One look was all it took

HAPPY COUPLE: John and Ronne Wildman celebrate 60 years of marriage.
HAPPY COUPLE: John and Ronne Wildman celebrate 60 years of marriage. Lauren Grounsell

IT ONLY took one church dance, and a car, for John and Veronica (Ronne) Wildman to fall in love.

The pair met in 1951, and 62 years, two children and three states later, they celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on January 10.

"We met at the only church dance we ever went to - and look what happened," Ronne said.

"I went along with a girlfriend and he (John) had a car so he was attractive to both of us.

"Few young men had cars in those days."

The road to love was not as easy for John, as Ronne's father was the local police sergeant - he had to tread a fine line in his pursuit of love.

Ronne's home was connected to the police station and shared the same phone line, so John had to be careful when he called.

"You had to run the gauntlet - interfering with the official unit of the Sarge and also chasing his daughter," John said. "She used to walk to the public phone box and ring me."

After two years of dating the pair married in 1953 and, in 1954, moved to Tasmania before settling in Temora in NSW.

"We were very happy in Temora, our daughter was born there," Ronne said.

"Then John was transferred to Wagga and we stayed there for 32 years."

The Wildmans never had any intention of leaving Wagga - Ronne was a high school teacher and John worked for first the Education Department then the Department of Primary Industries. But when they went on a caravanning trip up north, they could not get past the Sunshine Coast.

After putting a $50 deposit on a block of land in Montville, the pair sold up two houses in Wagga, built half their house on the new block and moved to Queensland, all in the space of six months.

And as for their secrets to a successful marriage?

"I don't know about secrets - we have always had our own interests and neither has ever intruded on those," Ronne said.

"I think it's important to keep your own individuality. If we have different opinions we listen to each other and we usually come to an agreement, as long as it's mine."



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