MEETING for the first time on a summer’s afternoon, little did a young Betty or Brian realise the significance of that moment.
On that day in 1954, Betty and her friends went to the local beach for a dip while Brian and his mates also made plans to go to the beach.
Although being the first time they saw each other, it was some months later before Brian asked Betty on a date.
Brian said proposing was a nervous occasion, which in the end turned out to be much ado about nothing.
“It was about 18 months after that that I proposed,” said Brian.
“But I had to do it properly – I had to ask her dad for permission. He just said ‘Oh go on, take her Brian’.”
Brian and Betty were married on November to 1956 in Wesley Hall Methodist Church, Port Talbot, Glamorgan, Wales and honeymooned in London.
Having obtained his Marine Pilot’s Apprenticeship, Brian began his first of many stints away at sea. After six weeks together as newlyweds, he left on his first stint, taking him away from Betty for 18 months.
“I was working on a Caltex tanker – running to Botany Bay Australia,” he said.
During the seven years he worked at sea Betty often went to see Brian at the Port of London for the short times he returned.
Eventually the couple had three children, David, Ian and Louise. Raising the children by herself one Welsh winter was particularly harsh with all the pipes freezing over in their home.
That was when Betty said enough was enough and she needed Brian home.
He returned home this time to work on the ports for five years before the work started to dry up.
With a family and mortgage they decided to sell up and settle in Australia.
Having seen an ad on TV for people to come to ‘sunny WA’ they settled in Rockingham in 1968 where they’ve been since.
“We lived on Read Street and across the road, where the McDonald’s is now, there were just fields,” they said.
There was one supermarket; Tom the Cheap in the area and not much else.
Brian got work at the BP Refinery and worked there until he retired.
Some 10 years later and as much a surprise as it was a delight, they welcomed their fourth child Lyndsay to their family.
Today they have eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.
They said the most challenging part of their marriage had been the deaths of their son Ian to a sporting accident and their granddaughter Beth to a brain tumour.
“It did make us stronger,” Brian said.
Brian and Betty celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on November 10.