Still on track
Wednesday, 20th January, 2016
By Michael Murphy
June Carter met her long-time husband and best friend after one of his mates approached her at a dance school almost 70 years ago.
“We were at Andy Holbert’s dance class in the tennis hall when we were young, and we were friends right through school,” June said.
“I was approached through a friend of his who said: ‘Ronnie Carter would like to take you home’.”
Ron not only took June home, he built her one in Morgan Street, and today they celebrate 60 years of marriage in the same home where they have lived all their married life.
It was 1955 when they began building the house. Ken Rosewall beat Lew Hoad for the 43rd Men’s Australian Championships, Elvis Presley made his first TV appearance, and Robert Menzies was the Prime Minister of Australia (midway through his second stint).
Ron was shovelling coal for the Silverton Tramway Company during the day, building the house after work and on weekends.
“We bought a bare block at the council auctions, they auctioned all these blocks off, we picked out a pretty picture from a magazine and said we will build that,” Ron said.
“We had someone draw up the plans,” said June. “And Ron’s father was a carpenter, he helped, then we sought of let out different stages of the work. We put it all up ourselves.”
June was a dab hand on the cement mixer.
“And then we got married,” Ron added.
They married at the Methodist Church in Oxide Street - a “stinking hot” day - and then made their way to the railway station to catch the Menindee Shopping Special, a steam-hauled train with three wooden carriages. (They had sunk all their money into the house and railway worker Ron got free train travel.)
The train took them to Parkes and they travelled on to Sydney to spend their honeymoon at the Hotel Pacific in Manly.
The couple settled down and had two children, Peter, the eldest, a mining engineer who studied at the local university, and Vicki, who is a school teacher in Brisbane. They also have four grandchildren and two great grandchildren (whom they visit every year, via the Outback Explorer to Sydney).
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From Front Page
Ron loves his trains. He spent 50 years with the Silverton Tramway Company, a company initially conceived to transport ore from Silverton and Broken Hill to smelters in Port Pirie.
After Ron retired, the couple travelled the world, managing to take in Europe, the United States and Canada by rail. (For the record, the Eurostar - a train that hits the tracks under the English Channel - is the fastest train Ron’s ever had the pleasure to ride.)
Ron was instrumental in establishing the Sulphide Street Railway Museum.
“I have been involved in saving up for the old station since 1949,” Ron said.
“I was using all this old stuff and saved it all up and we talked the management into donating it to the city, and we put it all together.
“I was chairman of it for about 30 years.”
June said she didn’t remember actually volunteering to work at the museum, but has managed to sink a lot of time into it.
“When the company finished in 1970, a lot of people were souveniring things, my cupboards were full of photos and I was pleased when the museum was opened so we could put them down there,” June said.
The couple spends two days a week at the museum, and June also volunteers at the Family History centre at the Crystal Street Railway Station. She’s currently investigating Jabez Wright, the first Labor Mayor of Broken Hill who was largely responsible for the city’s first tramway system.
“We love it,” Ron said. “We love Broken Hill and we love putting the Broken Hill history together.”
June said the couple will never leave Broken Hill.
“If you are feeling a bit down you can go over to the shopping centre and you will find four or five people you know to say hello to, and you come home feeling different.”
If you’re an early bird, you’ll see the 82-year-olds walking every morning around 6 o’clock. They walk the same trail everyday - because they know the dogs on that route - out past the cemetery, something they have done for all their married life.
“We check out the cemetery, make sure there’s room out there,” said Ron, tongue-in-cheek.
“We don’t intend to leave Broken Hill.
“We certainly don’t feel 82, it seems like yesterday all this happened, you know.
“I never earned big money on the railway, but I always had plenty.
“Broken Hill has looked after us.”