They’ve not needed diamonds in their lives to this stage and they’re not waiting for their diamond anniversary to celebrate almost six decades together.
Blackall couple, Keith, better known as Beaver, and Jean Dendle, have enjoyed a steady stream of visitors and phone calls from family and friends around the country as they celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary this week.
“What we value is having our children, our four grandchildren and our six great-grandchildren all talking to us,” said Jean.
The more vocal partner in the comfortable relationship the pair has crafted over the years, Jean recalled some of the memories they share of married life, while Beaver added his one-liners.
“The dogs are getting fat and I’m getting poor,” he quipped, when asked what their secret was.
A philosophy that no-one was the boss, and that it was no good not talking to your partner “because there’s always something to talk about the next day”, were Jean’s answers.
Lifetime Blackall residents, they married on a warm January day at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Blackall in 1959, when Jean was 19 and Beaver was 29, and went straight to a job in the bush, a married couple’s position at Myall Grove near Tambo.
They spent 16 years there and at Mt Enniskillen, welcoming three daughters – Shelly in 1961, Jenny in 1964, and Keitha in 1969 – and 28 years altogether at positions on properties around the Blackall district.
Another 14 years as one of the tour guides at the Blackall Woolscour followed for Beaver, where his tales of youthful droving escapades mixed in with the region’s wool history captivated visitors from around the world.
A few horses and angry cows haven’t been kind to Beaver – he’s broken 22 bones over the years – and Jean has had extended stints in hospital herself, but they’ve supported each other through all the ups and downs and still live together at home.
“We just look out for each other,” Jean said.