John and Shirley Dickens celebrate their 50th anniversary.
John and Shirley Dickens celebrate their 50th anniversary. David Nielsen

Golden time for Yamanto's John and Shirley

AFTER 50 years of marriage, for John and Shirley Dickens, the secret to a happy life is simply trust each other, and solve problems together.

"You have to get your arguments done and dusted, if you have a problem, sit down and talk it out,” Mrs Dickens said.

It is a policy that has served them well, long after they first met at the movies with a group of friends in 1961.

Born in the old Lindhurst Hospital on May 20, 1942, now the base for Meals on Wheels, Mr Dickens grew up in Basin Pocket, going to school at Central Boys School, now known as Ipswich Central State School.

"I left school at 13, I had an apprenticeship as a signwriter, I eventually took over the business, but then after a while I went to work in the Public Works Department at Amberley, working on the RAAF base,” Mr Dickens said.

When he went back to working for himself, Mr Dickens was soon in demand as a painting contractor, working on private homes.

"My most memorable job was as a signwriter, I did the old bowling alley on Brisbane Street, I had to doa sign the full width of the building, there was no scaffolding in those days, I did it all on a ladder, it took about a week to finish.”

To many Ipswich resident though, he was 'the red cap man' at Big W in Booval, where he would mix paints to customer requests, until he retired in 2007.

Mrs Dickens was born at the Royal Brisbane Hospital on February 20, 1946, then growing up in North Ipswich, before she finished left Ipswich North State School when she was 13.

"I was allowed to start work in January 1960, a few weeks before my 14th birthday, I went to work at the North Ipswich Woollen Mills,” Mrs Dickens said.

"I rode my pushbike to work each day, it was dirty, hot work, I was in the mending department, I used to mend flaws in the rolls of material, all the dyes used to get into your skin.”

That first meeting was the start of a long courtship, with John and Shirley marrying on March 25, 1967, and moving into their new home at Brassall.

REAL LOVE: John and Shirley Dickens on their wedding day . LEFT: John and Shirley Dickens celebrate their 50th anniversary.
REAL LOVE: John and Shirley Dickens on their wedding day . LEFT: John and Shirley Dickens celebrate their 50th anniversary. Contributed

"We were there 34 years, before we moved here to Yamanto, our sons grew up there, they played football and hockey, so we worked in the canteens, all the things parents did, as well as playing tennis twice a week,” Mrs Dickens said.



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