ARRIVAL: The late Robert Perry, of Ballina, took this photo of one of the Las Balsas rafts when it arrived in Ballina on November 21, 1973.
ARRIVAL: The late Robert Perry, of Ballina, took this photo of one of the Las Balsas rafts when it arrived in Ballina on November 21, 1973. Contributed

Friends of rafts set forth

DATES have been set for the 40th anniversary celebration of the arrival of the Las Balsas expedition to Ballina.

The Friends of Las Balsas met on Tuesday afternoon and set the weekend of November 15-17 for the celebration. The rafts arrived on November 21, 1973.

Cr Jeff Johnson chaired the meeting, attended by about 15 people, including Rotarians, members of the Ballina Sub-Section of the Naval Association of Australia, Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum volunteers, a marketing consultant and members of the Ballina outrigger canoe club.

Cr Johnson said the group had formed a steering committee for the occasion.

"We hope to make this an annual event," he said.

The meeting was told the Royal Australian Navy landing craft HMAS Labuan may be in town that weekend for the annual All Ships re- union.

The HMAS Labuan was on hand when the three balsa-wood rafts arrived in Ballina from Ecuador.

The rafts, crewed by a total of 12 men, had sailed across the Pacific following the prevailing winds and ocean currents.


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