Celebrating 68 years of marriage

Two born and bred Cairns locals, who are now both residents at Mercy Place Cairns (Bethlehem), will celebrate 68 years of marriage on 11 December, with the pair quick to point out that ‘love never rusts’.

Patricia and Pete Hayes were married at Saint Monica’s Cathedral in 1954, having both been born in the town, Pete entering the world at a private Gatton Street residence on 28 October 1931, and Patricia the next year at one of the then five private hospitals in the town.

The couple went on to meet when both were working at Cairns District Hospital – Pete as a dental mechanic and Patricia as a dental nurse.

“It wasn’t a very romantic proposal,” Patricia laughs.

“Pete asked me if I’d like a new job which included making three meals a day, and my immediate reaction was ‘no’. But then, he went away for a while and I realised I missed him terribly, so when he came back I said ‘if that job’s still going, I’ll take it for $2 a week’, and that was that.

“I guess I made a pretty good decision …”

“Of course, that was 68 years ago now, so I guess I made a pretty good decision because we’re still here and together.”

According to the couple, who went on to have five daughters and two sons, the secret to a happy marriage is to give and take, really talk about things and, according to Pete, ‘just do as you’re told’!

“We now have 16 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren, so being devoted to our family has been a big thing for us,” says Pete, who also worked for the flying dental service for many years, which saw him travel extensively around the Cape York Peninsula, after which he worked for the ambulance service for nine years and then owned a newsagency in Abbott St, Cairns, for more than 20 years.

“During our marriage we moved to Malanda in the Tablelands and then Atherton, but we are Cairns locals through and through and we’re happy to be back in town.”

Mercy Place Cairns pays tribute

Mercy Place Cairns (Bethlehem) General Manager Precinct Zubair Coovadia says Patricia and Pete continue to have a wonderful partnership which is hallmarked by true commitment and respect for each other, as well as love.

“They are well-known in our Mercy Health community and are clearly still devoted to each other in their new home with us at Mercy Place Cairns (Bethlehem),” he says.

“I’m sure there will be some reminiscing and perhaps a trip down memory lane with their family during their anniversary celebrations.”