WEDDING BELLS: Bill and Joan Dabinett were married in Toowoomba on October 20, 1956.
WEDDING BELLS: Bill and Joan Dabinett were married in Toowoomba on October 20, 1956. Kate Dodd

No secret to a happy marriage

ACCORDING to Toowoomba woman Joan Dabinett, there is no secret to a happy marriage.

All that matters, she said, was loving each other and having good health.

She and her husband Bill, who live in Drayton, are about to celebrate their diamond wedding anniversary.

Mr and Mrs Dabinett both grew up in Drayton (Mrs Dabinett's great grandfather was he last mayor of Drayton) and went to school together.

"I was a bridesmaid for his sister and that was when we started (dating)," Mrs Dabinett said.

She was 18 at the time and he was 23.

Three years later, when she was 21, the couple was married by Reverend Tunstall at the St James Anglican Church in Toowoomba on October 20, 1956.

Mrs Dabinett said she didn't remember too much about the day these 60 years later, but remembered this: "I was late, the car broke down".

They celebrated at the Masonic Hall before heading to Southport for their honeymoon.

The settled back in Drayton and had five children - Jim (born in 1957), Phil (born in 1959), Shirley (born in 1961), Warren (born in 1962) and Veronica (born in 1971).

Mr Dabinett had many varied jobs over has career before he retired in 1971 - his first job after he left school was as a milk man, but he also worked in a nursery, saw mill, on farms at Pilton and Dawson Valley and at a service station.

After he was married, he worked for the local council, then the department of Transport and Main Roads and then finally at the Toowoomba Abattoirs, from where he retired.

He was known to the community as "Step Toe".

"If someone was looking for something and they didn't have it, they would come to Step Toe because he most certainly would," he said.

Mrs Dabinett held two jobs during her working life, at a clothing factory and then at a Woolworths supermarket.

Both parents were involved in their children's education and both were members of the local school's parents and friends association.

They were also members of the Drayton Hall community and the Golden Heart Club, as well as the St Matthew's Church guild.

About 12 months ago, Mr Dabinett was diagnosed with throat cancer. Doctors gave him six months to live, however, he defied their expectations and is still here today.

The couple has12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

They live with their daughter Veronica, her three children and one of their great-grandchildren.

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