Greenbank couple Diane and Bruce Fraser celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on September 4, 2021.
Their golden anniversary was a testament to their commitment and determination to make their marriage go the distance.
Bruce, 73, and Diane, 70, first met at the Piccadilly Arcade in Brisbane in 1970.
Bruce, who was 22 at the time, was a drummer on a mission to re-form a band with a friend.
“I put out an advert in the paper, and Diane and her friend responded to the ad, so we met to have a discussion about the membership of the band,” Bruce said.
“I saw this lovely girl sitting across from me at the coffee shop, and I thought ‘I’d like to get to know her better,’.”
Bruce began working in Gladstone shortly afterwards, but returned to Brisbane every weekend to see Diane.
“It wasn’t to see my parents,” he joked.
The couple spent their first date at TeenScene in the city.
“We went to watch a band and dance,” Diane said.
In April 1971 after a night out in Brisbane City, Bruce proposed to Diane inside his car, which was “a lovely Valiant Pacer”.
Five months later on September 4, 1971, Bruce Fraser and Diane Warbrick got married at the Redcliffe Anglican Church.
“She was a beautiful bride; a lot of care and attention had been made to detail,” Bruce said.
“I was very scared; there’s no handbook for grooms!”
Diane wore a white wedding dress, and Bruce still owns the suit he wore on the day.
“He looked gorgeous too; he had a maroon suit,” Diane said.
Bruce said it was a small ceremony.
“We got married on a shoestring budget; it was a big act of faith, and we had to sell the Valiant Pacer,” he said.
“Luckily I became a tradesman shortly before.
“My wild mates tied cans to the panel van that was our wedding car, which was also the band wagon.”
The ceremony was followed by a small reception at the Pierre’s Mill in Kippa Ring.
“We had communion, because we wanted that to be our first meal together,” Diane said.
Diane and Bruce moved into their first home in Oxley in 1972 which cost $12’600 to purchase.
There they raised four young children: Colin, Michelle, Cathy and Ian.
They built a new home on a one-acre block in Forestdale in 1982 and had a fifth child, Julie.
“It was a lot of work at Forestdale … we had about 110 trees,” Bruce said.
“The children had plenty of space to run around.”
Bruce and Diane joined a worship team at the Logan West Uniting Church, and occasionally also travelled to other churches to lead worship.
Diane said three important things in a successful relationship were love, respect, and friendship.
“I think that the main thing is the shared faith, and the shared belief that marriage is a lifetime commitment,” she said.
Bruce said it was important not to let little things become a barrier in a relationship, including stress caused by work and study commitments.
“You’ve got to work at marriage … you share the good and the bad,” he said.
“You may not always like what you’re going through at times.
“I didn’t always like it when Diane went to university –,”
“But he liked it when I brought home the money!” Diane joked.
Some of the challenges they faced included business pressures, raising a family, managing the cost of living, choosing a home, and disagreements, but Bruce said they didn’t let it get in the way of their marriage.
They worked every day to keep their relationship alive in both big and small ways.
“Communication is important, as well as keeping the needs of the other person in mind,” Bruce said.
“You try to get the opportunity to escape from your normal life – Mount Tamborine is a good refuge, or an occasional cruise.”
Diane said they always enjoyed going out for dinner for special occasions.
“We write little notes if we’re not going to see each other sometimes, if he’s going off early in the morning and I’m sleeping in,” she said.
“We’ve had to work around shifts because of my work as a registered nurse.”
Bruce owned an elevator business, and Diane raised their children at home.
“To me, the most important role in life was being a wife and a mother,” Diane said.
When their youngest daughter went to high school, Diane decided to study nursing at university.
She worked as a registered nurse for 20 years and retired in 2021.
Bruce, Diane, and her mother Sylvia attend New Beith Baptist Church in Greenbank, who threw confetti in celebration of their anniversary.
50 years after their wedding day, they continue to enjoy the company of their five adult children and their spouses, who are now in their 30-40’s.
They have 17 grandchildren between the ages of two and 23.
“They’re all wonderfully individual children, and very loved – as are the grandchildren” Diane said.
Bruce said they were very pleased to see how well their family had bonded with one another.
“From the oldest grandchild down to the youngest, we have a personal relationship with each of them,” he said.
Their acreage home in Greenbank is now the main hotspot for family events.
Diane said she always wanted her children and grandchildren to feel like they had a second home they could come to any time.
“We have our family gatherings, and its sort of a wonderful chaos,” Diane said.
“Our home here becomes a focal point for party central,” Bruce said.