By Jen Gourley
Rosemary Anderson and Earl Burchardt grew up on the same street in Biloela.
“I was one of his sister’s good mates at school,” Rose said. “He lived at 20 Callide Street and I lived at 4 Callide Street.”
After their worlds Callided (pardon the pun), they fell in love and were married on January 29, 1972, at the Methodist Church in Biloela.
Rose said they had wanted to be married at the Presbyterian Church but another young lady with marriage on her mind had booked it for her own wedding just two days earlier!
Fast forward exactly 50 years later to January 29, 2022, and Rose and Earl were gathered together again for another special ceremony – to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary and to renew their wedding vows.
Clearly a colourful character, Rose proudly declared she’d “pulled a swifty” on their four grown children who had no idea what their parents had organised.
“We started planning last year so we decided, ‘Nup, we’re not telling our kids what’s going on’. And we decided to renew our vows,” she said.
Unfortunately, their celebrant, a close friend from Moranbah, ended up in hospital and was unable to perform the ceremony. However, she emailed through the paperwork to Rose and Earl, and after some ruthless editing as some of it was “too sloppy”, they had their vows ready for the big event.
“We had Sherrie, Tanya, Natasha and Anthony stand beside us and we pulled out the paper and said, ‘Now, you’re gonna read this out. Work out how you’re gonna do it. Do a paragraph each and you can re-marry your mum and dad’.”
Rose said their children were shocked at this request, and one of them told her, “Why didn’t you tell me? I would have brought my glasses!”
But the sneaky ceremony went ahead at Hector Hall at Louisa Creek, near Hay Point, where Rose and Earl now live.
It was a special occasion with their family in attendance, including 8 of their 10 grandchildren, and lots of dear friends.
They renewed their vows at exactly the same time as they had been married in the Biloela Methodist Church, at 5pm. “Which was six o’clock then because of stupid daylight saving,” Rose said bluntly.
Same date, same time… another part of the ceremony that was the same was a family heirloom worn by Rose on her wedding day and again at their 50th wedding anniversary – a brooch that was more than 200 years old.
“It belonged to my mum, Olive Anderson,” Rose said. “It belonged to her family. When they left England on the boat, she (Olive) was about 10 years old. And her grandmother, I believe, gave it to her because she said, ‘Well, I’ll probably never see you again.’ So, Olive kept it and it became a very special family treasure.
So, same date, same time, same brooch… but one thing was different, according to Rose.
“When we got married… it RAINED. It stopped for me to get in the church. While we were in there it rained and as soon as we turned to come out, we’re thinking, ‘Oh no…’ But, it stopped for us to come out and get in the car, get photos and then we went to the School of Arts where we held our reception.”
You’d think dealing with rain on your wedding day might be enough drama for a bride and groom but there was more in store for the newlyweds.
“That first night, we had a car accident,” Rose said.
“Everything finished early and we decided, ‘Oh, we’ll go down to Jambin for a dance. We had two of our mates, they didn’t have a lift down, they were in the backseat. We came around the Rocky corner and I said to Earl, ‘Slow down!’ and he goes, ‘What?’ I said, ‘There’s a car in front of me and I think its passenger lights are on my side.’ He had no lights on. He was running on three wheels. The other wheel had no tyre on it… It cleaned us up, but we all survived.”
Rose and Earl lived in Biloela for a while but wherever Earl got a job, that’s where they went.
“His job might have finished on the Friday but come Monday he had a new job somewhere else and we’d packed up and go,” Rose said.
“He started work at 14 on a dairy farm and he’d never been out of a job until he retired… I think he was about 63.”
Rose and Earl’s great love is for country music and they have been judges at various country music festivals for many years. They’ve watched young singers up on the stage who’ve gone on to achieve wonderful things in the music industry, and they’ve found it so very rewarding.
A huge part of the local country music scene, Rose and Earl were awarded lifetime membership of the Sarina Country Music Club last year.
As Rose and Earl celebrated 50 golden years of marriage and renewed their vows in front of friends and family, their special party was fittingly filled with music and they all danced the night away.
- Tags: anniversary, Biloela, weddings