Over half a century and still going strong
THERE were sparks from the start for Tony and Betty Tramacchi.
That was about 66 years ago.
They met at one of the dances that young people frequented in the early 1950s.
"He was pretty good looking," Betty said of Tony, who was attending the dance with his brother.
"They just both seemed to be nice and gentlemanly," Betty recalled.
Betty and her girlfriend both took a shine to the two young men and as fate would have it, they all ended up being at the same place at the same time after the dance.
"We all got to chatting and that's where it started, really," Betty said.
For a short while, Betty's friend and Tony's brother courted, and the four of them would go on picnics up to Forestry Station, or to the beach.
While Tony's brother and Betty's friend ended up parting ways, Tony and Betty knew they had something special. And then, on the Christmas holidays of 1952 while visiting with Tony's parents, Tony popped the big question to Betty at one of their favourite spots on the Gold Coast.
"We used to go up to Razorback Mountain (at the back of Tweed Heads) to watch the moon rise," Betty said. "That's where he asked me."
Nine months later, on September 12, 1953, the couple were wed and moved into the home that Betty's father built at Amamoor in 1924.
Over the years Tony worked no fewer than seven different farms that he bought and a further seven that he leased from all over the region.
"We used to mainly grow beans, and pineapples, small crops and we had a small dairy for a while," Betty said.
As their family grew in size, they decided to build their own home, which was completed in 1964.
Eventually, Betty and Tony would have five boys and two girls between 1955 and 1970.
The youngest, Peter, would go on to become a professional tennis player and is now happily married to John Newcombe's daughter, with a couple of children of their own.
"He played at Wimbledon," proud papa Tony said.
After the massive flood of 1974, the couple decided to move house, literally to Veteran.
"We just picked the house up and moved it onto five acres (2ha) in Fisher Rd," Betty said.
That house still stands there, but in 2008 the couple sold the house and 3.5 acres (1.4ha) and built their new home on their former tennis court.
Recently, the couple celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary cruising on Moreton Bay to Bribie Island on board MV Lady Brisbane.
Betty had kept it as a surprise for Tony, and Betty said he thoroughly enjoyed the whole day.
"It was so peaceful and so nice out there on the water," Betty said.
They couple enjoyed a delicious morning tea and barbecue lunch before the Roundabout Tours, of which they were a part, headed back to Gympie via the Yandina Ginger Factory for an ice cream.
When asked how the couple are enjoying their retirement, Betty laughed.
"What retirement? There's still not enough hours in the day!"
Betty, now 84, regularly attends church and she loves her line-dancing once a week, while Tony, 87, still has the green thumb, growing fruit trees, vegetables and flowers on their one and a half acre (0.6ha) property.
The couple has 19 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren with two more expected to arrive in October.
And is the spark still there?
"We're still going strong," Betty said with a grin.