REUNION: Descendants of Joe and Nancy Reibel at last weekend's reunion, held on their 100th anniversary were (back from left) Kevin Reibel, Steven Reibel, Vince Reibel, Bevan Reibel, Robert Reibel, (middle) Terry Reibel, Leanne Revell (nee Reibel), Judy Reibel, Annette Anfuso (Reibel), Lynne Davies (Reibel), Jeff Reibel, (front) Kelvin Reibel, Cynthia Crawford (Reibel), Graham Reibel and Andrew Reibel.
REUNION: Descendants of Joe and Nancy Reibel at last weekend's reunion, held on their 100th anniversary were (back from left) Kevin Reibel, Steven Reibel, Vince Reibel, Bevan Reibel, Robert Reibel, (middle) Terry Reibel, Leanne Revell (nee Reibel), Judy Reibel, Annette Anfuso (Reibel), Lynne Davies (Reibel), Jeff Reibel, (front) Kelvin Reibel, Cynthia Crawford (Reibel), Graham Reibel and Andrew Reibel.

150 gather to celebrate Gympie family reunion

LAST Saturday a reunion of the Reibel family was held on the 100th wedding anniversary of founding couple Joseph and Nancy Reibel.

Gympie's oldest school's first student lived in a bark hut.

metal hunter digs up piece of history

Around 150 people travelled from Melbourne, Canberra, Macksville NSW, Toowoomba, Rockhampton, Bowen, Brisbane, Singapore and Gympie to attend the event held at Olive Reibel's property at Wallu.

Joseph and Nancy's only surviving child Graham Reibel was among those who attended.

A spokesperson said the history of Joseph and Nancy's lives is an important milestone in the history of the Reibel family.

Cutting cake: Graham Reibel ( direct descendant of Joe & Nancy Reibel.
Cutting the cake was Graham Reibel, a direct descendant of Joe and Nancy. Contributed

The Life of Joseph and Nancy Reibel

JOSEPH Andrew Reibel was the son of Joseph and Emily Reibel, born in 1894 in Macksville, New South Wales.

Joseph enlisted into the Australian Imperial Forces on May 4, 1916 and served in the 1st Australian Pioneer Battalion.

Joseph embarked from Australia on August 22, 1916 and he served until the end of WWI.

During his service, Joseph was recommended for the Belgian Croix de Guerre, in 1917 and 1918, for bravery or other military virtue on the battlefield.

In 1919 Joseph Andrew Reibel was awarded with the Belgian Croix de Guerre.

The following extract is the recommendation made by the Lieutenant Corporal's for Joseph's devotion to duty:

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty whilst engaged in firing the defences at Strizsele during the month of May 1918 where he conducted parties nightly to the forward trench system, displaying great coolness under shell and machine gun fire.

"He also showed honourable courage and determination when in charge of his section during the operations at Lihons and Proyart in August that where they were engaged in digging strong points and forming tracks under constant enemy fire.”

Annie Jane Amelia Smith, known as Nancy, was born in 1898 in Lambeth, Surrey, England.

She was the third child and only daughter of Annie Georgina Smith and Alfred Alexander Smith.

Nancy's father died when she was a child, so her eldest brother, Sergeant Thomas Alfred Smith, gave her away at her wedding.

Joseph and Nancy met when Joseph was deployed overseas during the war, and they married on July 13, 1919 in London, England.

Joe & Nancy Reibel on their wedding day, July 13, 1919.
Joe and Nancy Reibel on their wedding day, July 13, 1919. Contributed

The following extract was contributed in the Nambucca and Bellinger News Friday September 19, 1919.

"A wedding was celebrated on 13th July, 1919, at St. George's Roman Catholic Cathedral, Southwark, London, the contracting parties being Sgt. Joseph Andrew Reibel, second son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Reibel of Taylor's arm, and Miss Annie Smith, only daughter of Mrs G. Smith, Fitzallen-st., Kennington, London.

"The ceremony, which took place at 1pm., was conducted by Father J.J. Farrell. The bride was given away by her brother, Sgt. Thomas Smith, and Mr. Geo. Postelthwaite was best man. There were three bridesmaids, the Misses Florence and Lilian Smith (cousins of the bride) and Miss Rose Solomon.

"There were a good number of friends and well wishes at the Cathedral. The ceremony over, an adjournment was made to the residence of the best man, where friends and guests sat to a plentiful spread. After dinner dancing and singing were indulged in, every one present making merry. The party broke up about midnight.

"Amongst those present were Sergeant and Mrs Bookallil and Baby Book. The honeymoon will be spent at Reigate. Sgt. and Mrs. Reibel are expecting to sail for Australia sometime in September. Wishing them a safe return.”

Joseph and Nancy moved to Sexton in 1929 and during that time, they contributed much to the community.

In 1941, Joseph and 16 fellow men were employed to build the Scotchy Pocket Bridge, which became known as the Reibel's bridge.

It was named after Joseph Reibel in honour of his guiding influence in bringing to a head, agitation which had been proceeding for about 35 years.

Joe and Nancy Reibel dancing at Cynthia (nee Reibel) and Bernie Crawford's wedding on October 4, 1969.
Joe and Nancy Reibel dancing at Cynthia (nee Reibel) and Bernie Crawford's wedding on October 4, 1969.

This bridge did not receive any money from a council to be built, and the farmers involved in the construction set this task to themselves just as they had from recent times.

If they hadn't, with the war and shortage of money, the building of the bridge would still be a distant thought.

Nancy cut the blue ribbon for the opening, which was stretched across the bridge by their daughter Ann Reibel and a fellow employers' daughter.

Joe and Nancy had eight children - Ann, Bob, Kurt, Lewis, Les, Graham, Rita and Joan.

Only Graham is still alive, and currently lives in Gympie.

In a tragic chapter of their lives, Rita and Joan died of diphtheria within six days of each other in 1936 at the ages of four and six years.

The couple retired to 20 Musgrave Road Gympie and farmed at Wilson Pocket before selling that property and moving to Tin Can Bay.

This is where they settled, living on Whiting Street.

Some recall Joseph as Strawberry Pop, in which he got this nickname because he used to grow strawberries in his back yard in Tin Can Bay.

Nancy passed away in 1976 and Joe in 1977. They are buried with their daughters Ann, Rita and Joan in Gympie Cemetery.