LIFETIME TOGETHER: John and Elizabeth Elder were buried at the Wardell cemetery.
LIFETIME TOGETHER: John and Elizabeth Elder were buried at the Wardell cemetery. Samantha Elley

Husband, wife die just days apart after 67 years of marriage

AFTER 67 years of marriage, John and Elizabeth Elder were only separated for three days before they were buried together in the Presbyterian section of the Wardell cemetery.

Elizabeth had predeceased John on September 9, 1947 and he soon followed on September 12 of the same year.

John was born in Geelong, Victoria, coming to the Richmond area with his parents when he was a year old.

At 11, he was driving bullock teams and later took on timber getting.

Elizabeth Ann McDonald was born in the Shoalhaven area.

The couple married in Lismore in 1880 and had three daughters (one died five years earlier) and two sons.

Elizabeth was described as a "splendid example of a true Christian woman”, while John was seen as "one of God's quiet men” who had "a briefly apt sentence with a world of meaning”.

Life would not have been easy for these pioneers but they were hard workers and took great enjoyment in the simple pleasures.

It was 27 years earlier when John nearly left Elizabeth too soon.

He had been driving a dray loaded with corn from Wardell to Pimlico when he had a heart seizure.

He fell off the dray and, in so doing, broke three ribs and bruised himself badly.

He managed to get himself back on the dray and proceeded towards his son's house at Pimlico.

If not for the help of neighbours Mrs Vardy and Mr Leeson, who noticed he was not well and drove him back to his place at Ballina, the situation could have been fatal.

The couple had celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in 1940 at their address at Tamar Street in Ballina.

REFERENCES: Death of Ballina pioneer, The Northern Star, September 15, 1947; A tribute to two pioneers, The Northern Star, September 16, 1947; Marriages and Births, bdm.nsw.gov.au; District News, The Northern Star, August 9, 1920; Diamond Wedding, The Northern Star, July 1, 1940.



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