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Prank leads to long marriage

A mis-throw caused the first meeting of eventual husband and wife Frank and Joan Harder.

February 25, 2013 4:55am

Joan and Frank Harder are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.


A mis-throw caused the first meeting of eventual husband and wife Frank and Joan Harder.

Frank was a doctor and Joan was a nurse at Prince Henry’s Hospital in suburban Melbourne.

‘‘I threw a wet towel through the door in the ward kitchen, thinking my friend was walking past,’’ Joan said.

‘‘It hit him (Frank), and boy was I frightened. I didn’t know him and had never spoken to him before.

‘‘He found a wife out of it.’’

Frank, 86, and Joan, 83, married at St Andrew’s Church 60 years ago today.

Their three children — Graeme, Jude and Leigh — and five grandchildren yesterday celebrated their anniversary at Mercy Place in Shepparton.

‘‘It’s the first time everyone has been together,’’ Joan said.

‘‘Having grandchildren does mean a lot. They’re all so beautiful.’’

The Harders left Melbourne for Shepparton when Frank and Arthur Dickmann opened a general practice on the corner of Knight St and Maude St in 1952.

Frank retired aged 76.

‘‘I used to know everyone’s medical history in Shepparton,’’ he said.

Frank earned an Order of Australia medal for his extensive medical and volunteer work.

He was a Shepparton Apex member and gave lectures for St John’s Ambulance paramedics.

He was also a former chairman of the Promotion of Adults Continuing Education, a now defunct foundation for which Joan helped co-ordinate courses.

The Harder Auditorium at Goulburn Ovens Institute of TAFE in Shepparton is named after Frank.

Recreationally, Frank and Joan were regular visitors to the South Australian opal mining town of Andamooka.

Frank also won best single rose at the Royal Melbourne Show after 30 years of trying.

A wet towel ensured Frank did not have to wait that long to find the perfect wife.

‘‘She’s loveable,’’ he said of Joan.

Joan said tolerance was the key to lasting 60 years of marriage.

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