STILL IN LOVE: Esme, 86, and Victor, 85, Fay met at a dance at Trocadero Hall, Sydney as teenagers and have been married for 64 years.
STILL IN LOVE: Esme, 86, and Victor, 85, Fay met at a dance at Trocadero Hall, Sydney as teenagers and have been married for 64 years. Jodie Callcott

STORY OF: Esme and Victor Fay - 1950s lovebirds

SHE sits with her colleagues in a tight space and watches the flashing lights in front of her.

Wearing a headset and answering calls at Sydney's General Post Office telephone exchange, Esme Fay books phone lines for interstate callers.

"You had your headphones and the wires went down to a mouth piece that rested on your chest," Esme said.

"There were no automatic phones.

"If you lived in Sydney and you wanted to speak with Brisbane you had to ring the telephone exchange and book a call.

"There were different sections in the telephone exchange, I was on what they called the interstate and then there was a country area and an overseas area.

"It was all shift work. The ladies worked shifts from 6am to 10pm and then the men took over and worked from 10pm to 6am."

It was during this time when Esme and her best friend Fay Connelly boarded with a widow who lived in Sydney's western suburbs.

"We started on the western suburbs, but she grew up in Bondi and she always said she wanted to go back to Bondi," Esme said.

"She bought a house at North Shore and we moved with her, and then she eventually bought a house in Bondi, so we moved from there to Bondi with her.

"She was like a second mother to us, we boarded with her right up until I got married."


In the early 50s, Esme said teenagers made their own fun by attending dances on Saturday nights and it's at one of these dances she met "quite a good-looking fellow".

"My girlfriends and I, every Saturday night, we used to go to the Trocadero Hall in Sydney," she said.

"There was a big ball room where they had an orchestra and singers and the dances were all the old style like foxtrot and jazz waltzes.

"We'd go to dances with a group of girls and then wait to be asked to dance."

A teenage Australian Navy sailor asked Esme's friend if she wanted to go with him to the milk bar, but Esme said the girls had a pact to never go alone.

"My girlfriend was dancing with this chap and he said to her, 'Would you like to have a milkshake?', and she said, 'I've got a girlfriend somewhere around, is it alright if I bring my girlfriend?', and he said, 'Oh yeah I've got a mate somewhere'," she said.

"So he went and got the mate and the mate was Victor and there it went from then on.

The two boys were on ships backwards and forwards to sea and every time they came into port they'd pick us up and we'd go to the movies or a dance and from then on it was fate.

One week after Victor came back from a nine-month stint at sea during the Korean war, Esme and Victor Fay, married in St Canice's Church, Elizabeth Bay, on June 19, 1954.

After living in Sydney for 20 years, Esme and Victor moved to Roma Queensland, Forster, New South Wales and then finally settled in Hervey Bay in 2000.

"Vic's sister had lived in Hervey Bay... and we used to come up every few years to visit her," she said.

"Her husband had passed away this particular year and we came up for a couple of weeks to see her and the land had just opened up at Eli Waters, that was all bushland.

"We went for a drive around and thought, "gee I wouldn't mind living here," and Vic was due to retire, so we bought a block of land on the spot."


During their time in Forster, a neighbour suggested Esme join VIEW club to meet new people in the area.

"When I moved to Forster from Sydney, I didn't know anyone and my husband was working in Taree and I was at home on my own and I didn't know anyone and the lady next door to me said, "Come and join VIEW club'," she said.

"And she told me what VIEW club was and I went along and I liked it and what they were doing and I've been in VIEW now for 37 years."

Today, Esme still attends Hervey Bay VIEW club's monthly meetings where they discuss how to raise money for The Smith Family's Learning for Life program.

"It's a worthwhile cause," she said.

"The ladies get together once a month and we have a meeting and lunch and we have guest speakers who talk about different things.

"It's very interesting for ladies who are on their own. "It's a good cause for them to get together and they all have the same interests - to help the underprivileged children, that's the main thing."