What’s the secret to a 60-year marriage?
Give and take, according to Cecilia and Errol Doolan, who celebrated their diamond jubilee at Kootingal Bowling Club over the weekend.
But it doesn’t feel like 60 years.
“It’s gone that quick, I don’t even know where it’s gone,” Mrs Doolan said.
“It doesn’t feel like 60 years – it feels like 110,” Mr Doolan quipped.
It doesn’t take a mathematician to work out that six decades is a long time for anyone to spend by another person’s side, but Mrs Doolan said they’ve “never had any problems whatsoever”.
“We think the same, we like the same things,” Mrs Doolan said.
“It’s just one of those things I suppose, it falls into place,” Mr Doolan said.
The pair grew up in the township of Attunga. Mr Doolan lived on a farm, where Mrs Doolan's father use to shear sheep.
“On this particularly day, dad came home and he said Errol would like to take you out,” Mrs Doolan said.
“Which was silly,” Mr Doolan playfully interjected.
They got married at St John’s Church in Tamworth on May 11, 1957.
And they didn’t just live together, they worked together, owning or managing almost 20 motels across NSW and Queensland.
While some couples might struggle being partners in life and in business, it was a breeze for the Doolans.
“We knew, living in a double storey hotel, you leave your problems behind upstairs when you come down to the bar,” Mr Doolan said
“You don’t bring your problems from up there to the people you’re serving and so fore – but we’ve had no problems.
After travelling Australia for 12 months in a caravan, they decided to come back to Tamworth, buying 100-acre block near the airport.
“We were there for seven years, then we sold that and bought the motel at Kootingal,” Mrs Doolan said.
“We were at the Kootingal motel 10 years, then we retired from there and built a home in Kootingal, and that’s where we still are.
“We’ve been living in Kootingal for 26 years.”
The pair have lived in more than a dozen towns and cities, and have travelled Australia “three and a half times”, but they say nothing beats Kootingal.
“We love it – it won,” Mr Doolan said.
“We’re quite happy here,” Ms Doolan said.
While the traditional 60th anniversary gift is a diamond, the happy couple settled for getting most of their family together to celebrate.
“Not all of them, or we’d be looking at 150 people – we come from a big family,” Mrs Doolan said, laughing.
“We’ve got two sons, six grand kids and four great-grand kids.”