Busy day at work sets in motion amazing 60-year love story

IN 1958, in a corner store in Mt Morgan, a pretty young lady’s life changed the day a strapping, cocky, good-looking young man came in to buy a packet of cigarettes and a malted milk.

That’s how Daphne Wood met William Cahill (Johnny) when they were both 16 years of age. Of course, she wasn’t to know at the time, that Johnny’s cousin, Keith Gordon, had seen Daphne at the shop, run by her father, Ernie Wood, and had raced to tell John about the good-looking sort behind the counter.

And the rest, as they say, is history. John was working at the Mt Morgan mine, where he had started work at the age of 14.

BESOTTED: The pair first met in 1958 at just 16 years of age.
BESOTTED: The pair first met in 1958 at just 16 years of age.

They spent many evenings at the pictures and spent their courting days in Mt Morgan. Daphne and her family moved back to Thangool, with John coming along also to look for work in the Callide Valley.

They became engaged on the 26th of January 1960, and married at the Anglican Church in Mt Morgan on September 29th that same year.

1961 saw them welcome their first child, a beautiful little girl they named Leonnie. In 1968, John and Daphne welcomed another pretty, brown-eyed daughter, Natalie.

The arrival of a bouncing baby boy in 1971, who they named Nathan, completed their little family.

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FLASHBACK: William (Johnny) Cahill as a young man.
FLASHBACK: William (Johnny) Cahill as a young man.

John worked different jobs to earn a living. He worked at the Butter Factory in Biloela, cycling from Thangool to Biloela and back daily for work, until he secured a lift with a fellow worker.

At nights, he also loaded hay. He worked at Agricultural Requirements for six months, then worked on Rob and Wendy Thomson’s property at Thangool doing general farm work, changing irrigation pipes and baling hay, taking hay to the railway station in Thangool and loading it on the train for shipping.

He also did contract baling with Jim Chalmers, before driving fuel trucks for Ronnie Mazzer and was a Bookmakers Clerk as well.

YOUNG LOVE: William and Daphne Cahill
YOUNG LOVE: William and Daphne Cahill

He landed a job at Kianga Mine in the Underground Store and was to stay there until the second explosion of the underground and the mine was closed.

He then transferred to Moura Mine where he worked in the store until retirement.

During the early years of their marriage, Daphne worked for her father in the Silver Star cafe in Thangool.

She was chief cook and kitchen hand, as well as serving behind the counter.

It was a flourishing business in the little town and was always busy with farmers who had come in, tour buses, and truck drivers, as well as the townspeople.

The cafe was always open after the pictures for late night snacks before the merrymakers headed home.

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BEAUTY: A young Daphne Wood
BEAUTY: A young Daphne Wood

When Daphne wasn’t busy in the cafe, she was a dedicated homemaker. Both her and John and the children were very involved in the Church of England and were regular Sunday churchgoers with the children also attending Sunday school.

They were also heavily involved in the Thangool Primary School. Daphne is a great cook, which can be attested to by all who purchased her cooking at church street stalls, numerous school functions she helped cater for and the countless BBQs and parties they hosted at their home in Leslie St.

And she was a whiz with a sewing machine, creating all the clothes for her children and herself. She also worked at the Thangool library and at Thangool Post Office on the telephone exchange, and until the phone exchange automated, she was regularly the voice callers heard in the evenings.

GOING THE DISTANCE: The two went on to welcome three children.
GOING THE DISTANCE: The two went on to welcome three children.

In 1979, they left Thangool and moved the family to a small three acre hobby farm on Valentine Plains Road.

Here they had a couple of dairy cows, which were milked daily by hand. The calves were raised and filled the family freezers.

They also had lots of chooks, and a couple of horses. John still worked at the Moura Mine, and Daphne was the librarian at the Thangool library until its closure.

In 1988, they sold their little block of land on Valentine Plains Rd and moved to their current farm on The Five-Ways Mt Eugene Road, Goovigen.

Here they have raised cattle, produced Lucerne hay, and grown small acre crops such as millet. John also, until recently, still had his horses and still has chooks around.

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Their door has always been open to their children’s friends, and many over the years have called their house “home”, and they were affectionately known as Ma and the Old Fella, or Ma and The Boss.

Their life has always been busy, filled with family and hard work. As well as their three children, they have 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Life hasn’t always been kind.

There have been trials and tribulations, triumphs and tragedies, but their dedication to, and love for each other and for their family has seen them through.

Congratulations on 60 amazing years of marriage.