Ernie and Maria Carboon are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary today, after marrying in 1967.
About 80 guests attended the wedding at St Brendan’s Church after the two met a year earlier at the Shepparton Civic Centre.
‘‘We always used to do the foxtrot and the progressive barn dance together at the old time dance, it was our dance,’’ Mr Carboon, 75, said.
‘‘We started going out and after a few weeks I asked her to marry me — she told me to come back in a year.’’
Mrs Carboon, 73, ‘‘wanted to do her homework first’’ and gave Ernie the ultimatum to give up the booze.
‘‘(When he asked) I thought blimey ... I didn’t even know him,’’ she said.
A year later, the couple went to dinner at the Parklake Hotel, which was the fanciest hotel in Shepparton at the time.
‘‘She had half a chicken and two legs for dinner ... and also said yes,’’ Mr Carboon said.
‘‘I spent a fortnight in Cobram picking fruit to buy her the engagement ring and when we came back from our honeymoon we had a week’s wage to our name.’’
The Mooroopna couple has four children, nine grandchildren and one great-grandchild and spends time caravanning across Australia — fossicking for gold and gemstones.
When asked to describe his wife, Mr Carboon said it was difficult to put into words what she meant to him, after all these years.
‘‘She’s my soul partner, hard-working and has never swore, smoked or drunk in her life,’’ he said.
‘‘She’s my right-hand woman and I’d be lost without her ... even though she takes up three quarters of the bed.’’
Mrs Carboon said Ernie was ‘‘a good father and provider’’ from the beginning and always thought the world of her.
‘‘I didn’t think too much of him from that start ... I didn’t go for his looks, but I went for his personality,’’ she said.
As for advice on a long-lasting marriage.
‘‘Communication is number one, give and take a bit, but don’t throw in the towel and don’t take things too seriously,’’ both said.
‘‘Fifty down and hopefully another 50 years to go ... we’d do it all again.’’