the bridal party.
After 50 years, Hazel believes she knows what it takes to keep a marriage together.
"Back in those days, when you got married you didn't keep working. He was a motor mechanic and his parents had farms and we went out there to live on the farm; in the end we bought the farm and we worked that," she recalls.
Those early years on the farm were some of the best for Hazel and Allan as they worked simple but satisfying lives.
"It's hard, but satisfying, we are too old for that now though," she joked.
Hazel and Allan had four children Roslyn Roberts, who lives in Kilmore, Victoria; Leanne Guthrie, of Barmah, Victoria, Trevor McMaster (dec) and Darren McMaster, of Shepparton.
The couple now live in Nagambie, Victoria, are visiting Mackay for six weeks to catch up with family and friends.
"We were married up in Mackay and we have come back to celebrate with the family," she said.
"We try to get up here every six months now to see everybody."
It's never too late to try something new and that exactly what Hazel and Allan and over 50 of their guests will do when they celebrate their anniversary at the North Mackay Bowls Club on Saturday, September 1.
"We are going to play a game of lawn bowls, which we have never played in our lives," Hazel said.
The couple will then finish the celebrations with a barbecue dinner with their guests.
Hazel said that she doesn't have all the answers for the secrets to a happy marriage but for her it's about give and take.
"You have your arguments, but you have fun making up. They say you shouldn't ever go to bed on an argument, but it just doesn't work out like that sometimes," she said.
In the 50 years since they were married, Hazel agrees a lot has changed in relationships and now not many marriages seem to last as long.
"I don't think I would like to be young nowadays. It's just different to what it was 50 years ago, it seems a lot harder," she admits. But one thing Hazel knows for sure is that it's important to have fun, which the couple do when they go dancing four days a week.
"We do old time dancing and new vogue, it's mainly new vogue now," she said.
Into the future, Hazel and Allan, are hoping to retire and look after their small hobby farm and take care of their nine grandkids.
"We will probably have to retire to Shepparton, which is where our son lives," she said.