MILESTONE: Mal and Neta O’Brien.
MILESTONE: Mal and Neta O’Brien. David Nielsen

Raceview pair set to celebrate 60 years of wedded bliss

YOU wouldn't pick Mal O'Brien as the roller skating type.

Yet, in his younger years, Mr O'Brien was quite nimble on the rink - nimble enough to pick up the chicks anyway.

The 81-year-old Raceview retiree met his future wife Neta, now 79, on a Hervey Bay skating rink in early 1952.

Within nine months the pair had tied the knot, meaning that they celebrated 60 years of marriage this week.

"I guess I must have thought that she was a pretty good sort at the time," Mr O'Brien said.

"I think I took her up for a skate - in those days you would partner up to do waltzes and that sort of thing.

"I never tried anything too showy - otherwise I probably would have had a buster."

Mal sealed the deal by inviting Neta to go motorbike riding with him.

Soon the couple was boarding in the same house - so marriage wasn't too far of a stretch.

They were married at the Lutheran church in Torquay, near Hervey Bay, on November 8, 1952.

"We hired a brand new black Ford taxi for the wedding," Mr O'Brien said.

"At one point the thing wouldn't start for some reason so here we were, in our suits, pushing a brand new car along the road trying to clutch start it."

Mal was a butcher during the early months of married life, but got sick of the low wages, so he tried his luck cutting cane up in Proserpine for a while.

Neta fell pregnant with the first of four children up in cane country.

They eventually moved to Ipswich in 1961, living in East Ipswich for 30 years before shifting across to Raceview.

Mal ran his own tyre transport business.

"Time has gone past so fast I don't really know what has happened," Mr O'Brien said.

The couple will celebrate their 60 years together with family on November 25.

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