CULTURAL EXPLORATION: Claire Aman prepares for the 53 Islands Festival.
CULTURAL EXPLORATION: Claire Aman prepares for the 53 Islands Festival.

Time for island count during Islands Festival

HOW many Islands are there in the Clarence River - the answer is not only surprising but also the name of a festival with it's origins at a landcare day on Susan Island according to organiser Claire Aman.

"We were speculating about how many islands there were in the river," she explained.

"A spot of research revealed there were 53 named islands, lots of unnamed ones, and lots of opinions about the total number - likely more opinions than there are islands.

"Before long, we were organising a festival."

Claire said the 53 Islands Festival, coming up on October 7-20 was a celebration of the river and it's islands.

"We invited Clarence Valley people to salute, tend, depict and explore the islands - with art, photography, landcare, science, culture, stories, navigation, whatever their field.

People embraced the idea, with over 30 community groups plan- ning events," she said.

"The idea is that people are holding the type of event they'd normally run, but with islands as a theme," Claire said.

"The photographers of Grafton Camera Club have been looking for the perfect island shot, exhibiting their photos in October.

"The Yacht Club is sounding the islands in preparation for their annual October cruise.

"There'll be astronomy on an island, yoga on an island, rowing and sailing races, island tours, Yaegl culture at Maclean High School, island stories read at the art gallery, science in the pub, and nine island-themed art exhibitions.

"We have a feeling there'll be an abundance of island stories to be told, especially by the older generation.

"We'd like to record those stories for future generations."

Claire said there would be lots for visitors and locals to see.

"It's a great way to promote local groups, showcasing skills and recruiting new members as part of a diverse valley-wide celebration," Claire said.

"The message is, from the headwaters to the river mouth, no matter what you plan to do in October 2019, make it about the islands."

For more information head to or find the festival on Facebook.

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