The secret of making lifelong friendships

They’ve been mates for life.

Friends for life: (left to right)  Barry and Carolyn Brown, Keith and Barbara Ireson, and Keith and Paula Adamson. Picture: Chris Lane

Friends for life: (left to right) Barry and Carolyn Brown, Keith and Barbara Ireson, and Keith and Paula Adamson. Picture: Chris Lane

Now in their 70s, Barry Brown, Keith Ireson and Keith Adamson grew up in Bexley, all went to school together at Kingsgrove Primary and then Hurstville Boys Technical High School, shared hobbies and sports, all married Bexley girls, brought up their families together, and now all live with a 2km radius of each over in Sutherland Shire and still catch up every week.

“It’s an unusual circumstance that three of us live so close together and have had a shared history of schooling, socialising, marriages and living in the shire in excess of 50 years,” Barry said.

Barry Brown and Keith Ireson, both 74, grew up in Unwin Street, Bexley. Keith Adamson, 75, (who was not available for the interview)  grew up one street away  in Ada Street, Bexley.

All three started school at Kingsgrove Primary in 1948.

Barry and Carolyn Brown on their wedding day.

Barry and Carolyn Brown on their wedding day.

They went to Hurstville Boys’ Technical High School in 1954 and left after completing their Intermediate Certificate in 1956.

Barry and Carolyn married 1965 and moved to Loftus.

Keith Ireson married Barbara in 1964 and they moved to Loftus in June 1966.

Keith Adamson met Paula, who lived only a few streets away in Bexley. They married in 1965, went to Woy Woy and then moved to Woronora about 46 years ago.

Keith and Barbara Ireson.

Keith and Barbara Ireson.

When Keith Ireson married Barbara, Barry was a groomsman and Paula a bridesmaid.

When Keith Adamson and Paula got married,  Keith Ireson was a groomsman.

Barry, “We have pretty well stuck together for socialising. At the age of 17, before we could drive a car, we bought surfboards. Keith’s Dad took us out to Maroubra to buy surfboards and we are still doing it, these days with wave-skis at Wanda and kayaking on the Woronora or Hacking rivers.

“We built a tandem together. We used to ride our bikes to Ryde. We grew up next to Bexley Golf Course and as kids we could wander off and spend hours on the golf links.

“But if Dad said jump you asked how high. There was a bit more responsibility. The six of us had the best parents anyone could want.”

Bringing up their families also kept them all together.

Keith and Paula Adamson.

Keith and Paula Adamson.

Barry and Carolyn have three children and now have 11 grandchildren.

Keith and Barbara Ireson had three children and now have four grandchildren.

Keith and Paula Adamson have two children and three grandchildren.

Keith, “We get on well but don’t live in each other’s pockets.”

Barry, “I think our lifelong friendship stems from our primary school days and the way we grew up. In the 1950s you made your own fun.”

Keith, “I think it’s our upbringing. All our parents stayed together and that reflects on your upbringing.”

Barry, “I went with Carolyn for four years before we got married. There was no rushing into things. With marriage you have to do your homework and make sure you have the right one.”

Keith, “It’s a different world now. It’s much faster and more distracting with all the electronic stuff and people are not as dedicated to work.”

Barry, “Community changes as you age. Loftus used to have five or six shops in the early days and you walked down the street and knew everybody. But these days new people are moving in.”

Keith said, “The older generation that built the homes are either passing away or going into retirement homes. The older generation who have stayed see a new generation of people moving in. It’s an evolution. I suppose it happens all over the world.”

Asked what is the secret of making lifelong friendships Barry said, tolerance.

“We’ve never had a blue. Friendship is important. If I needed something I know they will be there to help. It’s friendship you can rely on.

“It’s been a good run.”