Remarkable Tweedale celebrates 99th birthday

Mon, May 4, 2020, 11:15 PM
by AAP
Gordon Bray interviews Eric Tweedale ahead of his 99th birthday, on May 5 2020.

Australia's oldest-living Wallaby Eric Tweedale turns 99 today, reaching a milestone in an incredible life on and off the rugby field.

Tweedale first played rugby in 1937 and made his Wallabies debut in 1946 after serving in World War II.

On field, Tweedale recalls his invitation into the Wallabies fold, his debut for the Parramatta Two Blues and an assignment to look after a rookie named Nick Shehadie.

That latter was a misnomer, the "remarkable" Shehadie not requiring much assistance on international tours, according to Tweedale.

Possibly, the most incredible story Tweedale has though is that of his reunion with partner Enid Wagner.

Theirs is a remarkable tale, two halves of a love story separated by more than 60 years.

Tweedale and Wagner were engaged to be married in 1942 before Tweedale joined the navy and fought in World War II.

During the three years he was serving, the pair "drifted apart" and didn't see or speak to each other for many years, both going on to lead separate lives and marry other people.

Then one fortuitous day  in 2004, Tweedale was asked to do a favour for a friend and meet a widow at Sydney's Central station and look after her for the day ahead of a social gathering.

"I asked, 'What’s her name?' She said, 'Enid Wagner , do you know her?' Know her? I almost married her!," he recalls.

"So we’ve met at the big clock at central station and took on from there.

"I was happily married to Phyllis and Enid had lost her husband  earlier. Two years later, I lost Phyllis also, so we just ended up together 64 years after we last saw each other."

The pair's love story is just one of the fascinating tales Tweedale recounted to Gordon Bray in an interview ahead of his 99th birthday on May 5.


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