‘The Walter Plummer Hall’ is a two-storey brick building situated in the heart of the Taree Showgrounds. It was built in 1910 as an exhibition hall for the new showgrounds.1 Some declaring it ‘the best hall outside the great cities of the state’.2
Walter Plummer was an auctioneer and one of the most popular men in the district.3 During his lifetime he held several important public offices including Alderman and Auditor for the Taree Municipal Council, and Returning Officer for the Gloucester Electorate.4 After the death of his father he took over the role of Secretary of the Manning River Agricultural and Horticultural Association (MRA & HA). Walter planned, facilitated and oversaw the relocation of the showgrounds and the creation of the new hall.5
On Sunday 20 November 1910, while holidaying at Black Head, Walter unexpectedly died from ‘the effects of an injury to the heart resulting from a blow accidentally received from a wave whilst bathing in the waters of the Pacific Ocean’.6 He was only 49 years old. His funeral was the largest ever seen in the Manning at the time with a cortege over a mile long.7
As a tribute to Walter the MRA & HA Committee named the hall after him.8 For over 100 years the hall has showcased the produce and crafts of the Manning Valley and now houses the North Taree Rotary Club’s Book Shed which sells second-hand books to raise funds for community charities.9
Author: Janine Roberts
1The ‘old’ showground was where the Manning Mall is currently located in 2017. It was bordered by Macquarie, Manning, Wynter and Albert Street.
2 Northern Champion,1 March 1913.
3 Daily Telegraph, 21 November 1910.
4 Government Gazette, 1893, 1898; Ancestry.com. Australia, Electoral Rolls, 1903-1980 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
5 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 29 March 1954.
6 Ancestry.com. New South Wales, Australia, Registers of Coroners’ Inquests, 1821-1937 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.
7 Daily Telegraph, 23 November 1910.
8 Manning River Times,30 December 1910.
9 Manning River Times, http://www.manningrivertimes.com.au/story/185481/taree-easter-book-sale-aids-rotary-work/