SEVENTY years of marriage is a remarkable achievement.
For Tom and Rene Page, who reached the milestone on August 14, it was cause for celebration with children, grandchildren and great grandchildren coming together at Bishop Tyrell Place, where the couple now resides.
They even had a special visit from member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead who presented them with flowers and gave his congratulations.
Tom, now 96, was born in the Hunter Valley, but grew up and was schooled in Manly.
In 1930, when the Depression took place, the then 13-year-old, along with his brother, was forced to leave home because their parents couldn't afford to look after them.
Tom came to Coralville to live with his uncle and worked at many different jobs in order to earn a living, including cane cutting, sheep shearing, wheat cutting, boxing, riding ponies for people in the picnic races, taxi driving and working the Cattai Ferry near Harrington.
He also spent some time in the army.
His family eventually moved to Black Head and it was while he was working as a sleeper cutter at Knorrit Flat that he met his bride-to-be.
Rene (nee Ruprecht) was an only child and grew up in York Street, Taree.
Her parents used to take on boarders and one of those boarders happened to be Tom's cousin.
It was during one of Tom's visits to his cousin that he met Rene, then 16, for the first time.
After a courtship of a few years, they were married at the Church of England in Taree on August 14, 1943, and settled on a 283 acre property at Hannam Vale.
Tom had acquired the land through a ballot a few years earlier and was using it for sleeper cutting and running dairy cattle.
Times were hard, with no electricity or water (in fact the property still doesn't have water), but they did have the honour of being the first people in the valley to own a kerosene fridge, which saw lots of visitors who wanted to take a look.
Tom would sell sleepers for 50 cents each.
"It was all hard work, just to get a shilling," recalls Tom.
One particular tree produced 470 sleepers - all in a time that he refers to as BC (before chainsaws - and before cars!)
Tom and Rene had five children, Londa, Les, Lyn, Larry and Len.
They remained at Hannam Vale for five years after their marriage, but when Londa was ready to start school they moved into Campbell Street, Taree.
While she could have attended Hannam Vale Public School, the only way to get there from their place was by the cream truck (which didn't have any doors).
Tom and Rene wouldn't have that so made the move into town at the end of 1949.
Their block of land was large and after moving an old house off, Tom set to work building their family home, which they remained in for close to 30 years.
In about 1976 they moved to Harrington where Tom and his brother hand-built the couple's home.
Tom became a prolific poet and wrote about his life experiences and his feelings and memories about the "old days".
He was a regular contributor to Poet's Corner, which appeared in the Manning-Great Lakes Extra for many years.
His daughters compiled his collection of poems into a self-published book for his 88th birthday.
Tom and Rene called Harrington home for another 30 years until illness and some falls by both Tom and Rene meant they needed to move.
They spent two years at Rene's mum's old house in Taree before moving into Bishop Tyrell Place at Cundletown almost three years ago.
Tom and Rene have 14 grand children and 21 great grandchildren.