THE LURE of a small business originally attracted Ken and Hope Marland to Queanbeyan but it was the warmth of the town and its people that have kept the couple here.
"It's the people of the town that make it and I don't think that's changed. I think you can still walk down the street and nod to anybody and still get a smile back. You can't do that in Canberra," Mrs Marland said.
The year was 1962 and the Marlands had just moved from Wagga Wagga to Queanbeyan after purchasing an accounting practice on Lowe Street.
"We'd never heard of Queanbeyan and didn't know anything about it," Mrs Marland said.
"We came on the basis that if it wasn't much good, we would work and make it so."
The Marlands immersed themselves in town life, and with their accounting know-how they were "sitting ducks" for any organisation in need of a treasurer or president.
The couple had their finger in every community group pie, serving on the Rotary Club, the Scouts, Legacy, Friendship Force, Queanbeyan Children's Special Needs Organisation, the Carinya Foundation and Karabar Housing Cooperative Association just to name a few.
Mrs Marland was also the second female alderman elected to Queanbeyan City Council where she served for 30 years.
"Queanbeyan has been very good to us. We tried to help people as much as we could and the response back is such a reward. We were very quickly embraced by the people of the town. They were very friendly and we were part of the town in no time," Mrs Marland said.
"Country people know each other and help each other out. I think the people of Queanbeyan are most generous ... they come to the party for any good cause."
There was once a time when the Marlands considered moving across the border to the big smoke. They even went so far as to build a house in Pearce with an office set up for the practice.
"When it came to moving we decided 'no, we were here and we like Queanbeyan.' The town was expanding so quickly, so rapidly," Mrs Marland said.
"We knew all the new streets and new developments. It was an exciting time and it still is."