EVERLASTING LOVE: Keith and Gwen McEwan celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary on February 10.
EVERLASTING LOVE: Keith and Gwen McEwan celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary on February 10.

Love still well and truly alive after 75 years

LONG before the age of dating apps and social media, eligible bachelors would saunter on down to their nearest pub or local dance in the hope of wooing a pretty lady.

A romance that has spanned seven decades and four generations all started at the Royal Hotel in Surat in the 1940s, when one man found courage to strike up a conversation with the woman who worked behind the bar.

Keith and Gwen McEwan celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary on February 10 at their daughter and son-in-law Libby and Lionel Outen's home in Roma, where they live.

The incredible milestone brought family members from throughout Queensland to learn the secret of longevity in marriage.

The couple, now 94 and 92, married in 1949 in Meandarra and were blessed with eight children. They now boast 26 grandchildren, 43 great-grandchildren and 21 great-great- grandchildren.

"I had to work our wedding morning until 11 and then rode a pushbike 40 miles to the Aranui Glenmorgan property," Mr McEwan recalled.

"It was a quiet wedding, only about a dozen of us, but we sure had a big feast."

Mr McEwan said he wouldn't change a thing about the highs and lows of their journey.

"She used to love to dance. I couldn't dance so she would have some fun with the other boys, but I'd always be there to take her home," he said.

"We had some pretty good years but some were pretty tough. There were lean years where we didn't have a lot of money and we were broke a few times.

"We had to look after each other. We used to have a deal with a shop in Toowoomba to buy all the rotten fruit and veg to feed the kids."

Keith was a shearer throughout his working years and Gwen was a domestic at Roma Hospital, all while raising their eight children.

"I would work away in Charleville or Cunnamulla so I would be away two to three months at a time," Mr McEwan said.

"I was away a lot but had to be home at least eight times - or someone was!"

Mr McEwan, who has been brewing his own beer for the past two decades, said the secret to a long, happy marriage was sticking by one another when times were tough, adding that during those times there was nothing a cold frothy drink couldn't fix.

"We used to fight a lot, so I drank a lot. She was always the winner of the fights," he said.

The couple's fifth oldest, daughter Libby, said her favourite memory of growing up was the family holiday to Redcliffe every Christmas.

"We never had any money but every year we would go to Redcliffe and pitch our marquee tent to fit the whole family. We always had fun."

Mrs Outen said her parents reaching such a milestone was truly inspiring, proving love could survive any obstacle.

"They still go to bed every night holding hands," she said.



Keith and Gwen McEwan and their family.
Keith and Gwen McEwan and their family.