A bonfire at a local dance over half a century ago literally lit the spark of romance between Yarrawonga’s Joan and Alan Selby who celebrate 60 years of wedded bliss on Thursday, October 19.
The Selby family were planning a family dinner to celebrate the occasion at the Yarrawonga Mulwala Golf Club Resort on the weekend but celebration plans have had to be put on hold as Joan is unwell in a rehabilitation centre in Wangaratta.
Joan Margaret Seberry and Alan Maxwell Selby were both born in Corowa before moving away to Daysdale and Melbourne respectively and later both moved back to the Corowa area in their adult years prior to meeting each other.
In 1954 during the football season Joan and Alan first met at the McCarthy’s Woolshed Dance on Coreen Hill.
The couple’s daughter Kathy explained her parents first meeting.
“Dad saw Mum from his position at the bonfire and walked over and asked her to dance,” Kathy said.
“They continued dancing all night and when Dad asked Mum if he could drive her home, she answered you’ll need to ask my dad for permission.
“So dad asked her father and was granted permission to drive her home.”
From there began the couple’s three-year courtship before they wedded on Saturday, October 19 1957 at the St John's Anglican Church in Corowa.
The couple had two daughters, Judith and Elizabeth, before moving to and settling in Yarrawonga in 1960.
They then had another daughter Kathleen and son Gordon making their family complete.
Alan and Joan have lived in Yarrawonga ever since 1960 and have made significant contributions to the local community through their involvement in sporting and service clubs over the years.
Many of these clubs include the tennis, golf, Girl Guides and Scouts, Foreshore Christmas Market, junior football and netball, Yarrawonga primary and secondary schools and St Cuthbert’s Anglican Church.
For many years Alan worked as a carpenter and joiner at the Mulwala Explosives Factory while Joan worked in various positions utilising her brilliant cooking skills.
Joan’s cooking is well known and enjoyed throughout the Yarrawonga community and Alan is known to be able to build or fix just about anything.
When asked what the secret to a good marriage was Alan said caring for each other and making sure the other is happy is key.
“The secret to a good marriage is to just love her,” Alan said.
“You also need to look after each other and never go to sleep on an argument.”
Joan once described Alan to her golfing friends as the most wonderful man in the world and on Thursday the couple will have shared 60 years of loving each other every day.
Joan and Alan have fourteen grandchildren and nine great grandchildren living all around Australia who they love to visit when able.
The Selby family are grateful and proud of Joan and Alan and Kathy said the family wanted to congratulate them on their long marriage.
“They are to be congratulated on this significant milestone of 60 years of marriage and it will be wonderful to be able to celebrate such an achievement in both their lives and ours.”