Gary and Dalrene win Gold – Story by Marie Pietersz | Photographs courtesy of the family


Gary Joseph and Dalrene Sharelle (nee Achilles) Pompeus celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary with a grand party at the Melrose Reception Centre, Airport West, on Sunday, 11 March 2018.  

A thanksgiving ceremony preceded the celebrations and was presided over by celebrant Deacon Pou’kesi Vaka’uta. It included a blessing of rings and thanksgiving prayers led by the five grandchildren and god-daughter, Jeanine Pompeus, one of three god-children present.

Dalrene was very excited as she described how Gary and she had waited so long for this special day and a further declaration of their love for each other. Special moments of the evening that moved her included the rendition of the love song, I found lasting love, by Sal Mineo, sung to her by Gary, the speeches by her grandchildren and the specially choreographed dance performed for them by three of the grandsons. 

The 165 guests were entertained to a packed agenda. Highlights included a rendition of O My Papa by Dalrene’s older brother and trumpeter Dallas Achilles, a love song by Steve and Ann Furtado, and speeches by younger brother Delmer Achilles, Gary’s sister, Carol Raymond, and bestman Ralph de Zilva.

It all started when Dalrene and her sister Orianna met Gary and a friend at a dance at the 20th Century Dance club. Gary claims Dalrene played ‘hard to get’ which spurred him on to pursue her and love blossomed. However, Dalrene’s father, Vernon, was opposed to the friendship at first as Dalrene was Anglican and Gary a Catholic. However, love won and the couple were married at the All Saints Church, Borella, on  12 March 1968, and were blessed with a son, Dodwell, that same year.

The couple migrated to Australia in September 1972 and have lived in Melbourne ever since. They became Australian citizens in 1974.

When they first arrived in Melbourne, they shared a home in Broadmeadows with kind friends Bunny and Therese Joseph, who themselves had eight children, but made room to fit them in, until Dalrene and Gary were able to rent a house in Glenroy and then purchase their home in Gladstone Park in 1976 where they have lived for 42 years.

In Sri Lanka, Dalrene learned shorthand and typewriting at the Pitman’s Shorthand and Typewriting Academy, going on to become a teacher at the Academy before progressing to the position of Secretary.

In Australia, Gary worked at the Ford Motor Company at Broadmeadows for 29 years and Dalrene worked as a Stock R/Typist/Invoicing Clerk at Ericcsons, the well-known communications company, also for 29 years, temporarily resigning when daughter Maria was born in 1974 and rejoining the company in those days when maternity leave was not part of employment agreements.

The couple have five grandchildren whom they adore. Son Gary married Tania Fernando and have two children Jacob (17) and Chloe (15) and daughter Maria married Parrick Iosefo and have three children, twins Zyon and Dre (12) and Maxym (9).

Since arriving in Melbourne, Gary and Dalrene have been intimately involved with the Parish of Good Shepherd, Gladstone Park and regularly attend and assist at Sunday and weekday Masses. They are also the organisers of the weekly Novenas to Our Lady of Perpetual Help held at St Fidelis Church, Coburg for over 31 years, together with 23 years of dedication to weekly devotions to the Holy Miraculous Infant Jesus of Prague organised by Gary.

Gary and Dalrene are very busy in their retirement with their significant involvement in church activities and as ardent supporters of their grandchildren who are making names for themselves in the sporting field among other things.

To know this couple is to know their love for the church, each other and their family. Congratulations Gary and Dalrene on this significant milestone and best wishes go with you for many more years of a happy and healthy wedded life together. 

 MC for the Evening:  Godson Perry Amarasingham 

Catering: Melrose Receptions

Cake: Ayisvy Miral 

Bombanier wedding cake: Joan Fernando

Special mention guests: Carol and Melessa Raymond. Eden and Jeanine Pompeus (Sydney) and school mates Ralph and Vilette De Zilva (Queenland), Dylan and Christine Modder (Canada), Roy and Ingrid Parsons, Peter and Marguerite De Niese, Jermyn and Joan Dekker, Johnny and Daphne Van Sanden, and three godchildren.

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