Seventy-two-year-old Reg and 73-year-old June Lucas are two of the most genuinely happy and fulfilled people you could ever meet. The couple love their life in Port Macquarie, their association with Port City Bowling Club and have been happily married for over 50 years. Hard work, not being afraid to try new things and a giving attitude are the keys to their happiness …
How long have you lived in Port Macquarie?
Reg: It will be twelve years in September.
So where did you live before you moved to Port Macquarie?
June: We’re from Greendale in Victoria.
Reg: We had two-and-a-half acres out in Greendale. It was 10 minutes outside of Bacchus Marsh – about 50 km out of Melbourne. Before that we lived in North Altona, and we had 5 German Shepherds – which we used to breed and show. We thought we’d buy a place out in the bush, where we could do more with our Shepherds. But my work had other ideas!
So, our Shepherds became pets, and I became Catering Manager for FOUR ’N TWENTY Pies for 23 years. I worked 7 days a week, and June would only see me after dark. It was a beautiful spot, out there at Greendale.
June: Yes – it was magic. We had the kangaroos, the birds and all the wildlife. We lived there 12 years, and we were in North Altona for 20 years.
So what prompted the decision to up stumps and move all the way from Victoria to Port Macquarie?
June: Reg had wanted to retire in Bacchus Marsh, which was a very cold place. But I became very sick while we were in Greendale.
A mate of mine moved from Geelong up to Port Macquarie, and Reg happened to mention to her that my health was bad and I couldn’t get back on my feet. My friend said, “Come up here [Port Macquarie] for a holiday!” And that’s where it all started – about 14 or 15 years ago.
We came up here for two weeks, and every year after that we came up. We decided that this would be where we retired.
What was your first impression of the area?
Reg: Wonderful. What hit us was that people were friendly … friendly in the shops – friendly wherever you went. You don’t get that in Victoria, so much.
When did you join the Port City Bowling Club?
Reg: Straight away! It was in 1999 when I joined. I never knew what would happen, when I joined. At an AGM one of my friends nominated me for the position of Welfare Officer.
I didn’t want to at first – I didn’t think I was suited to the role. But I thought about it, and I decided I was used to people, having been a rep and involved with catering, so I decided to give it a go. And I did it for 4 years!
This wasn’t the only role you held with the Club, though. What happened next?
Reg: The Senior Vice President of the Men’s Bowls stood down, so I stood up unopposed and went on to do that for 12 months. The year after that I became President and another year later, I stood for the Board. I was on the board for 6 years and only just resigned from that a few weeks ago. But I’ve been President of the Men’s Bowls now for 7 years.
June: And he absolutely loves it!
What’s been the highlight of these years assisting the club?
June: (Laughs.) I’d say helping get the men’s and the women’s clubs together has been a big plus.
Reg: The men’s and the women’s were far apart – and I didn’t like that. The club is a better club now, because we work together and help each other. We’re stronger now.
June: For example, in years past, you wouldn’t have a lady mark for the men’s games, or a man mark for the women’s games. He’s brought all that in now where they’ll mark for each other.
Another thing Reg has achieved is with his catering. Because of his background, he can help cater for both the men’s and women’s events.
Reg: I organise catering for some of the big tournaments now. June and I organise and make sandwiches for all the Pennant players.
When did you join the Club, June?
June: I joined the club after Reg, because at that time I was still involved with painting. I started painting at Bacchus Marsh when Reg was working 7 days a week. When I moved to Port Macquarie, the ladies’ bowls were on Tuesday and so was my painting – so I had to make a decision. And I did – I went to the Bowling Club. It’s been great!
How did you two first meet? Let me guess … it was at a dance?
June: Yes it was! It was at the Orama Ballroom.
Reg: That was in Footscray – but it’s gone now.
June: We met, and he asked if he could take me home.
Reg: I had my 21st birthday, got engaged and was married all within one year. I wasn’t going to let her go!
June: Yes – September we got engaged, June was your 21st, then the following September we got married.
I understand you both celebrated your 50th anniversary in some style. What was the night like?
June: 26th September 2009. It was an absolutely fabulous night! To me, it was like we got married again – it was so special. We had a limo and we had a function upstairs at the Bowling Club. There were 50 people there – it was beautiful.
Have either of you seen many changes in Port Macquarie since you moved here?
Reg: It’s got much bigger. There’s much more high rise now. The Clubs have changed too –our Club has had about 3 alterations. Of course, our club is still the best club – just like FOUR ’N TWENTY are still the best pies! And people are still just as friendly as ever.
So apart from bowls, what else keeps you two busy?
June: When I first got married, I was terribly shy. We owned a Milk Bar in North Altona, and everyone used to try and make me blush. Reg and I were both in Rotary too, and we used to have exchange students come and visit.
So I decided to do something for me – and I joined Toast Mistress in Essendon in Victoria. It was great! I did First Vice, Second Vice, President and Treasurer there. I was there for 9 years – and I loved it. It helped me very much.
Now, I’ve taken up Avon! We were given a computer, so we’re both really into emails now. The internet is fabulous – I’m even doing my Avon orders on the internet now. We started internet banking too – it’s wonderful! You don’t even have to walk out the door anymore and go the car! Our lives are just so full.
Reg: I’m busy all the time – not quite so much now I’m not on the Board.
What are you most looking forward to?
Reg: In May, the ladies’ State Carnival is on. One thousand, one hundred and twenty ladies will be here in Port, and they’ll play at Port City, Westport, Panthers, Wauchope, North Haven and Lake Cathie. When they get to the quarter finals and finals, these will all be held at Port City. I’m hoping to help with the catering for this too.
There’s a lot on in May: the ladies’ tournament, the Aevum Singles, the NSW Junior versus the Combined High Schools … I absolutely love it all.
June: I plan to go to Victoria in the next few weeks, because my daughter’s turning 50 and her husband’s turning 50 in the same week. So Reg will be ‘baching’ for a few days!
You two strike me as such contented individuals. What’s one pearl of wisdom you could share with everyone?
June: Always give. You must give, because there’s too much taking these days. If you give, you can’t go wrong. Most marriages these days go wrong, because you have to help each other. That’s most important.
Reg: When June and I got married, we bought a home for £4,000. That was a lot of money in those days! We paid it off at £5 a week. We didn’t have carpet and we had handed down lounge suites. People today seem to need big houses, the best of furniture, a new car and to go out as well. I believe that’s where a lot of marriages break down, because when it comes time to pay everything back – it’s so much financial pressure. But it should all be about give and take and helping others who need help – that is what’s important.
Thank you Reg and June. It was lovely to meet you both.
Interview by Jo Atkins.