It was the first time a member of the Royal Family paid a visit to the Manning-Great Lakes.
In March 1973, The Duke of Edinburgh Prince Philip stepped off a plane at Taree Airport to a large crowd before a trip down the Pacific Highway to inspect a proposed mining site north of Hawks Nest.
The March 20 1973 edition of the Manning River Times reported it was a 'crowded day' for the duke.
"The Duke of Edinburgh's plane landed like a bird and taxied proudly up to the waiting crowd," the report said.
"He came out waving and the people cheered."
Taree mayor J W (Bill) Kennedy, Manning Shire president Cr J Gillogly, Manning River County Council chairman P Carney and Member for Oxley Bruce Cowan were waiting when he stepped off the plane.
Six shiny black chauffer-driven cars stood by on the airfield and the duke got into one with the royal flag flying on its bonnet.
He was accompanied by two ministers as he greeted the politicians before heading towards the crowd. One of those ministers is believed to be Leon Punch who became deputy leader of the party in 1973, holding the Ministry of Public Works and Ports. He was also Member for Gloucester.
About 100 people had packed the area and lined the fence in front of the terminal building.
He then spoke to an assembled group of Cundletown Public School students. School captain Jo-Anne Louis was one of the lucky few to chat with the duke.
"Six shiny black chauffer-driven cars stood by on the airfield and the duke got into one with the royal flag flying on its bonnet," the report continued.
The fleet moved along the Pacific Highway (of the time) and through Taree while school children and others waved by the roadside.
It then travelled along the Lakes Way and through Tuncurry and Forster.
The fleet then turned down a dirt road and stopped at a proposed mining site about 32 kilometres north of Hawks Nest.
A director of mining company Mineral Deposits Ltd then explained the proposed operations to mine for minerals.
Once the site inspection and discussion finished, the group headed back to the cars.
Here the duke was offered a beer by a bystander which he politely declined.
It was then off to Tea Gardens Hotel for a seafood lunch consisting of Myall prawns, local fish, oysters and crabs.
Prince Philip would return to Australia later in the year. He accompanied Queen Elizabeth II to open the Sydney Opera House on October 20.
Speaking of the Queen, an exerpt from the March 18 1969 edition of the Times revealed she was once earmarked to open the 1970 Wingham Show.
With expectations the Queen would officially open a new road complex further up the North Coast while in Australia for Captain Cook bicentenary celebrations, the Upper Manning A and H Association was considering an invitation to the show.
"The association feels that it could arrange a show date to coincide with the road opening if given enough time," the report said.
"Wingham already has had an impressive list of official guests to open country shows.
"Hollywood star Anne Baxter officially opened the show in 1966.
"She was then married to millionaire Randolph Galt, who owned a property at Giro near Gloucester."
It's fair to say the Wingham Showground didn't get the royal treatment from Her Majesty.
Special thanks to Cundletown Historical Society volunteers who helped dig up the information from the Manning River Times archives at Cundletown Museum.
The discovery of the photos and the duke's visit to the Manning was a surprise to many in the Times office.
If you have memories or a story from the visit, please let us know.
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