STRONG BOND: John and Hilda Smidt celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary today.
STRONG BOND: John and Hilda Smidt celebrate their 65th wedding anniversary today.

65 years, still going strong

TODAY marks the 65th wedding anniversary of Hilda and John Smidt.

The Grafton couple was married on January 2, 1954 at St Stephen's Presbyterian Church, South Grafton by Reverend McLeod.

The wedding party included the bride's sister Jocelyn, the groom's brother Frank as best man and they also had a flower girl.

It was a very hot day followed by a storm which caused power failure during the reception. A few months later came 'the big flood' of 1954 - one of many in the Clarence.

"We met at The Criterion, which was a hall used for dances held weekly,” Hilda said.

John courted Hilda, picking her up for dances with his motorbike and side car.

He was serving his mechanical apprenticeship at Munn's Garage when they met.

He left once he completed his apprenticeship to work with a local business where he serviced tractors by travelling to farms throughout the Clarence Valley.

To improve his skills, John undertook a tractor course in Sydney which saw him achieve top marks in the state. He then went on to join the NRE (Northern Rivers Electrical) in Grafton and undertook further studies at TAFE to become a qualified diesel mechanic. John remained at NRE until his retirement.

Hilda worked in retail at stores including Vienna Style, Bloods Grafton and later managing a department within Gerard's Department Store.

She and John have a son, a daughter and a recently married grandson.

The couple says they feel blessed with their 65 years of a good and happy marriage.