Hawkesbury Canoe Classic

A gruelling personal challenge that cultivates both a sense of self and the importance of helping others, the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic has been a hallmark expedition opportunity for TAS students

Each year, during the weekend closest to the October full moon, around 500 paddlers paddle 111km overnight in the moonlight, down the Hawkesbury River from Windsor to Brooklyn, to raise money for charity. Paddlers set off at 4.00pm on Saturday, and pass 21 safety checkpoints throughout the night, where they are also fed and watered. The fastest paddlers arrive at Brooklyn early Sunday morning in less than 10 hours, but the average time is closer to 15 hours.

In 2017 the 41st Classic will be held; TAS has participated for all but the first two years, and in recent years has been joined by paddlers from New England Girls’ School and Presbyterian Ladies College Armidale.

The Armidale schools are now the only ones to compete in the event, which is a major fundraiser for the Arrow Foundation into Bone Marrow Research.

In 2017, there were 55 who paddled the race, with pairs of student/student, student/sister, student/father, or on their own. Participants were supported in the event by over 50 landcrew who travelled by car and assisting them at different locations down the river.

Training is conducted at Malpas Dam, north of Armidale, every Sunday from Term 3. Paddlers are expected to have completed an overnight paddle on the Clarence River before they are eligible to start the race.

Over the decades TAS has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cause, and the school is also very grateful to its long-term fundraising partnership with the Count Charitable Foundation.

For details on this year’s Classic click here.

In recent years, TAS has also used the Myall Classic at Tea Gardens as an event to give paddlers an experience of competition before the Hawkesbury. This race is held at the end of September and is a day race of 47km along the Myall River. The Myall is a difficult event and tends to open the eyes of paddlers to what they will experience in the Hawkesbury with strong tides and long distances between stops.