18 June 2012
The old Taree pool came back to life on Sunday with its official opening as a community stage with great live entertainment. The official proceedings commenced with local Biripi Elder, Aunty Barbara giving an emotional Welcome to Country. This was followed by Mayor Paul Hogan who announced the new name of the space - Harry Bennett Park.
Paul stated that “there was an overwhelming response from the community supporting this name. Around 80% of the respondents voted for Harry Bennett Park. Harry is very fondly remembered by the community and it is wonderful that his name will always be reflected in this way.”
Harry’s wife, Faye Bennett joined Paul in cutting the ribbon and officially opening the park. The official ceremony ended with a beautiful song performed by Harry’s daughter, Nikki Bennett. Nikki sang with passion and the audience was in awe of her voice. The song “One Moment in Time” echoed across the river and was dedicated to her father.
The ceremony was followed by great local entertainment, all of whom provided their time free of charge. Theatre Manager of the Manning Entertainment Centre, Jeremy Miller ran the proceedings for the day and was thrilled with the high level of local talent. “The mix of entertainment was fantastic. We had the beautiful voices of Kumari Lamotte and Lucy Bird followed by our local talented youth bands; Believe the Hype, Ocean Colour Scheme and Kavit. These youth bands are going to perform at Live and Loud in Council’s Taree Library on Tuesday night”.
The Gymaroo Allstar Cheerleaders and Acro Performance Team also wowed the crowd with their excellent gymnastic skills. They are heading off to Japan in November by special invitation to perform at the Japanese Festival of gymnastics.
The day ended with the mature playing skills of Gordon Meldrum, Jethro’s Blues Band and Willowband. “It was a great line-up of talent and really shows the breadth of entertainment we have in our local community” Jeremy stated.
Jeremy was excited about the new stage. “The venue was fantastic and the clear weather allowed the music to travel the length of the Manning River. We hope to see this venue used for similar events in the future”.
While the official opening has concluded, another exciting project was undertaken on the day with TAFE students volunteering their time to film the community’s fond memories of the old pool. Once edited, this information will be provided on Council’s website for everyone to view.
Contact Sue Calvin on 6592 5384 for more information.