Merseysiders' marriage stands the test of time
ABOUT this time 60 years ago, Bob and Lea Stewart were on the other side of the planet, in a church standing a metre deep in snow as they tied the knot.
Things will be a little different when they celebrate their milestone anniversary at Willowbank this weekend.
Never mind the fact it will be about 35 degrees hotter, the Stewarts will be surrounded by a growing clan that sprouted when the pair followed up on a newspaper advertisement promoting the good life in Australia 42 years ago.
Having made a home here, they say there's no way they would ever go back to Liverpool.
"My sister had come out to Australia the year before," Lea recalled.
"Mum went to visit her, and came back saying how wonderful it was.
"Then one day I saw an advertisement in the paper promoting immigration to Australia.
"I said to Bob 'Let's just give it a go and if we don't like it, we can always go back'."
But with a growing family that included school age kids Lyn, Janet and Andrew, the Stewarts quickly adapted to Brisbane life.
On the occasions that they went back to Liverpool to catch up with family, the kids became homesick for their adopted country down under.
Bob worked for Glassworks in South Brisbane and Lea became a school cleaner after she met the principal at her kids' school and found out he was also a Welshman.
"I'd only been in Australia five days and he offered me the job when he realised I was also Welsh," Lea said.
"I ended up working there for 25 years on a split shift, which kept my days open to work as a florist."
Originally from the south of Wales, Lea's family moved to Liverpool when she was a girl and she crossed paths with Bob when they were just 14.
They were engaged at the age of 18 and married at the Church of the Good Shepherd in freezing Liverpool on January 10, 1959.
After relocating to Brisbane, the couple travelled extensively around the world and settled at Willowbank after their children left the nest to start their own families.
They now boast eight grandchildren and two (soon to be four) great-grandchildren.
Together they will celebrate the occasion at Willowbank this Saturday, January 19.