Daughter and dad conquer Clarence

Charlese and Paul Conolly, of Tweed Heads, on a break near the Grafton Bridge in their travels from Tabulam to Iluka.
Charlese and Paul Conolly, of Tweed Heads, on a break near the Grafton Bridge in their travels from Tabulam to Iluka.

WHEN 15-year-old Charlese Conolly decides to do an unusual school assignment she doesn't do it in any half measure.

The Tweed Heads teen and Somerset College student decided that as part of a Year 10 assignment she would join her father Paul and paddle a Canadian canoe down the length of the Clarence River.

And yesterday, 10 days after they started their epic paddle they reached Grafton before travelling onto Brushgrove to camp last night, Maclean today and Iluka tomorrow.

But even then the journey is not over. They started at Tabu- lam and intend to return to the top of the river at Rivertree to fill in the bits they missed.

"We've done as much as we could do in the canoe, but we'll finish it in kayaks," she said.

Charlese said other students had done some interesting projects for the school but she wanted to do something no other student had tried.

"Dad and I were walking one morning and he said 'why don't we paddle down the river'," she said.

Since the idea was planted, Charlese has been planning, creating spreadsheets, making sure they had sufficient food, buying a satellite phone, working on maps etc.

She said the only training they had done prior to setting off were some light paddles around Terranora Lakes and in the river at Wooli. They had no training in rapids and capsized within 100 metres of setting off.

Topics:  assignment, camping, clarence valley, education, family, somerset college




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