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From Leicester to Adelaide: seven children and 70+ years of marriage for Gordon and June

on Monday, February 12, 2024

With their seven children in tow, Resthaven Craigmore residents Mr Gordon Dunnicliff, 95, and Mrs June Dunnicliff, 91, occupied a whole row of the plane when they moved from Leicester, England to Australia in 1962.

‘We were Ten Pound Poms and we moved here at the same time as seven other families from our area,’ June says. ‘It was the thing to do!’

Arriving in Adelaide, June says the family squeezed into a hotel room in the city, before finding what was to become their family home at St Agnes. Gordon had lined up a job with the Electricity Trust of South Australia (ETSA) and it wasn’t long before he was climbing the poles.

‘It was a very busy time,’ June laughs. ‘With seven kids there was always something to do. But we had very good neighbours who helped us out. I would take all the kids to school, and someone else would bring them home.’ 

June found a job doing office work in the city, keeping track of the daily tasks, and ensuring everything ran smoothly.

‘It was a most interesting job with a real estate company, and keeping track of rentals around us,’ June says. ‘I had to be very organised, but with seven children, I always tried to be one step ahead. I think that was what made me successful at my job as well.’

June had learned shorthand and was able to take dictation at 120 words per minute.

‘Even now, sometimes I’ll absent-mindedly take shorthand notes when I hear someone talking on the TV,’ June laughs. ‘It’s an automatic reaction.’

Within what felt like moments, the children had grown up and Gordon and June moved to a new house at Golden Grove.

‘Friends of ours (who had moved from England at around the same time) had just moved to the area as well,’ June says. ‘We’ve been friends with them now for 62 years!’

Life in England

June and Gordon both grew up in Leicester, England, getting to know each other as a result of June’s friendship with Gordon’s sister, Jean.

‘Wednesday night was ladies’ night, and Jean and I would always go out dancing,’ June says. ‘Gordon was never much of a dancer. He was more into football (and he still is!), but he was a bit cheeky which caught my eye.’

Gordon had completed two years of National Service, posted to Nuremberg, Germany, and was now driving trucks to earn a living. Romance blossomed and on March 6, 1953, they were married at St Saviour’s Church, Leicester, England.

‘It was the start of spring, and it was a very cold day,’ June says. ‘The wind blew my veil around everywhere!’

After the ceremony, the wedding party and guests went to the local hall, where June’s father, who was a chef at Leicester University, catered the event.

Once married, June and Gordon rented rooms above a shop for a while.

‘That was all we could afford,’ June laughed.

Their first child was born, and when they were able, the family bought a bigger house. Then, the opportunity to move to Australia came along, and June says they’ve never looked back.

Hobbies and interests

Even from across the world, June and Gordon remain life-long fans of the Leicester City Football Club. They even won a trip to visit the club in 1983 through the Adelaide Advertiser. Likewise, after their move to Australia, June continued to go dancing on a regular basis. She was also part of a YMCA musical society and says her favourite performance was when she was in the chorus of South Pacific.

Travel was also a highlight for June and Gordon, visiting family and friends in England, Canada, and the United States of America, as well as travelling to Japan and Europe. Gordon collects coins and stamps and has postcards from every country that they have visited.

‘The only place we haven’t been to is Italy,’ June says. ‘But we’ll get there when we win the lottery! Our favourite place was Hawaii. There was so much to do there, and the beaches were beautiful.’

June and Gordon celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary in 2023, not long after they moved into Resthaven Craigmore.

‘We have been very lucky,’ June says. ‘We have had many good times and are looking forward to enjoying lots of activities in the future.’

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