Seventy years and hoping for a few more

Publish date: 19 November 2023

It’s safe to say that most of us won’t achieve a milestone so significant.

When Jop Delfos met Hanneke in Holland in 1952, he just saw someone he’d like to know more about. Seventy years later and the lovely couple just celebrated their platinum wedding anniversary with a whole-village event at Bethanie Gwelup.

“We met at a mutual friends birthday party – we were all aged 21 – and we were married the year after at 22,” said Jop.

Having finished their studies (Jop in tropical agriculture and Hanneke in Mensendieck, a form of physiotherapy) they sailed for Fremantle in 1954 and Jop started work as a farm hand in Miling.

“Hanneke’s degree wasn’t recognised here, but funnily enough her studies helped enormously while working with animals on the farm,” Jop laughed. “Anatomy and physiology are all similar in some way.”

They loved farming life and the big open spaces, settling in Toodyay and developing 500 acres. It was only when their oldest of three boys needed to finish high school that they moved closer to Perth.

All three boys married and gave the Delfos’ nine grandchildren, six of whom went on to deliver ten great-grandchildren and they are “all fantastic” according to proud patriarch Jop.

The whole family and most of their village community joined in an anniversary celebration at Bethanie Gwelup, and Jop commented that “It’s been a wonderful 70 years and I hope we can have a few more.”

Now Hanneke’s carer, the couple still live independently at 92 and Jop believes that “nothing compares with what we have here (at Bethanie Gwelup)”.

“The size is just right and our neighbours all meld together; we are surrounded by wonderful people.”

And advice for those of us aiming for a few more successful years together?

“Never have any secrets, communicate and talk things over no matter your difference of opinions,” advised Jop.

“Support each other and appreciate each other’s efforts and achievements.”

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