Radium, discovered in 1898, was regarded as so exotic at the time that the rare 70th wedding anniversary was briefly known as 'the radium wedding'. Here, Mr and Mrs Robert Bilkey of Pukekohe are surrounded by descendants on their radium wedding anniversary on 31 October 1909. According to a report in the Hawera and Normanby Star, 'Mr and Mrs Bilkey were married in Cornwall on October 31, 1839, and came to New Zealand in the ship Bombay in 1865. They remained in Onehunga until 1880, when they removed to Pukekohe, where they have since resided. The aged couple are both enjoying splendid health. Mr Bilkey, who is 90 years of age, is a very early riser, and he still lights the fire every morning. Mrs Bilkey, who is 93 years of age, is also very active, and is still able to read a newspaper without the aid of glasses.'
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Auckland City Libraries - Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero, Sir George Grey Special Collections
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