Amelia (nee Hewson) and Jean Melki on their Australian wedding day.
Amelia (nee Hewson) and Jean Melki on their Australian wedding day.

Love in the danger zone

WHEN the Middle East is mentioned it mostly conjures up images of war and terrorism, but to one Grafton-born woman it also means love and romance.

Amelia Hewson has been living and working in the Middle East for some years now, experiencing both the unrest and everyday occurrences like dating and forming relationships.

Back in July 2006, The Daily Examiner featured Amelia on the front page when she was caught up in an Israeli air strike on the Beirut Airport while studying in Lebanon. She had to sit out the ordeal before fleeing back to her home in Kuwait.

Her grandparents Jill and Bernie Gill, who still live in South Grafton, endured some sleepless nights during that time but are pleased to share Amelia’s latest news from Beirut – her marriage, or in this case two marriages.

Before any conclusions are jumped to, Amelia did marry the same man, Jean Melki, but in two separate ceremonies – one here in Australia and the other in the Middle East – so both families could share in the celebrations.

The Australian ceremony took place at her parents’ property in Tasmania at Grindelwald near Launceston on December, 19, 2009.

Amelia’s dad, Dr David Hewson – one of the original Duke Street surgery doctors whom many Graftonians will remember – and Dr Jenny Hewson (Jill and Bernie’s daughter) are Amelia’s proud parents.

Guests flew in from around the world to attend, including Dubai, London and Germany. “It was a really international wedding,” Jill said. “One of the happiest I’ve ever been to.”

After a fleeting visit to Grafton at Christmas to visit the Gills as well as her great-grandmother, 97-year-old Rachel McIlwain, Amelia and Jean headed back to the Middle East for their next wedding.

The second ceremony was held on January 3, 2010, in the Melki Family Catholic Church in Beirut.

Jill said the couple met by the pool in Kuwait where Jean caught Amelia’s eye by ‘showing off his breaststroke style’. She also said that not only did Amelia’s perseverance in the Middle East result in two university degrees, she also found her husband, who they are all proud to welcome to the family.

The couple have now settled in the Kingdom of Bahrain where Amelia works as an Arabic education officer and Jean as a hotel interior designer.

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