I rise to pay tribute to a stalwart of the Forrest electorate and Bunbury community who was lost to us in October. Dr Ern Manea was a man known to nearly all throughout his time as a Bunbury physician, as the mayor and as a community activist. He was born in Albany, Western Australia, in 1926, of the dynamic mix of Irish and Greek heritage. Perhaps it was this mix that resulted in his fiery passion for his local community.
He completed his medical training at the University of Western Australia and the University of Adelaide and completed an internship at the Royal Perth Hospital. In 1952 Ern arrived in Bunbury to work as a GP in a large Bunbury practice, a role he maintained until 2002, when he struck out to start his own practice at the sprightly age of 76. He retired in 2010, aged 84, having delivered over 3½ thousand babies, performed countless surgeries and treated the ills of the greater Bunbury community for over 58 years.
Ern Manea also served 15 years as Mayor of Bunbury and a further nine years on council. He was on the board of GWN, was a past president of the International Trotting Association and was a member of Rotary. Dr Manea lobbied hard for a local faculty of Edith Cowan University and served on its board. He also was instrumental in establishing the Bunbury Regional Art Galleries and was one-time president of the South Bunbury Football Club. He was a life member of over a dozen local groups in Bunbury and the patron of many.
For his work in the Bunbury community Dr Manea received the Order of Australia and was also made an Officer of the Order of Australia. Local Manea College is also named after him. However, it was his role with the St John of God order in Bunbury, which resulted in the development of the St John of God private hospital in Bunbury, that I want to highlight to the House today. Ern Manea was very close to the order, who adopted him as one of their own. He chaired the local community board for many years, and without his work Bunbury might well not have a private hospital today—and what a hospital it has become.
The growth of service delivery in Bunbury, especially in cancer therapy, owes much to St John’s and much to Dr Ern Manea. Their contribution to health care in the south-west cannot be underestimated. The co-location of the private and state hospitals on the same site in Bunbury has been a success story that, I hope, will one day be repeated in regional areas around Australia. Ern Manea’s contribution to this outcome makes him one of the greatest servants the community of the south-west has seen.
I also want to offer my deepest sympathy to Ern’s lifetime partner—his wife, Snookie—to his family and to his close friends. The community of Bunbury was very well served by Dr Ern Manea throughout his life, and he certainly will be missed by many in our community.