Pioneers find paradise


Jo and Vic Briand recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Picture: Martin Kennealey                         d448740
Jo and Vic Briand recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Picture: Martin Kennealey                      d448740

WANNEROO pioneers Jo (86) and Vic (88) Briand recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary.

The couple, who met in England, moved to Perth in 1950 a few months apart and married that December 26.

Engaged at the time of their moves, Mrs Briand said she followed her fiance to his uncle’s Wheatbelt farm, but she didn’t like it so they returned to Perth.

They lived in North Perth, Osborne Park and North Beach for several years, with Mr Briand working in the market garden and building industries.

“We came to Wanneroo in 1960,” Mrs Briand said.

“We arrived at midnight in an old truck – no electricity.

“At the time, things weren’t too good.

“It was a very old house (but) it was going to be mine, no more renting.

“We cleared the land together bit by bit and built a couple of sheds together.”

Mrs Briand said until they moved to Wanneroo, she had always wanted to go back to England, but then they settled and met other pioneering families, including the Sinagras and Searsons.

Having only recently moved house, the couple still live in the suburb and have many memories from their time there.

“I loved it and I wouldn’t move from Wanneroo,” Mrs Briand said.

“We had the farm and after a couple of years we were able to have chickens.

“Weekends we used to go under the old trees and blow them up.

“We had some wonderful times.

“When we first came, the first shop we went to was Villanova’s country store.”

They had two children – Susan in 1954 and Kevin in 1955 – who have in turn had two sons and a daughter respectively.

“In their early Wanneroo days, they were involved with the Wanneroo Junior Football Club and supported Swan Districts in the league,” their daughter said.

“They also played tennis and golf as recreational breaks from the seven-days-a-week business.

“Both enjoyed fishing, spending many trip to the Swan as well as Kalbarri and Augusta.

“The Wanneroo Senior Citizens Club has been a significant part of their lives since 1979.

“Jo, with Vic’s support behind the scenes, has been a committee member and has spent many years involved in organising bus trips and other various events.

“Jo is a compulsive gardener and spends many hours propagating plants and shrubs – for many years, she supplied them to the club for the monthly ‘bring and buy’ mornings.”

The City of Wanneroo recognised the Briands as pioneers in 2011 for having spent more than 50 years of their adult lives within its boundaries.