Being good mates is the simple secret Kath and Keith Hutchison have lived by for 72 years.
The Parkes couple were married on 26th June 1948 in Hanwood just outside Griffith. Last Friday they celebrated their extraordinary milestone with their two children Michael Hutchison and Sherree Rosser.
“You’ve got to be good mates, work together and help each other,” said 96-year-old Kath gently touching her 94-year-old husband’s hand. “It’s all just common sense.”
Kath clearly remembers seeing Keith for the first time at the St Patrick’s night dance at the Palais in Griffith. “All the girls and blokes used to go and there was this new bloke in town. He was all dressed up with shiny shoes… he still has a fetish about shiny shoes today,” Kath said pointing to his polished black shoes.
Keith left school at 15 to join the railway, and he had just started working in Griffith. He noticed Kath too, and she liked it that he had a decent job, “so it just went on from there”.
Keith worked 45 years on the railway and the couple moved all over NSW, but they ended up spending 36 years in Narromine where Keith also worked for Grain Corp after he retired. This is also where Kath found her passion for real estate and loved selling houses for 27 years.
“It’s been a wonderful life travelling around the countryside and meeting so many people,” said Kath. “In those days nobody wanted to fall out with the station master as he was a vital link in keeping everything running.”
Although they were always far from family, there were always people willing to help out with the children. “It was not so much about material possessions and more about family and taking care of each other. And everybody went everywhere on their push bikes. There were not many cars around.”
In later years when the children had left, Kath and Keith discovered the joys of caravanning all over Australia. There were so many good spots, but they did start a tradition of going back to Yamba in northern NSW every year for 27 years.
They might not be travelling much these days, but relish the time they spend with their two children, eight grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren. This brings them endless joy and pride. “We have raised two excellent children.”
By Maggi Barnard