Diamond Wedding Celebrations



Diamond Wedding Celebrations.

(reprinted from the "Northam Courier")

There was a large attendance at the Northam Town Hall supper-room on Jan. 19, 1911, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Gregory, and the proceedings were marked by much enthusiasm. The guests as they arrived were received by Mr. F. A. and Miss Gregory, and all then paid their respects to the aged pair, and extended to them the heartiest of congratulations on the happy occasion. Seven of the children of Mr. and Mrs. Gregory were present, in addition to several grandchildren and great grandchildren. These were Mrs. J. J. Lloyd (Perth), Mrs. J. G. Hancock (Narrogin), the Misses E. and C. Gregory (Northam), Mr. C. J. Gregory (Bibakine), Mr. J. H. Gregory (Mundijong), and Mr. F. A. Gregory (Northam). After several musical items had been rendered, Mr. W. J. Stewart said that he believed that there was only one other couple in Western Australia who could boast of being in the same proud position which Mr. and Mrs. Gregory occupied to-day. It gave him great pleasure to be there that evening to congratulate Mr. and Mrs. Gregory upon their diamond wedding. He had had the pleasure of Mr. Gregory's acquaintance and friendship for over 36 years, and he could bear testimony that there was no one in Western Australia who had proved himself a better citizen than had Mr. Gregory. Although he had never aspired to Parliamentary honours or anything like that, he had always proved himself to be a man who had done his work thoroughly and well. He was a member of the church to which he (Mr. Stewart) belonged, and when the Methodist cause was started in Northam some 35 years ago, he and Mr. Gregory were colleagues in office, Mr. Gregory being senior circuit steward. He was pleased to see that the members of Mr. Gregory's family also took a very deep interest in the work of the church, which joined in congratulating him upon the present happy event. He hoped that Mr. and Mrs. Gregory would enjoy a fresh lease of life, and that when the next function took place they would all be present again. Mr. Steward then apologised for the absence of the Minister of Lands (Mr. Jas. Mitchell) the Mayor (Mr. H. P. Colebatch), and several other gentlemen. They were all glad, however, to see Mrs. Mitchell present.

Mr. G. L. Throssell said that he had very great pleasure in being present, and in joining in the congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Gregory upon this unique occasion. Such an experience was very rare. He doubted that anyone in the room could claim such long acquaintance with Mr. and Mrs. Gregory as he could, and no one could claim much closer friendship. They were pleased to see so many members of the Gregory family present that night. Mr. Gregory had always been referred to as "young Mr. Gregory," and up to the last couple of years they had seen him working and riding about, and putting many younger men to shame. That night he had the pleasure of meeting many old friends, some of whom he had not seen for years, and they had indulged in very interesting reminiscences.

The Rev. F. S. Finch said that he had to apologise for the absence of Rev. J. G. Jenkin through illness, and that he desired to say that that gentleman deeply regretted his inability to be present. Although he could not go back so far as the previous speakers, he remembered that when he arrived in Northam to take charge of the church Mr. Gregory met him at Burlong, and it was at that gentleman's house that he spent his first evening in the town. He had always entertained a very deep respect for Mr. Gregory and the members of his family, and as long as he lived he would look back with pleasure to the first evening he spent in their company. Mr. and Mrs. Gregory were old servants of the church, and none had been more consistent and constant members. They were held in high esteem by the members of the church in this State, and also by many who knew them on the other side. Last year while travelling all over the State he met several people who directly they knew he had been in Northam, had made inquiries after Mr. and Mrs. Gregory. All present joined in hoping that Mr. and Mrs. Gregory had still many happy years of life before them, and that when the end came it would be as peaceful as their noontide had been.

Mr. W. D. Cowan, R. M., said that he felt a very great privilege to be there that evening. The name of Gregory had been a household word throughout many years in Western Australia, and he (the speaker) could recollect Mr. Gregory's name being mentioned when he was a boy. In later years he became better acquainted with them, and he was pleased to see Mr. and Mrs. Gregory there that evening enjoying the best of health. When the next celebration took place, whatever it might be, he hoped to again be present. He endorsed all that had been said by the previous speakers with reference to Mr. and Mrs. Gregory, and he trusted that they would be spared for many years.

Mr. W. J. Stewart then presented Mr. Gregory with a purse of sovereigns. Inside the purse Mr. Gregory would find the names of those who had known him for a number of year, and desired to take the present opportunity of showing their appreciation of that gentleman and his wife. He desired also to present a handbag to Mrs. Gregory.

Mr. Gregory, who was received with load applause, said he thought that in speaking of him as they had done that evening the speakers had spread it on too thick. (Laughter). He desired to thank them heartily for their attendance and their handsome presents. The occasion was one that did not come every day. (Laughter). In fact it was rather rare. He had done all that he possibly could to live a straight and upright life, and to set an example to parents and others. He held it to be the duty of all parents to set a good example to their children. His parents looked after him and trained him, as he himself had often trained a young tree in the orchard. He came to Western Australia as a little boy of three years, and landed on the South Beach at Fremantle. He went on the land in 1849 when wheat was three shillings a bushel. The Minister for Lands told them the other day that the Government found the land and the money, yet farmers said now that it did not pay. (Laughter). What he told them was true, not hearsay. If they picked up the newspapers that was hearsay. (Laughter). He thanked them again for their handsome presents. One would be handed down as a heirloom, but he doubted whether the other would be. (Laughter). He thanked them on behalf of Mrs. Gregory, who had been the best of wives for sixty years.

Mr. Gregory was loudly applauded on resuming his seat. Those present then sang, "For he's a Jolly Good Fellow" with great heartiness, and then, at the instance of Mr. Stewart, gave three rousing cheers for Mr. Gregory, and three more for Mrs. Gregory, and one for "the little Gregorys."

The speech-making over, there were further cheers when Mrs. Gregory cut the wedding cake, and distributed pieces amongst those present.

During the evening refreshments were provided, and a number of musical items were rendered. Solos were sung by Miss Purling and Miss Clarice Stewart, a duet by Misses Purling and Edna Stewart, a violin solo by Miss F. Nicholls, a pianoforte duet by the Misses Nicholls, and pianoforte selections by Mrs. Loton and Miss M. Dreyer. The proceedings terminated about 11 o'clock with "Auld Lang Syne."