New Zealand-born Chris Cummings met his wife, Beth, on a train going from Melbourne, Australia, to Sydney. “Beth thought I was a porter. I was helping other young things with their luggage on the platform,” Chris says with a twinkle in his eyes. “Beth said to me, ‘Are you the man with the red hat?’ (porter). That was the first thing she said to me, and it just went from there.” They saw a bit of each other during that trip, then wrote letters back and forth for a year. Beth, who is from Western Australia, visited Chris in New Zealand, and six months later, they were married.
Chis worked as a book binder and Beth as a teacher of young children until their sons were born. They lived in New Zealand for 18 years, then moved to Perth, Australia. They were there for 26 years, then decided to move to Molloy Island in Western Australia. “As soon as we pulled up to the Molloy Island ferry, it was like, ohhh, I can’t believe it,” exclaims Beth. “Chris has always liked to live near the water, and I’d liked to live near the bush. And here we have everything; the river, the ocean, the forest and farm land.”
Photo: Chris & Beth Cummings at their home on Molloy Island, Western Australia
Chris and Beth explain that their two sons, who were in their 20s at the time, suggested their folks look at Molloy Island as a future home. Beth remembers, “Our boys said, ‘This is your chance, Mom and Dad, to make a move, begin a new life, get out of the city and start anew.’ And so that is what we did, and we have been here for 26 years and never regretted it.”
Chris got a job as a cave guide at Jewel, Lake and Mammoth Caves, and Beth went back into teaching. Now retired, the two work with the local Augusta aged care facility driving the elderly to monthly outings. “When we first came here,” says Beth. “We didn’t have jobs, we didn’t know anybody, but what an adventure it’s been!”