HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: Ron and Eileen Woodall have been married for 75 years.
HAPPY ANNIVERSARY: Ron and Eileen Woodall have been married for 75 years. Contributed

Wartime marriage lasts 75 years

RON and Eileen Woodall are celebrating a remarkable achievement this week - they have been married for 75 years.

It was Wednesday, June 14, 1944, when Miss Eileen Rodgers married Ronald Woodall at St Patrick's Catholic Church, River St.

She wore a two-tiered veil of cut tulle artistically arranged on a coronet of pearls. It enveloped the rich satin bridal gown. The skirt was fully flared and slightly trained, and the high-waisted effect fitted into a slightly shirred bodice. Tiny ruchings completed the neckline and long sleeves.

She carried gladioli tied with satin ribbon.

Ron and Eileen Woodall (nee Rodgers) were married in Mackay on June 14, 1944.
Ron and Eileen Woodall (nee Rodgers) were married in Mackay on June 14, 1944. Contributed

Given away by her father Teddy Rodgers, the bride had her two sisters as attendants, Daisy Barry and Elaine Hogan.

Mrs Barry chose a floor length frock of lemon satin. The heart shaped neck line and short puffed sleeves were finished with fine kiltings. She added a corsage of red polyantha roses. Her shoulder length veil of matching tulle was worn with red roses. She carried a shower bouquet of sweet peas.

Elaine Hogan's (nee Rodgers) frock of Ciel blue satin was similarly designed. She wore a corsage of sweet peas, and her matching veil was worn with pink roses. Her bouquet was also of sweet peas.

Percy Woodall was best man, and George Badrick groomsman.

The reception of more than 60 guests was held in the Parish Hall, chaired by Rev Father Durham.

For her going away frock the bride chose Madonna blue Jersona, worn with matching toque and accessories. The newlyweds honeymooned with a short holiday in Brisbane.

Eileen was one of 10 children of Teddy and Eileen Rodgers of the Cremorne. Ron was one of eight children of Albert and Violet Woodall of Inverlaw.

Eileen's father and brothers were well-known champion cyclists throughout Australia, with racing careers spanning from about 1910 until the 1950s.

The Rodgers family lived and worked at a sawmill in a remote area near Eton in the early 1930s. A young Eileen supervised correspondence lessons for her three younger siblings.

The Rodgers moved to a small home at the Cremorne in Mackay in the mid 1930s and Eileen and some of her siblings were educated at the convent in River Street.

Her father arranged for what is now known as the Roundhouse on Barnes Creek Road to be built about1940. The inner section of the unique building was constructed around the tall circular wooden walls of the family's 1930s cycling sideshow.

Eileen in front of the Rodgers home at Cremorne, Mackay, circa 1940.
Eileen in front of the Rodgers home at Cremorne, Mackay, circa 1940. Contributed

Eileen and the rest of the Rodgers children enjoyed swimming, playing or fishing in the nearby Pioneer River.

During World War II in the early 1940s, Eileen worked at Hamilton's Bakery, North Mackay, then as a telephonist at the PMG exchange in the old Post Office building in River Street.

She was one of a team of helpers at the refreshment rooms at the Railway station when the troop trains would arrive at any hour.

Eileen and other Rodgers family members were among the locals who performed at concerts held in the Red Shield Hall in Wood Street to entertain American troops on leave in Mackay.

It was while at the Red Shield Hall she met military policeman Ron.

After their marriage the couple returned to Ron's family's farm near Kingaroy.

They had children, Ron Woodall jnr (dec), Maurice (Beau) Woodall, Fay Cooper and Ruth Smith.

Ron joined the police force in Brisbane in 1953.

He later transferred to Mackay and the Woodalls returned to live in Malcolmson St until the early 1960s.

Ron was one of the emergency workers in Mackay during the February 1958 flood. He was photographed assisting one of the boatloads of people rescued from the Cremorne area.

Their youngest daughter Ruth was born in Mackay and in the early 1960s the family went south once more, where Ron and Eileen continued in their careers as police officer and telephonist in Murgon and Brisbane.

Over the years while raising their four children, Eileen continued singing in concerts, church choirs and musical comedies.

Ron worked in the Fortitude Valley and Banyo Stations in Brisbane until he retired from the Police Force in the 1980s.

They have 13 grandchildren, 33 great-grandchildren, and four great-great grandchildren.

Ron and Eileen recently celebrated their 96th and 93rd birthdays.

Eileen's brother Doug Rodgers, of Brisbane, will celebrate with Eileen while they remember their eight siblings.

While Ron's brother, Cecil Woodall of Inverlaw sent his congratulations for this special occasion.

It seems longevity isn't anything new in Ron's family. His parents were married for 71 years, while his Badrick grandparents were married for 61 years and his Woodall grandparents for 59 years.