Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 10-02-2015 Contents Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 10
Couples share happy day, friendship
Des and Noreen Bird with Bill and Lee Mahoney. The two couples have been friends for more than 45 years
and are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries on the same day.
Photo: Matt Bedford
Two blind dates hundreds of
kilometres apart more than 50 years
ago have led to a combined centenary
of marriage celebrations to enjoy in
the capital on Valentine's Day.
Des and Noreen Bird and Bill and
Lee Mahoney were each set up by
friends in Melbourne and Dubbo
respectively in 1964.
The Mahoneys were wed in Bill's
hometown of Canberra at St
Christopher's Cathedral at 3pm on
February 13, and the Birds were
married in Ballarat at 3.30pm on the
same day the following year.
Three years later, the two couples
met through Manuka football club
when they moved to Canberra.
Their combined children have
grown up together, and their lives have
been entwined ever since.
Recalling their wedding day all
those years ago, the Mahoneys said
theirs was a pretty basic celebration.
"Nobody got drunk and fell on the
wedding cake or anything like that,
nothing really outstanding," Bill said.
Lee recalled the day in more detail.
She said the reception was held at
Hotel Canberra, now the Hyatt, with
90 guests. Her dress, which she still
has, was made from French ribbon
lace with a satin skirt and a long train
Noreen said her handmade dress
featured plenty of lace, buttons at the
back and a fitted skirt.
She recalled the proposal, which
happened after the two were "going
together" for about a year.
"We were sitting in the little
Volkswagen underneath where I was
living . . . Des said, well, I suppose we
could get engaged about here' -- he
drew a calendar -- and married about
here' and I said yes,'' she said.
That seemed to be all right and that
was the proposal."
The couples had to factor in Lent
and, most importantly, the football
season for the timing of their
The Mahoneys were married within
three months of the proposal, and the
Birds spent just six weeks organising
their big day.
Looking back on 50 years of
marriage, the couples said it wasn't all
They agreed it took hard work,
shared interests and, most of all,
"Today, I think young people walk
out too quickly," Bill said.
"They have a bit of a blow up and
go, bugger this. Whereas if you sit
down and sort things out you get over
it quickly and move on.
"As long as you marry the right
person," he added. "That's the key to
Ideas feed into
plans for future
The initial consultation for the update
to the Belconnen town centre master
plan closed on January 30.
The Belconnen Community Council
devoted much of the 12-week ideas-
gathering consultation period to
raising awareness and enabling
engagement in this important process.
Our suite of initiatives culminated
in a free sausage sizzle on January 29
in partnership with Belconnen
Community Service and Belconnen
Arts Centre. More than 100 people
attended and put forward their ideas
for the future of the town centre.
We look forward to the release of
the draft master plan -- on which the
community will have another chance
to have its say -- later in the year. Our
first public meeting for the year will be
held at 7.30pm on Tuesday in
Belconnen Library's upstairs
Emergency Services Agency
representatives will be presenting on
the new ambulance, fire and rescue
station which will be located off
Bindubi Street in Aranda.
Construction is expected to begin in
We will also have an initial
discussion about our revised
constitution, the draft of which can be
viewed on our website. The draft
proposes changes, including to our
membership rules, with the aim of
simplifying our operation and
processes, and we invite community
views on these proposed changes.
Visit our social media pages and
website for more information.
UNIT MARKS 10 YEARS
The ACT's Restorative Justice Unit
has just celebrated 10 years of
Restorative Justice has satisfied the
justice needs of victims of crime and
helping offenders to realise deeper
accountability for their offending.
Attorney-General Simon Corbell
said convenors and staff in the unit had
worked hard to bring together victims,
young offenders and their personal
supporters to address the impact of
crime. The ACT legislation had the
safeguards to protect the rights of
vulnerable participants while
maximising the potential for the
community to benefit from a safe
voluntary justice process.
"Satisfaction rates among
participants who attend conferences
are consistently over 95 per cent," he
Computers help children learn English
Lin Hour, 16, has been trained to
teach herself English and facilitate
the training of others girls in
Cambodia's Kandal province.
Laptop computers donated by
Canberrans two years ago are
transforming the lives of young
The Bluebird Program, a small
voluntary association that supports
childhood education, called for
donations of disused laptops from
ACT and Eurobodalla Coast
businesses and individuals.
About a dozen laptops were donated
and were loaded with audio visual
English language lessons to improve
language skills of impoverished
One of the children, Lin Hour, now
teaches English to children from a
village in the Kandal Province while
honing her own skills. Bluebird
Program spokesman Victor Green said
voluneers first came across Lin
carrying water to her family's hut
about six years ago.
"The program started about 7.5
years ago,'' he said.
"It is very pleasing because we have
been working on it for a number of
years and it has come to fruition.
It is a unique program.''
Mr Green said the development had
54 audio visual lessons which took
children all the way through their
Lin Hour is completing her last
two years at high school and has
received an education that would not
otherwise have been possible,'' he
The computerised lessons allow
Cambodian children in rural areas to
learn from someone who uses English
as a first language -- helping children
learn to pronounce words correctly.
Mr Green said older students
supported by the association had
undergone special training to use the
computers, programs and texts in order
to teach themselves to read, write,
listen and speak.
They have also been trained to
facilitate and teach their siblings and
others using this method,'' he said.
The program is continuing but more
old laptops are needed.
Mr Green said laptops which were
too old or slow to run the internet were
perfect for the audio visual English
If you would like to donate your old
laptop, to enable a Cambodian child to
learn English, email
21 & 22 MARCH
NORMALLY $295 -- NOW $195
GRIFFITH SHOPS, CANBERRA | 02 6295 2323
Marist College Canberra is seeking
to employ a licensed bus driver on a
casual basis, mostly during school hours.
Applicants must have a HR licence with
a minumum of ve years experience
and Working With Vulnerable People
Refer to www.maristc.act.edu.au for
more details or contact Trevor Antram
on 0408 881 885.
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