LONG HAUL: Bill Penfold and Mary Penfold on their weeding Day 66 years ago.
LONG HAUL: Bill Penfold and Mary Penfold on their weeding Day 66 years ago.

Wedding night the key to 66 years of marriage

THURSDAY marked 66 years of marriage for Bill and Mary Penfold.

The couple wed on May 3, 1952 in their hometown of Sarina, before they travelled to Proserpine for their wedding night.

"There was nowhere else to go in Airlie Beach in those days," Mr Penfold said.

After the reception and photographs the newlyweds caught the train to Proserpine where they stayed in a hotel owned by a Sarina businessman.

The quaint town of Proserpine has served as an overnight pit-stop for the pair over the years as they caught a mail boat to Daydream Island for the week of their honeymoon.

Since then the couple have revisited the town and created many fond memories.

"We pull in to Proserpine for the night as a stop-over on our way up north," Mr Penfold said.

For roughly 39 pounds the couple bagged an all inclusive honeymoon package that included a week on Daydream Island, a return train trip, boat transfers and a night in Proserpine.

"I reckon it was a bargain, but the amount of wages we were getting was nowhere near like today," Mr Penfold said.

"We had a good time over at Daydream, there were no tourists, we climbed down a ladder onto the shore when we arrived."

The couple raised four children of their own, who have had seven children of their own, who have produced 13 great grandchildren.

Mr Penfold's mother passed away when he was four so he was raised by his father, Mrs Penfold's father passed away before she was married, meaning they unfortunately didn't get to see milestone anniversaries that their children did.

Daughter Debbie Rhule herself has been married to her husband for 46 years, similar to her parents they raised four children.

Fifteen years ago Mrs Rule's youngest child passed away suddenly in Sydney due to a undiagnosed heart issue at the age of 25.


Mrs Rhule recalls fond childhood memories of big family Christmases, birthdays and family holidays, which she has replicated in her own family.

"My dad never earned much money, but we always went on holidays even if it was just a few kilometres down the road to Sarina beach,it was lovely." Mrs Rhule said.

Mr Penfolds worked at the Plane Creek sugar mill in Sarina, "mum was a bank teller, but after I got married she worked at the mill for 15 years for the 6 month season".

"It's amazing to have so many long-term relationships in the family mum's brother turns 90 this year and has been married for 68 years."

For the Penfold's 50th wedding anniversary their four children shouted them a week on Daydream Island.

"It was so they could retrace their steps, they always spoke about the boat they spent time on; the Island Gypsy," Mrs Rhule said.

"It was perfect and beautiful at that time of year," Mr Penfold said.

"I met her at the dance in Sarina aged 19, held at the old RSL Hall.

"We had to mail boat to Day Dream Island, stayed at a resort thin in the Captain Cook's cabin."

Mr Penfold doesn't have fond memories at the Proserpine Golf Club where he recalls being beaten by friends in veterans golf many times.

For their 66th anniverasry the Penfolds chose to stay in Sarina and go out for dinner at the local bowls club with two of their children.

As for the key to a marriage as long and solid as theirs, Mr Penfold said: "you've got to cooperate, both of you. There are good and bad days, but in the end the good far exceed the bad."

"Everyday we have spent in Proserpine has been a good day."

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