This week twins, triplets, quads and more will be celebrated around Australia as part of Multiple Birth Awareness Week.
The national campaign raises awareness around the unique realities for multiple birth families in Australia and how advocacy, positive education and engaged communities can contribute to enabling positive health outcomes for families with multiples.
In the past 12 months nine multiple births have been recorded across the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service.
Historically, the most famous story of them all is that of the Lucke quads.
Speaking to one of the quadruplets Jennifer Faulkner, we turn the clock back to July, 1955 to find out what made their birth story so spectacular.
Lucke quads bring excitement to community
It was pure excitement in Bundaberg when news of the birth of the Lucke quads circulated the town.
Parents Arthur and Agnes Lucke had just welcomed the arrival of their four babies Kevin, Eric, Veronica and Jennifer.
The birth itself was monumental, with the quads delivered naturally in just three hours and with only two local doctors and no specialists in sight.
“Mum was truly remarkable to have done that,” Jennifer said.
“It was such a rarity to deliver quads naturally and within such a short time frame.
“Even to this day only one in 750,000 quads are delivered that way.”
The four siblings were born at six weeks premature and weighed 5.10 pounds (Kevin) 5.12 (Eric), 3.10 (Veronica) and 4.10 (Jennifer).
The news of the siblings spread like wildfire, not only in Bundaberg, but throughout the whole of Australia and even the world.
Jennifer said news articles, magazine covers and more featured their birth story and “the Lucke quads” became a household name in the region.
“It was a really big thing because we were the first quads born in Queensland and the second in Australia,” she said.
“I believe there was excitement around town and everywhere, in fact, I have a port full of cards that mum received congratulating her on our arrival.”
Growing up on their parents property on Moore Park Road, Jennifer said it wasn't unusual for people to stop by to “take a look at the quads”.
“Our house had a big verandah and my mother used to have a partition up so people could see us but couldn't get to us to pick us up or touch us,” she said.
“As we got older we still had the occasional car pull up at the house.
“Even these days I often have people say ‘oh we came to see you at Moore Park Road when you were a baby'.”
Growing up a Lucke quad in Bundaberg
The four siblings grew up on their Moore Park Road property for 14 years, attending Gooburrum State School.
“In high school Eric and Kevin went to Christian Brothers and Veronica and I went to St Patrick's,” Jennifer said.
“We were in the same class for two years before we got split up because Veronica was good at maths and I was not!”
Jennifer said growing up in Bundaberg, most of her free time was spent with her siblings and cousins before they left school to join the workforce.
“After school my brothers worked at Bundaberg Co Op and to this day lots of people remember the boys from there,” she said.
“My sister and I worked at Mater Hospital where she was a nurse and I was a receptionist.”
When the quads were in their 20s, their parents tragically died within 11 months of each other.
“Mum and Dad were 61 and 62 when they passed, that was a very sad time,” Jennifer said.
These days, Jennifer and Eric still live in Bundaberg while Kevin moved to Bribie Island.
Veronica sadly passed away eight years ago.
“Life goes on and we have to be strengthened by it,” Jennifer said.
Memories flow on Multiple Birth Week
The Lucke quads are part of a large family tree made up of 15 sets of twins.
While Jennifer said she never planned any celebrations on Multiple Birth Week, she did use the occasion to reflect on her life and her family.
“Some of my fondest memories are of Mum and Dad taking us fishing at Moore Park Beach,” she said.
“That was something we all liked to do together as a family.
“I also love looking back on all of our photos, they mean so much to me.
“I have them hanging up on my wall with one of mum and dad and the four of us in the centre.”
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