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Neil and Carol Radford of Lawrence. Australia Day Celebrations at Lawrence Golf Club. Image: Lynne Mowbray

Australia Day celebrations around the valley

Lynne Mowbray |

Australia Day was celebrated on Saturday through the Clarence Valley in true Aussie style, with many dressing up for the occasion.

Flag raising ceremonies and other Australia Day events were also held throughout the valley; which included billy tea and damper, music and sports, with the good old Aussie BBQ’s sizzling in many backyards, parks and beaches.

Yamba held their annual flag raising ceremony in Norfolk Park which was organised by the Port of Yamba Historical Society – Yamba Museum.

Music at the event was provided by our local talented artists Rob Imeson and Paul and Anne Commerford.

President of the Port of Yamba Historical Society Lesley Pickering gave the official welcome to over 100 members of the community who attended.

Yaegl Elder Aunty Veronica Pearce gave the Welcome to Country which was followed by guest speaker, Hayley Talbot who spoke of her solo journey by kayak from the head waters of the Clarence River at Rivertree, to Whiting Beach at Yamba, in 2017.

Hayley described how it was her dream (and personal challenge) to solo navigate the 394 km Clarence River form it’s headwaters in the Great Dividing Range near Stanthorpe, to where it empties into the Pacific Ocean, at Yamba.

She described the preparation that went into planning her epic journey and the many challenges she faced throughout that journey.

“I didn’t want to just navigate the river, but (I wanted) to live off it as well and in the preparations leading up to the journey I learnt not only about the river, but how to forage for food; learning many of the ways from both Gumbaynggir and Yaegl elders,” Hayley said.

“I knew I would have my work cut out for me but I could never have imagined just how much.

“I fought through entire forests of gnarled wood, boiling and surging rapids, submerged tangles of roots and flood debris, and spent far more time crawling and climbing and cutting away than paddling.

“I crushed and smashed my boat and body to just short of smithereens, and I earned my Clarence River stars,” she said.

Hayley’s moving story about her journey was well accepted by those who attended.

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