Manns family reunion attracts 305 descendants this year

Contestants in the Over 70 years Family Olympics at the Manns Family Reunion at  Dijoe over the long weekend.  Photo contributed
Contestants in the Over 70 years Family Olympics at the Manns Family Reunion at
Dijoe over the long weekend. Photo contributed

The Manns family held their biennial reunion at Dijoe over the long weekend with 305 descendants of Herbert and Violet Manns (née Shuttle) gathering to celebrate the 20th gathering of the family.

Saturday morning began with a morning tea and everyone wore an apron (pinny) to honour Granny Manns who wore her neat and tidy apron every day.

The morning tea crowd were there to cheer the Helmans Tank Olympic marathon runners home. The runners ranged in age from three to 45 plus years and all succeeded according to their ability and enjoyed the challenge immensely.

The Manns family and the Helmans Tank Tennis Club were part of the tennis scene in the Cobar district for many years so part of the activities on the weekend was a tennis competition. The games were fiercely contested and entertained the crowd who attended.

A beautiful and heart-warming Thanksgiving Service was held on Saturday afternoon with a special tribute to Judy and Bill van Aken for their 24 years of publishing the Helmans News, which is printed every reunion and is an archival record of family history, stories, and all things associated with the family.

The theme for the Saturday evening of fun, live music and dancing was ‘Cultures from across the World’. The food was delicious and interesting, the costumes from different countries were beautiful and Jason and Will Howell entertained the crowd with great music.

Early Sunday afternoon the Helmans Olympics took place, organised and conducted by the Barnes family and helpers. Tasks were set for all ages and abilities and events included running, balance skills, hockey, golf ball throwing and the family favourite, horse shoe tossing.

Sunday saw the continuation of the tennis competition with the finals being battled out between Jessica and Tom Russell from Melbourne and Jessie Manns (Cobar) and her grandson Austin Lenord from Queensland. After a very thrilling match which kept the crowd on the edge of their seats, the Melbourne couple were the winners and were presented with the trophy by Jim Manns.

Both Jim and Jessie Manns played for the original Helmans Tank Tennis Club.

The tennis was followed by ‘Camp’s got Talent’ where the younger members were able to showcase their singing and dancing skills.

Monday was time for good-byes and promises for the family to meet again in two years.

The Manns family reunion started in 1978 and it gets bigger, better and busier every time, with the younger generation now as keen for it to continue as the older generation are.—contributed

“Mum and Dad would be so proud of us,” Sid Manns was moved to say at the completion of the family thanksgiving service.

The youngest family member at the reunion was Zephyr Magnolia at just three weeks. Zephyr is a fifth generation Manns descendant, and a great great great granddaughter to Violet Manns of Helman’s Tank.

May Higgins, who camped out at the reunion site for the duration of the event, was the oldest. May turns 95 next month.—contributed