Celebrate Living History Australia

Stories connecting generations. Visit our website Stories read by founder of Celebrate Living History Bev Wilkinson.

Today we feature Rai and Bimla by Swinburne University graduate Elise Cook.

Rai and Bimla have had a long, successful marriage, raising a family of three sons in Australia, and describe themselves as being more in love than ever. Their story of commitment, hard work, and a growing love, is inspiring. They believe their forty years of marriage, which is intact and still growing, is a testament to the fact that if you stick together in difficult times, you can grow to enjoy life together in old age. In fact, Rai says that love came into their relationship long after the wedding.

That’s because, when Rai and Bimla met for the first time, they were already married.

Rai & Bimla “My Mum just told me, ‘You’re getting married’,” Bimla shares, “I was excited but I didn’t really know what it meant”.

Today we feature The Man that Followed his Heart by Griffith University graduate Michael Walecki. It was a rainy day that seemed just like every other one in Manchester. At around seven in the morning a young woman dressed in a dark blue rain jacket walked in with her head covered. As she took off her veil, long curly locks of golden brown hair unravelled towards her waist. She put down her umbrella and lifted her pale face and locked her hazel eyes with William’s. William couldn’t speak. She approached him and asked him for two loaves of bread. Normally William would chat with the customers at the store and would like to get to know everyone and how their day has been so far.
But when he encountered this young woman, he could not even find the words to say good morning. She obviously saw that William was cast under her spell, and began giggling, laughing at the fact that a man didn’t have the courage to even say hello. She paid for the loaves and left the store. William couldn’t believe that someone had the ability to make him speechless, and promised himself that the next time he saw that woman, he would make up for his loss of words. The very next day the same woman walked into the bakery with a smile, asking for the same order of two loaves. William immediately said yes, and apologized for yesterday’s experience. They laughed about the experience and he offered to walk her back home.
After a few months of walking the wonderful woman home and many other days spent together, William asked Lucy for her hand in marriage, and got married in the fall half a year later.

Today's love story is The life of Rex and Desley by Griffith University graduate Margaret Nyakan Manynag Agoth. Rex and Desley Finedon were two ordinary people living their own lives, however with God’s guidance as they describe it, they became one.

When they first met, it was Rex’s last year at the Bible collage, before he joined the Campaigners of Christ organisation linked with the Australian Army.
At this point in time Rex stayed in contact with Desley through letter writing, as she continued with her studies at the Bible Collage.
Rex said even when he was in Vietnam they wrote letters to each other every single day.

“It sometimes took weeks to receive a letter. That is so different to Snap Chat, because you sit down and think about what your writing unlike Snap Chat where you just take a snap for 10 seconds and send it,” he says.

Today we are sharing love at first sight- Nathaniel & Antonia’s story by Swinburne University graduate Jeanette Bonnici. It was fate that bought Nathaniel and Antonia together in 1943. “I was walking past the bus stop when I first saw Antonia. She was with her brother but I did not know that it was her brother. She was staring at me and I was thinking how cheeky she must be to be with another man but still be smiling at me,” Nathaniel laughs.

Hello loves! To celebrate Valentines week, we are spreading love stories from former interns. Today we feature Marie Davis which was written by Swinburne University graduate Chris Paduano. Marie met her husband Roger in 1967 while living at the Victorian Bureau of Epilepsy (now the Epilepsy Foundation of Victoria). She lived there with five other girls, all sufferers of epilepsy who had chosen to move to Melbourne from the country. They met because Roger, a sufferer of severe epilepsy, would wait for his mother to drive him home after work. His mother had been responsible for starting the foundation because she felt that the help offered to epilepsy sufferers, including her son, was inadequate. Marie and Roger were engaged in 1968 and married later that year.

To celebrate the new year we are delving into stories our students have done over the years. Today we revisit Lance and Billy by Elise Cook.

Lance was a young, handsome policeman who moved to Gladstone during wartime in Australia. Arriving with his good looks, a flashy car and a big dog by his side, he made an immediate impression on the women in Gladstone. However, Lance quickly decided there was only one person he was interested in; a local girl who preferred to be known as Billy.

 “He was lovely looking, with black curly hair,” Billy begins. “Everyone thought he was just terrific. He could have had any one of those girls from Gladstone, but he made up his mind that he wanted me. But I wasn’t interested, not in the slightest.” At least, she wasn’t to begin with.
To see Lance and Billy online visit


To celebrate the new year we are delving into stories our students have done over the years. Today we revisit 67 years old French Love Story by Marine Pintena. 

My friend’s grandparents celebrated their 65th anniversary while we were in Australia. She was really sad not to be with them for this important date. So that day, she decided to share with me their love story. It was her way to celebrate it.

She told me that when she was sleeping at her grandparents she would always ask her grandpa Matteo to tell her this story. He would tuck her in the bed, shut the blinds and sit next to her. “Once upon a time, in the town of Nice, took place a ball…” this is how the story would always start, as a fairy tale. It was actually Lorene’s favourite. She loved the passion Matteo would put in the story, and all the details he included. Details make stories more real. So real that she could here the music, and see the skirts dancing.

To see this story online visit 




My Grandfather, Peder Tessem was a young boy during the Second World War but recalls what it was like growing up during the German invasion.

“Rationing with lack of food, clothing and other necessities was an area which gave us anxiety for the day and the future. It had been a large amount of import to the country in the last year before the war, and it was stockpiled for a year. The German occupation was going to last for 5 years, and in that time Norway was excluded from their most important trading partners, Great Britain and the USA. There was half a million Germans in the country, they needed food and a fair bit was sent to Germany. We used something called “crisisflour”, it was rough and from bad grains. People said they added chalk to make it heavier. After a while we started receiving replacement products, and the B-soap was the one I remembered the best. It was like a lump of clay, and what it had cleaned of your face was left in a ring in the washing bowl.We received shoes with wooden soles, and it could be leather of fish skins,”
To see the rest of the story visit 

To celebrate the new year we are delving into stories our student interns have created over the years. Today we revisit Stella Wilkie- 100 years and counting by Kate Grant. 

Stella Wilkie with her letter of congratulations from the Queen for reaching the impressive milestone of a hundred years. Stella has lived a rich, full life and there is still no stopping her. When asked what she was going to do next, without missing a beat she replied, “Me? Get married.”
Born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1915, Stella has made her way from humble beginnings to having travelled the world, taking in everything she could along the way. Above all she values telling the truth, good or bad, and common sense - something she has plenty of I’d say after a hundred years.
To see Stella's story online visit 




This week we visit Alderly Queensland Australia and chat with Donna Ferguson who founded Unique Vibrations a business focussed on lifting the self confidence of women. If Donna could give advice to the younger generation it would be to have a plan. "Don’t expect your idea to be successful overnight, be resilient, be consistent and persistent at all times. Never give up, take your work seriously, do your due diligence, research your market, know your client fluently and be patient," she says.
To see Donna's story online visit

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