Tweed Waters

Full circle – Home is where the heart is for long-time sweethearts

Full circle - Home is where the heart is for long-time sweethearts

GRAEME AND MAREE BARR’S ROMANCE AND LIVES HAVE GONE THE FULL CIRCLE WITH BOTH STARTING OUT LIFE ON THE TWEED, MOVING TO SYDNEY, THEN LISMORE AND NOW – HAVING RECENTLY CELEBRATED THEIR 52ND WEDDING ANNIVERSARY – BACK TO WHERE IT ALL BEGAN, SETTLING INTO A BRAND-NEW HOME AT GEMLIFE TWEED WATERS.

“After all these years, we wanted to come home to retire in a place we knew well and where many of our friends still live,” said Maree.

Despite both growing up in the area, Murwillumbah-born Maree and Graeme, who was raised in Kingscliff, didn’t get together until they both moved to Sydney in 1971 with some other close friends.

Graeme admits he knew of Maree before they met but it wasn’t until the move to Sydney with a group of mates from Murwillumbah that their eyes first locked, they fell in love, and began life’s journey together.

“It wasn’t love at first sight,” said a modest Maree. “But we did pair off and as time went on our feelings for each other grew. And we are still together 52 years later!”

After ten months together, the couple were married in South Murwillumbah on 4 December 1971 and moved to Lismore where Graeme continued his work with the Australian Post Office – a profession he entered at the age of 16 as a telegram boy in Kingscliff.

The couple have two daughters, Natalie and Kate, as well as three grandchildren Felix 17, Tully 14 and Baxter 5.

ingerbread Recipe “Natalie’s family are at Lennox Head and Kate’s are in Surfers Paradise, so the family is not far away which is how we like it,” said Maree, 71 and Graeme, 72.

Despite the longevity of their marriage, neither will admit to being diehard romantics, although Maree recalls one Valentine’s Day while camping in Byron Bay.

“Graeme surprised me with a beautiful ring and I was really chuffed to think he would do something like that,” she said.

Still possessing a quick wit and obviously very much in love with Maree, Graeme says the couple may not be ones for holding hands all the time, but they have a mutual respect like no other. He also admits to being an impulse buyer.

“If I know Maree would like something, I will just go out and buy it. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion. We also enjoy going out for a meal on anniversaries and Valentine’s Day, although – to be honest – we feel every day is Valentine’s Day for us.”

Graeme’s eyes welled up while recounting a health scare Maree went through after being diagnosed seven years ago with multiple myeloma (cancer of the bone marrow) for which she is now in remission.

Both are looking forward to moving into their new home at GemLife Tweed Waters in a few months’ time where Maree is keen to get into a healthy exercise regime including Zumba, fitness classes and walking.

“We’ve been living in a caravan for the past two years so it will be fabulous to finally be in our own home again and be able to entertain our friends and family. Being so close to the beach is fabulous too. We can’t wait!”

As for their secret to still being together after 52 years: “We are really good mates and spend a lot of time together. We enjoy one another’s company, like the same things, and bounce off each other. We laugh and cry together. Life couldn’t be any better!”