Groom Walter Jago and bride May Giddins at their November 13, 1948 wedding with best man John Jago (left), bridesmaid Wilma Davis, father of the bride Bob Giddins (right) and flowergirl Wanda Giddins (front).
Groom Walter Jago and bride May Giddins at their November 13, 1948 wedding with best man John Jago (left), bridesmaid Wilma Davis, father of the bride Bob Giddins (right) and flowergirl Wanda Giddins (front).

Love stands test of time

WHEN May Giddins and Walter Jago married in Babinda on November 13, 1948 it brought together two of Babinda's best known families.

Giddins Creek was named after May's family and Jago St after Walter's. But it seemed fate kept them apart until they were older and ready for love.

Although they grew up in the same town and both went to Babinda State School as children, neither remembers meeting the other.

May spent her high school years as a boarder in Charters Towers and when she returned to Babinda, WWII had begun and Walter was in the army.

Stationed in Townsville, the talented footballer played for Centrals Club and was part of the Townsville rep team that won the Carlton Shield in 1946.

After the war, Walter (Watty) returned to Babinda and Babinda Rugby League. It was then that a 17-year-old May Giddins caught his eye.

After finishing school with straight A's, May was offered a teaching scholarship, but turned it down. Her father was ill and her family struggling.

May and Walter Jago of Babinda celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on November 13, 2018. They were married on November 13, 1948.
May and Walter Jago of Babinda celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary on November 13, 2018. They were married on November 13, 1948.

She found work as a tailor's seamstress and became known for her sewing and smocking. A talented singer, she also sang at many local weddings.

By the time she and Walter married in 1948, he and his three brothers - John, George and Bert - were household names in the Far North for their rugby league prowess.

"These were the golden years of football in Babinda," says Diane McKay, May and Walter's daughter.

"Babinda fans followed their team as faithfully as Cowboys fans do today. Special trains would take footballers and their fans to places like Townsville.

"On the return trip, trains would blow their whistle well out of town and continue tooting all the way in.

"In 1947, Babinda took the Carlton Shield from Townsville. In 1948, Watty and his brothers played pivotal roles in winning the Foley Shield, which had replaced the Carlton Shield. Babinda held the honour of winning the last Carlton Shield and the first Foley Shield."

Diane says an aunt who was overheard at the wedding saying "that girl is wasted on marriage" was quickly silenced.

"This was a popular marriage between two young people very much in love and it has certainly stood the test of time," Diane says.