60 YEARS OF MARRIAGE: Dawn and Bill Lord reflect on life on the land and a different Australia.
60 YEARS OF MARRIAGE: Dawn and Bill Lord reflect on life on the land and a different Australia. Alistair Brightman

The story of Bill and Dawn Lord... love, farming and life

IT WAS the age of riding horses to school, outside toilets and using ice chests before refrigerators were available.

In the country Queensland town of Gayndah, Dawn Meyer was a catch.

The daughter of Philip and Grace Meyer, she was farm-strong, a great athlete and smart enough to win a scholarship to Brisbane.

At 85, the same looks which won her Queen of Gayndah in a local pageant, have not deserted her as she still sports her unmistakeable smile.

 

Dawn as Queen of Gayndah.
Dawn as Queen of Gayndah.

It's little wonder Bill Lord fell in love.

The couple was born into a different Australia.

They reflect on this and 60 years of marriage as they sit in their daughter's Hervey Bay home.

 

Bill and Dawn Lord celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary earlier this year.
Bill and Dawn Lord celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary earlier this year.

As a child, Dawn frequented Hervey Bay when it was still a fishing village to visit her grandparents.

"They started in Maryborough and retired to Hervey Bay which was a quiet small town at the time," she said.

"Now I think it is the opposite. I remember going to Maryborough for ice-cream at Kings Cafe in the industrial hub."

For Dawn, who is now retired with her husband in Toowoomba, the Fraser Coast will always contain a feeling of home.

"It was only on Monday I found my grandmother's grave in Maryborough cemetery for the first time," she said.

"I can't describe the feeling. I was so excited to find it but also sad."

Now aged 86, Bill, the son of Stan and Gwen Lord, is a product of Biggenden.

Bill had polio and meningitis as a child but went on to be a top class cricketer for the state and a tennis player.

 

Bill Lord when he was part of Toowoomba Grammar School's first 11 cricket team.
Bill Lord when he was part of Toowoomba Grammar School's first 11 cricket team.

Like Dawn, farming was in his blood and after finishing Junior year (year 10) at Toowoomba Grammar School, he gave up a professional cricket career to return to the region and work for his father.

Tennis brought the two together.

Bill was a strapping up and coming player doing the country rounds and Dawn the secretary of Gayndah Tennis Club.

They married in Gayndah on April 12, 1958 and the rest is history.

 

Bill Lord and Dawn Lord (nee Meyer) celebrate 60 years of marriage.
Bill Lord and Dawn Lord (nee Meyer) celebrate 60 years of marriage.

Dawn had to give up her government job when she was married in her mid 20s.

"Married women weren't allowed to work in government jobs at the time," she explained.

"I would have liked to have kept working."

Bill went from farm work to tennis coaching to running orchids.

"I was very lucky to be part of the first artificially inseminated cattle project in Queensland," he said.

"It was a big deal at the time, go to Brisbane and get trained and then pull on the long gloves up to my elbows."

Asked about the evolution of farming techniques, Bill said "I don't know if I could do it now... back then you bought your cattle and if it rained they reproduced and if it didn't they died - you did not feed them grain or anything.

"Farming has come such a long way."

Forever a country boy at heart, Bill said he misses the land.

Recently diagnosed with Parkinson's he finds walking difficult and enjoys the freedom his electric wheelchair brings.

Earlier this year in Hervey Bay Bill said he wanted to ride a horse one last time in his home area.

 

Bill Lord riding a horse once last time at the tender age of 86.
Bill Lord riding a horse once last time at the tender age of 86.

And ride he did.

Bill and Dawn have two sons, Leslie and Rodney, who both live in Toowoomba, and daughter Leanne who lives in Hervey Bay.

 

Dawn and Bill Lord with their three children: Leslie, Rodney and Leanne.
Dawn and Bill Lord with their three children: Leslie, Rodney and Leanne.

They are the proud grandparents of two grandsons and four great-grand daughters.



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