Couples defying divorce rate stats
LOVE is in the air on the Gemfields, despite the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics census data revealing a 196% increase in divorce in six years.
Named as one of Queensland's regional bust-up hotspots, the Gemfields was third on the list behind Rosslee (216%) and Wilsonton, in Toowoomba (227%).
According to the results, inner regional areas have been pegged as Australia's worst marital break-up hotspots, with 96.53 divorces or separations for every 1000 people.
Proving marriage is still strong on the Gemfields, three couples have put their hands up to tell how they found their gems, and how they have kept the spark lit decades later.
Eileen found rare gem in Sapphire
CALIFORNIAN Eileen Brown was on the trip of a lifetime when she fell in love with a Gemfields local.
While backpacking through Australia, Eileen had planned to stay in Sapphire for a few days, before she met Peter Brown.
"I came here to visit the fields and... I met Peter, and never left," Eileen said.
"After two weeks I decided I didn't want to go and we got married eight months later.
"I had visa problems... the only way I could stay was to get married."
There is no doubt this loved-up couple still share a spark, and they have 31 years of marriage and three children to prove it.
"We were physically, emotionally and intellectually compatible and that makes it easy; we just fell in love," Peter said.
"We face our challenges together and work together on things.
"Honesty is important. We are honest with everything and are best friends.
"It doesn't say a lot for American men, that she had to come halfway around the world."
Happily married to the boy next door
MADELIENE Mortley married the boy next door.
Forty-two years later, Cliff and Madeliene have two children and are living their dream in Sapphire.
"My parents built a house next door to his parents, and that's how we met," Madeleine recalls.
"They reckon a life sentence is not as long as what we've been married."
The couple set out in their caravan planning to travel Australia 20 years ago. They stopped in the Gemfields and never left.
"We made a commitment when we got married and we stuck by it," Cliff said.
The happily married couple said communication was vitally important in keeping the spark in a relationship alive.
"Always do what the wife tells you," Cliff said, revealing his top tip for a happy marriage.
Talk about destiny!
ACCORDING to Michael and Jane Taylor, the couple has been on a 26-year-long honeymoon.
In 1986, the pair got married and set off from Sydney to the Gemfields to celebrate.
"We came here for our honeymoon and we didn't leave," Michael said.
"I am a gemmologist and Jane has learnt to cut gems, so we are interested in gems - where else would you go on your honeymoon?"
The couple met in Sydney where they lived in the same share-house as teenagers.
With three children and almost three decades of married life under their belt, the Rubyvale couple shared a tip on how to keep the marriage going.
"Verbal conversation is always good, we have to talk to each other and also have a fight every so often," Jane said.