Looking back at 50 years of marriage
OFTEN, when it comes to love stories, it is the man who goes off and serves in the armed forces while the woman waits at home. In the case of Allan and Sue Crawford, it was the other way around.
Mrs Crawford wanted to experience adventure before she settled down so she joined the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service and became a weapons analyst and radar plotter.
Today Mrs Crawford and her husband Allan celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. They were married on June 27, 1970, in Church of the Holy Cross, Eton, by Father O’Connell.
“I wore a silk gown with lace sleeves and a train,” Mrs Crawford said.
A headpiece of artificial roses accompanied her short veil.
“My bouquet was made of Cooktown orchids brought down from Cairns,” she said.
A reception was held at Mr Crawford’s family hotel, the former Eton Range Hotel.
Mr Crawford was born in Mackay but relocated to Cairns as a child and later worked as an apprentice panel beater at a Ford dealership in Mt Isa. It was there he met Sue Hayward, a spare parts clerk in 1965
During their relationship Mr Crawford was selected for National Service but was released from duty and stayed in Mt Isa.
Mrs Crawford had an urge to join the navy before Mr Crawford’s selection, and even though he did not serve, she still followed her dreams.
Mrs Crawford spent three years with WRAN where she helped in analysing the accuracy of aerial bomb drops and firing off naval ships.
“Allan came to Sydney to see me, and I thought I shouldn’t let this good-looking guy get away,” Mrs Crawford said.
She left the service but remained in the reserves for four years.
After the couple was married, they lived in a 22-foot caravan which was pulled by Mr Crawford’s pride and joy, a 1956 Ford Customline.
“I had to learn to cook,” Mrs Crawford laughed.
The caravan was set up in Sarina for a time while Mr Crawford worked on the Goonyella railway system at Hay Point.
Later the couple relocated to Eton to help with the family hotel.
They had two children, Ian and Melanie.
Through her daughter’s netball playing, Mrs Crawford became a netball coach for Souths and the Mackay senior B side.
“We did a lot of travelling,” she said.
Mrs Crawford was diagnosed with cancer in her upper leg in 2012 and underwent surgery and radiation treatment.
The couple will celebrate their wedding anniversary with dinner at Sorbellos.
Mrs Crawford said the secret to a long marriage was tolerance.
“It was hard for the first five years. You have to adjust to each other, learn to adapt,” she said.
“It’s a serious commitment, and we all have our faults and failings.”
Mr Crawford added he had been away working a lot and that added pressure on any marriage.
They found their routine and balance and the marriage has lasted for half a century.