Ern and Beulah Manea
© Gary Merrin,
WA Sunday Times
Dr Manea welcomes then Premier of Western Australia, Carmen
Lawrence, to the official opening of the renovated Bunbury
Council Chambers in May 1992
photo courtesy Max Agnew’s “Harness and
Dr Manea (left) with Kevin Murray, Ron Barassi and Neil Kerley,
at one of the annual charity football games in Bunbury he helped
organize in the 1960’s
photo courtesy Max Agnew’s “Harness and
Representing Australia at the 1995 World Trotting Conference,
Columbus, Ohio, with Ken Dyer
photo courtesy Ken Dyer
Welcoming in the new AHRC Chairman, Tony McGrath, in 2000
Ern and Beulah Manea after the 2007 Australia Day Presentation
photo courtesy Kim Fee, Bunbury Public
Ern Manea presents the winning trophy to Clive Berryman, part
owner of Supabrew, who won the 2007 Ern Manea Classic at Bunbury
Adfoto and used with permission
AT NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEVELS
Born at Albany on the southwest tip of Western Australia in
1926, Ernest Cosmo Manea went to local Primary and High Schools
before graduating Bachelor of Medicine (MB) and Bachelor of
Surgery (BS) at Perth and Adelaide Universities. He was later a Fellow of the Royal College of General
Establishing a medical career and medical centre at 26 years of
age in the nearby big country city of Bunbury in 1952, Dr. Manea
met his wife Beulah that same year at Royal Perth Hospital,
where she worked as a nurse. He became involved in the local
business and political worlds of that city, later becoming Mayor
firstly in 1966-1972 and again in 1988. During his time as
Mayor, Bunbury Town Council was selected as the most efficient
and progressive local authority in Western Australia. Bunbury
also won the Tidy Town Competition twice.
In the three decades 1960-90 Dr. Manea was appointed Director of
South West Development and Regional authorities, Chairman of St
John’s Hospital, and community representative on the WA
Technical Education Board. He also became a member of the AMA
State Council, and Foundation President of the Bunbury Arts
Promotional Council, as well as participating at a high level in
many service and planning organizations in the Bunbury region.
As a highly popular Mayor of Bunbury his views on politics and
planning were frequently sought by the various Premiers and
Ministers of the State Governments of the day. His appointments
included membership of the WA Government Committee of Inquiry
into Rates and Taxes, plus Regional Planning and Development
Committees. Dr. Manea was selected as the first elected member
of Local Government to address the Institute of Municipal
Administration in Canberra.
In 2001 the newly elected MLA for Bunbury Tony Dean, in his
inaugural speech, said “without doubt, the major political giant
of Bunbury in the past 30 years has been Ern Manea, a politician
of such stature and skill that he has remained aloof from the
party political process. I had the pleasure to serve three years
as a councillor with Ern Manea when he was Mayor of Bunbury. He
is a remarkable man with an intellect as big as his ambitions
for the seat of Bunbury”.
Earlier in 1954 Dr. Manea had become locally involved in the
youth sporting community of Bunbury on committees and became
President of the Bunbury District Junior Football Association in
1961. This later extended in 1965 to Presidency of the Bunbury
Sports Youth Foundation, and his involvement in organizing an
annual charity football match brought many celebrities to town,
including Melbourne’s Ron Barassi and Adelaide’s Neil Kerley. He
became closely associated with local senior football as
President of the South Bunbury Football Club in 1961, graduating
the same year to President of the Bunbury District Football
His strong contribution to local affairs is reflected in the twelve life memberships he holds in sporting and community clubs, and in 2009 he was named as the inaugural patron of the South West Academy of Sport in Western Australia. There is also an educational college in Bunbury named after him.
In his student days in Adelaide he had frequently attended
harness racing at the Wayville Track in Adelaide and then later,
when a medical officer at Royal Perth Hospital, he attended
patients from nearby Gloucester Park harness racing accidents.
On setting up medical practice in Bunbury he loaned one of his
patients the cost of a service fee to a local pacing sire and
when the patient could not repay he was given the resultant
foal. Seemingly the harness racing industry was beckoning him
into the sport - and it is an interest that still continues
after 60 years at various heights of local, national and
Becoming the owner of several pacers he founded the Marden Stud
Farm in the 1950’s just south of Bunbury, standing several
imported stallions and at one time owning twenty one brood
mares. His best horse in those times was the smart pacer Marden
Miss which won the Bunbury Cup driven by his son Dennis. He
later bred and raced Mighty Michael, a high class Gloucester
Dr. Manea joined the WA Trotting Association at Gloucester Park
in the mid 1960’s and was co-opted on to the Committee in 1978
to help resolve disputes within the Committee. In a similar
timeframe, he joined the Bunbury Trotting Club, and was elected
to President in 1980.
In 1979 (to 1987) he became President of the WATA which led to
Presidency of the Australian Harness Racing Council 1984-2000
and the Inter Dominion Harness Racing Council 1987-2000. In
1991-1993 Ern Manea served a term as President of the
International Trotting Association (ITA) and became a long term
attendee at the bi-annual World Trotting Conferences.
During this period Dr. Manea was elected a Member of the
Racecourse Development Trust and the Totalisator Agency Board.
Other positions he held were Board Member of Bunbury Institute
of Advanced Education, Chairman of the Board of Western
Broadcasting Services PL, and Chairman of the Board St John of
God Hospital in Bunbury.
As Mayor of Bunbury he was a Leader in many initiatives
including a Sister City Agreement with Setagaya City in Japan.
In November 1994, as Mayor, he signed a major commitment with
the local Nyungar to work together and recognize their rights
and histories - only the second of such commitments in
Australia. Earlier on in his football administration days he and
his wife Beulah had taken in and raised an aboriginal teenager
called Syd Jackson who developed into a star footballer in the
South Bunbury FC and later moved to Melbourne where he became a
notable player with the leading club of those days - Carlton.
In 1992 the AHRC acknowledged Dr. Manea with the JP Stratton
Award, the highest Australian Standardbred Industry award. This
was for his Leadership, Significant Achievement, Foresight,
Initiative on a national and international basis over a
significant period of time warranting national recognition by
the harness racing industry. In 1997 the International Trotting
Association confirmed his contribution to International Trotting
affairs by awarding him Life Membership. In 1997 also the Ohio
House of Representatives (USA) awarded Ern Manea a Special
His contribution as a member of the Rotary Club of South Bunbury
for many years was noted in 1996 with his being made a “Paul
Harris Fellow”. He was already a Fellow of the Edith Cowan
University, a University that he was prime mover for its
establishment when Mayor of Bunbury years earlier.
In 2000, on completion of his Presidency and handover to Mr.
Tony McGrath, the IDHRC awarded him its Gold Medal, and renamed
the award the “Ern Manea Inter Dominion Gold Medal”. One of the
many tributes at the time came from The United States Trotting
Association: “Dr. Manea has not only been a leader in Australia,
but is equally respected and recognised on a world-wide level.
Ern Manea IS harness racing around the world, and he will be
missed more than he may realize. With a heavy heart we farewell
a good friend.”
In 2002 Dr Manea ended a 50 year relationship with his medical
centre and established a private practice. At this time it was
stated that he had delivered three thousand five hundred and
eighty one babies.
Renowned as a brilliant orator, Ern Manea’s speaking skills were
an asset to the organizations he was leading. However, in
retrospect, his greatest ability was to foster progress and
development, particularly in harness racing, in an era of great
technological change, culminating in major advances and a more
truly national philosophy.
His contribution to the community and local Government was recognized earlier in his life, being appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1985 and an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1998. He also received the Australian Centenary Medal. His wife Beulah is a notable person too in her own right. A very good public speaker, Beulah also participated in community affairs in Bunbury, particularly in arts and historical projects, and in 2006 was awarded OAM for her services to the local community.
On Australia Day, 2007, a special presentation was made to Dr. Manea in Bunbury - a set of tapes and transcript of interviews detailing his life, including his involvement in harness racing, which Bunbury Trotting Club highlighted in 2006 with the inaugural Manea Classic race for pacers, which is being run annually. In 2010, his induction as an Associate into the Western Australian Racing Hall of Fame was a further acknowledgement of his outstanding service to the industry.
Dr Manea's death in October 2013 after a short illness brought numerous tributes, with politicians, community leaders and the standardbred industry included. His immense contribution to the community will be a continuing legacy shared by many.