HIDDEN within the Wimmera are tales of marriages that have stood the test of time.
Couples living side-by-side, working together, and apart, but with the advice "ensure you make memories you can share together".
And that is the advice Bob and Jill Robbins gave as they shared their love story on the eve of their 60th wedding anniversary on February 25.
Still more than content living on the family farm, Wybara, Mrs Robbins offers up refreshments before embarking on stories about their lives, families and future plans - all with Mr Robbins by her side.
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"A lot of people like the thought of moving into the bigger towns but while we can stay here it's not for us," Mr Robbins said.
"We've worked hard and created this all for us so we're here enjoying it. We have some great memories here both at the farm and within the community.
"We never feel lonely and never feel like we don't have anything to do."
The couple agreed, the secret to a long-lasting marriage was to always put in 110 per cent.
"It's a team effort," Mr Robbins said.
"When you have a couple of bad days the extra you put in will always carry you through."
Mr Robbins spoke of his father with pride and said he was a victim of circumstances.
"On a trip from Balmoral to Patchewollock one day he fell off his motorbike just near Dooen," he said.
"He broke his pelvis and his shoulder and spent 10 months in hospital. My mother worked at the hospital at the time. He always joked 'I couldn't get away and she caught me'.
"My mother's uncle advised my parents of the property at Minyip and it's circumstances and so began our story in the district, since 1934."
Mrs Robbins, nee Griffiths, grew up 14 miles from Donald.
"My mother came from Melbourne and taught North Lane which was a one-teacher school with 14 children," she said.
"She had to board with a family from the area. The next-door neighbour to my father had three children and she was teaching those children. She went home on the back of one of the horses with them for a weekend to their place.
"On a Sunday night my father was invited over for dinner.
"My mother passed away when I was four, having another baby."
The couple met by chance - Mr Robbins attending an 18th birthday party of a mutual acquaintance.
"Another baby, Lindsay, was born a day after me and our mothers kept friends," Mrs Robbins said.
"Lindsay had been asked to go over to Minyip to play football and met Bob there. We were both asked to go to the birthday party.
"We knew each other but not very well.
"Two years later at a ball in Minyip Bob asked if he could take me on a date to St Arnaud to a dance."
After dating for 10 months, Mr Robbins took Mrs Robbins home after she had stayed at the family home in Minyip.
Mr Robbins said after returning home his mother had very stern words with him.
"She said to me 'listen Bobby. Don't let this one get away.'," he said.
Mrs Robbins said her mother-in-law was a "lovely lady and we were so very close".
"Because I had a bit of a farming background I think I was able to be a bit of a help," she said.
"In those days wives didn't go out to work. With four children and the farm, there was always plenty to do."
Mr and Mrs Robbins welcomed their children, Trish, Trudy, Nicky and Wayne to their home.
Many years were spent making life-long memories with their children and now eleven grandchildren.
Keeping busy in their yard at the home the couple always find things to do.
"I've got two chooks that I look after and like to spend time in the garden," Mrs Robbins said.
"We like to go to football when we can and we're in the Probus club as well.
"We spend a lot of time up at our block along the river in Dimboola with our children."
Despite the worldwide coronavirus pandemic putting a dampener on celebrations, Mrs Robbins said there was hope for a family get-together on the long weekend in March.
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