GOLDEN RELATIONSHIP: Heather and Darrell Patullo met on Shingley Beach in April 1968. Today, they celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
GOLDEN RELATIONSHIP: Heather and Darrell Patullo met on Shingley Beach in April 1968. Today, they celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Georgia Simpson

When Heather met Darrell

IT WAS six months and nine days from the moment Heather Welgus met Darrell Patullo on Shingley Beach, till the moment they wed at St Catherine's Church in Proserpine.

"The first thing I remember was seeing her in a bikini,” Darrell said.

Mr Patullo thought it was white, Mrs Patullo maintains it was blue. But either way, you could say it was love at first sight.

"He just expected us to get married I think, he didn't really ask me,” Mrs Patullo said.

"I was really hoping that it would happen though.”

Today Mr and Mrs Patullo will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

"Our wedding was quite a big celebration; Darrell was one of 13 and I was one of seven,” she said.

"We had the reception at the family farm in Gregory River, which is were we still live today.”

Mrs Patullo was never one to follow the rule book.

"My bridesmaids wore short pink and blue dresses which was a big no-no in 1968!” she said.

Over the last 50 years, they've weathered cyclones and droughts.

"We lost everything in Cyclone Ada, and the downturn in the cane industry in the '70s was hard, but we got through it all without any serious disagreements,” Mrs Patullo said.

"I think we've done pretty well out here - four kids and 10 grandchildren and we're all still talking,” Mr Patullo said.

Over the years Mrs Patullo said she has learnt that compromise is key and Mr Patullo believes that keeping busy, and having fun is the recipe to a successful marriage.

"If you have an argument, it's all over and done within an hour, you can't stew on things otherwise it'll get worse,” he said.

Mr Patullo said he is excited to be celebrating the milestone.

"When you're heading towards 80, it takes you a fair bit to get excited,” he said.

Mr Patullo agreed, that Mrs Patullo is the love of his life.

"The only love I've had for the last 50 years anyway.”