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Love blossomed in the vines

Love blossomed in the vines

It wasn’t only grapes that were picked for a perfect Barossa blend, out in a vineyard more than half a century ago.

Nuriootpa couple, Malcolm and Evon Schmidt, first cast their eyes on each other among the vines and now, on September 24, they are set to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary. 

“We met in Bill Linke’s vineyard on the Angaston to Moculta Road,” Malcolm said.

He was busily picking grapes and bucket carrying when he spotted the future Mrs Schmidt through the vine leaves – an eye catching Miss Evon Schliebs, of Moculta, 

“She was sixteen, I was seventeen…It took about three days before I got the courage to ring her up!” he laughed.

“That was still the time when the phone exchange closed early on Saturdays…Moculta, being an outback place, their phones closed at 12 o’clock so it cost me two lots of opening fees to ring up and ask her out!”  

Evon admits she developed quite the crush on her fellow vineyard worker.

“I thought he was a bit alright!” said Evon.

Many a laugh was had in the vines, playing pranks on each other with the odd bunch of grapes flying across the vineyard behind the boss’ back.

A little cafe at Nuriootpa on Gawler Street, “next door to Arthur Glaetzer’s barber shop and the old library” was the venue of a special date.

“Our first meal out was a Sunday night,” recalled Evon.

“It was baked beans on toast!” 

On Evon’s 18th birthday, the couple were engaged and, in the year Malcolm turned 21, they were married at Gruenberg Lutheran Church, Evon’s family church at Moculta.

Malcolm, who was “born and bred in Angaston” was a bit nervous and admitted to having a “nip of brandy” before he went to the church.

“It was wet, it rained all morning,” he said of the weather that day.

“And then when we were standing at the altar, the sun shone right through the window… I got real hot!” 

For Evon, she found another way of dealing with the nerves.

“We went to have our hair done.. and then we went home and I put a plastic cap over my hair and I went out and chopped wood for the fire…no big deal!”

The young couple’s honeymoon was well suited to their budget, according to Malcolm.

“We bludged on relatives for our honeymoon!” he said.

“We didn’t have any money… I worked for Max Grope out at Light Pass, spading off vines to get enough money to go away for a week.”

Fifty years on, the couple sit in the lounge room of their Nuriootpa home where family photos take pride of place.

They chat with their adult daughters, Carol and Christine and play with their nearly 7 month old grandchild, Finn (Carol’s son) who is one of three grandchildren including Christine’s daughters, Kasey, aged 14 years and Bethany, 11.

It’s a picture of old fashioned family values, with connections lasting generations and helping hands eagerly offered.

But it’s not always been easy going for the Schmidt family.

Evon and Malcolm’s first child, Andrew was still born – a heartbreaking start to married life.

“I’m thankful that there was enough love there to get us through all that,” Evon said.

 For the full story see this week’s edition of The Leader.