THE genesis for the Taree Aquatic Carnival or Manning River Aquatic Festival, came from a public meeting called by Taree Municipal Council mayor, Alderman Wally Sneddon, on October 13, 1950.
Warren Ruprecht, the longest serving president of the aquatic association, revealed this at the unveiling of the plaque in 2016 acknowledging the role the association and Taree Municipal Council played in improving the Taree foreshore.
From that meeting the association was formed with Ald EWO Martin the first president. The first carnival was held in January 1951. Council started work on the retaining wall in 1953.
Mr Ruprecht said that within 10 years of the first carnival Taree Municipal Council had spent 50,624 pounds on the retaining wall and Queen Elisabeth Park. A total of 41,428 pounds was raised through the efforts of the Aquatic Association.
"That's not bad for a group of volunteers,'' he said.
"It's something I've always been very proud to have been associated with.
"The association also paid for the filtration of the Taree Baths (pool), four boat ramps that have since been filled in and we also raised the money for the lighting in the park,'' Mr Ruprecht added.
"The festival didn't just promote aquatic activities is promoted the town. The Aquatic meant something to everybody,'' he said.
"Whether you were a sailor, a powerboat driver or wanted to ride on the ferris wheel or get a pluto pup from the boy scout's tent.''
At its height the festival ran for six nights and three days. That was when there was a long weekend in January to mark Australia Day, regardless of whether it was January 26 or not. The festival started to get the wobbles in the late 1980s and eventually lapsed in the mid-1990s.
"A bit of Taree died then,'' Mr Ruprecht lamented.