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Tying the knot: a gallery of weddings

Getting hitched. Tying the knot. For those who walk down the aisle it’s a big event, one way or another. And there’s usually somebody there taking pictures so the wedding can be remembered, for better or worse. My collection contains a lot of wedding photos from a variety of places and times.

Here’s a selection of noteworthy images from interesting weddings.

Joining the smile high club

Sydney surveyor John Nicholls and his kindergarten teacher bride Elenor Simpson took a fancy to the idea of being married in an aeroplane flying 1000m above the ground. It was July 1968, and the couple chose Newcastle’s Aeropelican airport, a six-seat Piper Cherokee and a Methodist minister – John Woodhouse, of Belmont. The first part of the wedding was conducted on the ground before the couple took off and, in a rather cramped cockpit, finished the job. Photographer Ron Morrison took the photos.

Ready for take-off. The bride avoided cumbersome dresses, trains and headpieces, choosing sensible flying gear for the ascent to wedded bliss.
A kiss before flying.
Not so squeezy?
Looks like they had fun up there.

In sickness and in health

Bert Vanderzee and Beverley Fahey were all set to marry when Bert had a motorbike accident and wound up in Belmont Hospital with six broken ribs and a fractured leg. The 19-year-olds, both of whom had lived in Lake Road, Wallsend, opted for a hospital wedding conducted by Wallsend Methodist minister W.J. Death. Accordion music was provided by Sister Nancy Adams and nurse Heather Tinfold sang “O Perfect Love”. The date of the wedding was September 24, 1970. Ron Morrison was there to photograph the event.

With this ring I thee wed, in my pyjamas.

Opening the innings

In August 1967 cricketing star Doug Walters married Carolyn Redman at Dungog Methodist Church. Walters was a National Serviceman at the time, with some months still to serve in the First Battalion, R.A.R., based at Holsworthy. Hundreds of people attended the cricketer’s wedding, which was televised. Ron Morrison took these photos.

Doug and Carolyn’s big day in Dungog

Something borrowed . . .

In the closing years of World War 2 some American women’s organisations donated second-hand wedding gowns to allied nations to be used by brides who were serving in uniform but who didn’t want to be married in uniform. The Virginian Federation of Women’s Clubs sent 12 used wedding gowns to Australia, and the first bride to avail herself of the opportunity to be married in one was Corporal Hazel Gainey, of the Australian Women’s Army Service. Hazel and her new husband, Driver Stuart Robertson, both came from the country town of Warialda, NSW. When they wed at Arncliffe on March 24, 1945, Hazel wore – as the newspaper reported – a cream satin gown with a “long buttoned bodice which was moulded into a full skirt which ended in a long train.” Her tulle veil was also donated by the Virginian women. Hazel told reporters that she had despaired of marrying in a proper dress – thanks to wartime material shortages – until she heard of the donated American gowns.

Buses and trains

On September 25, 1943, Miss Jean Sneddon discarded her wartime bus conductress’s uniform for a charming tulle and lace frock when she was married to Mr Stanley Cady at Charlestown Presbyterian Church (Newcastle, NSW). Other bus conductresses took time off to form a guard of honour for their colleague and her attendants.

Looks like Jean managed to get her hands on some nice dress material.

Marriage certificate was a ticket to eternity

On February 13, 1972, Cecil Roy Schuck, 62, wed Elizabeth Jane Studdert, 67, and enjoyed a reception at Cardiff Workers Club, Newcastle, NSW. Both had previously been married, but had lost their partners a few years before. The wedding day was also Elizabeth’s birthday. After dancing the bridal waltz to applause from their 80 guests, the pair left at about midnight and headed off by car to their planned honeymoon in Tasmania. They had intended to stay overnight at nearby Swansea but instead kept driving. At 4am, on the Hume Highway near Camden, they had a head-on collision with another car carrying three young men. Cecil and Elizabeth were both killed, and the three men in the other car were injured, two of them seriously. Police found a newly written marriage certificate in the wreckage.

It was the second time Cecil’s name appeared in the newspaper in relation to a motor accident. In 1930 he was riding a motorcycle near the Civic Theatre in Hunter Street, Newcastle, with a girl as a pillion passenger. Passing a stationary tram he knocked down a young woman who was about to board the tram. He rode off without stopping but was found and brought to court. The young woman was not seriously hurt. He was fined over the incident.

Last photo: taken at the reception before the newlyweds set off.

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