PLATINUM ANNIVERSARY: Col and Mary Rice on their wedding day, November 21, 1946.
PLATINUM ANNIVERSARY: Col and Mary Rice on their wedding day, November 21, 1946. Contributed

Runaway romance after WWII leads to 70-year marriage

AS A soldier trekking the Kokoda Track in the Second World War, Colin Rice could have only dreamed of being back in his hometown with a wife by his side.

Luckily for him, upon his return to Eidsvold, Mary Currier was working there as a nursing assistant and the rest is history.

"They met at the pictures," Col and Mary's daughter, Mavis, said.

Mary's father was Catholic, and Col was not - but that didn't stop them.

In 1946, the pair eloped.

"They ran away to Maryborough," Mavis said.

They married there, just the two of them, and have been inseparable ever since.

They returned to Eidsvold, where they had both grown up - Mary at the top of the Nogo River, Col on his family dairy, Oakleigh, where he would spend 90 years of his life.

"They worked together side by side," Mavis said.

"Mum would help out outside, and dad would help inside the house.

"They grew their own vegetables.

"They did everything together."

They were both a part of the tennis club and Mary scored the cricket when Colin played. Colin was also on the Eidsvold Shire Council, and part of the bush fire brigade until last year.

"Mum made all of our wedding dresses, and she made incredible cakes," Mavis said.

"She iced everyone's wedding cakes by hand and wonderful birthday cakes."

Colin was also a passionate horseman, devising a step that allowed him to comfortably mount a horse into his 90s.

It was only an incident with a quad bike early this year that brought 95-year-old Col's time on the farm to an end.

"He was coming up to a gate and didn't get off to unlatch it," Mavis said.

"The bike flipped over, he fell off and it landed on top of him."

He was lucky to have some grandchildren on hand to escape with a couple of cracked ribs and some skin off his leg.

"Six months after that operation, in his mind, he was getting back on the horse," she said of her dad.

In their later years Col and Mavis hosted their grandchildren and great-grandchildren on Oakleigh, giving them the experience of bush life on holidays

They moved to Palm Lake Care in Bundaberg this year to be closer to their three daughters who live here.

On November 21, the enduring couple will celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary.

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