Tallygaroopna couple still in love after 65 years

By Charmayne Allison

When Martin Opresnik scaled mountains and crossed oceans from "Old Yugoslavia" to Australia in 1951, his one goal was to flee the oppressive grip of the Iron Curtain.

But it turns out the Slovenian political refugee was also racing towards true love.

Because waiting for him on the other side was his soulmate of 65 years, Thirza.

Although, it took a little while for the couple, now based in Tallygaroopna, to realise their life partner was standing right in front of them.

“I didn't take much notice of him at first,” Thirza admitted.

Born in Minyip in 1933, Thirza had enjoyed a quiet, happy childhood, moving to Melbourne at the age of 11, where she eventually started working as a hairdresser on Collins St.

It was a stark contrast to Martin's upbringing in Slovenia, in the middle of World War II.

By 1951, Martin's family had all escaped to Brazil and he was ready to follow.

But he never got there.

Stopping for a brief breather in Melbourne, he met Thirza when they were introduced by a friend of a friend at the pictures.

“We continued to be thrown together and eventually got together,” Thirza said.

“His English wasn't so good, we had to get around it. He couldn't even pronounce my name because they don't have a ‘th’ in Slovenia.”

So what did they like about each other?

“He was very quiet and attentive,” Thirza said.

As for Martin, he liked "everything".

“She was the reason I stayed here,” he said.

Love blossomed and they were engaged within 12 months and married within two years, in Caulfield, 1955.

Martin and Thirza have had their fair share of adventures throughout the years - they have three sons, 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Then there was their brave decision to uproot life in Melbourne and become Tallygaroopna dairy farmers in 1976.

“We had absolutely no experience in dairy farming,” Thirza said.

“Our friends lived up here and we used to stay with them. When they told us a farm was for sale, we came up.

“We ended up farming for about 20 years.”

While the farming life certainly had its ups and downs, they'd do it all again.

They're now settled in a house across the road.

And it was there they celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary on Wednesday with a quiet dinner.

Sixty-five years on, Martin and Thirza are as in love as ever.

“I love the fact he puts up with me,” Thirza laughed.

“I love his peacefulness. He's always looked after us. He's very solid.”

“I'd be lost without her,” Martin said.

So what's the secret to 65 years of marriage?

“Communication. It's important to talk through things. And a good sense of humour,” Thirza said.

“You've got to stick together, through good times and bad times.”

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