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ME/CFS Australia Ltd
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Registered Charity 3104


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PO Box 322,
Modbury North,
South Australia 5092

1300 128 339

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ME/CFS South Australia Inc supports the needs of sufferers of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and related illnesses. We do this by providing services and information to members.


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Commotion on the Murray

November 1, 2002

Commotion on the Murray
Front: Ash Thomas
Rear Left: Chris Mannering (Support)
Rear Right: Nathan Fenton
Photo: M. Dallinger

On the 1st of November, two young Melbourne men completed a descent of the Murray River, the 3rd longest navigable river in the world. Over 13 days, Ash Thomas, 22, and Nathan Fenton 22, traveled 2037km in a Classic 16ft V8 Ski boat, raising awareness for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The boat traveled from Hume Dam at Albury, to Wellington at the top of Lake Alexandrina in South Australia. “Commotion II” cruised at around 45km/h, with the average speed for the trip coming out at 33.3km/h. During the expedition, they also managed to set an unofficial world record for the longest ski tube ride, with Nathan completing 301 km over 2 days in the tube.

With sunny days for the majority of the trip, the one of the larger problems facing the team was the amount of submerged snags and sandbanks. Over the duration of the adventure, the boat contacted 1 major snag and 2 major sand/clay banks. These incidents caused considerable damage to the propeller and steering, requiring the boat to be pulled from the water and fixed. The bent components tally, from direct impacts with snags and sand bars, was 1 prop, 2 prop shafts, 3 rudders, and a broken ski pole. Not to be deterred, and with the assistance of Tawco Products Australia, local engineering firms and mechanics, the boat was back on the water quickly.

Nathan’s World Record attempt, although not officially recognized by Guinness World Records, was an outstanding achievement. During the 301km, Nathan was subjected to countless snags, tight bends, snakes and freezing conditions, yet persevered to set a new unofficial World Record! He feels that the record shall not be beaten for some time, but welcomes any challengers to extend the record!

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a long-term condition, characterized by profound exhaustion. Ash has suffered from CFS for 5 years now, contracted after a long-term virus. The trip was designed to inform and educate as many people as possible about the condition, through an information brochure we provided, and by speaking with Ash and Nathan. Judging by how many people reached for their wallets (we didn’t accept donations, please send to ME/CFS Australia (Victoria) @ 23 Livingstone Close, Burwood), we feel that we have been most successful. What also amazed us was the amount of people that came and found us after hearing about us on the radio. The support was fantastic. More information on ME/CFS can be found at

This trip would not have been possible without the support of:

Advance Petroleum;

Evergreen Health;

Sign*A*Rama Moorabbin & Bayside;

Suga Confectionary;

Tawco Products Australia;

R & E Auto’s;

Kerr & Thomas Solicitors; and of course


Thanks also to the support team, (Chris Mannering, Lyn Thomas and Jan Fenton), Em Broomhall, Elura houseboats, Trevor @ BP Renmark, Tocumwal Auto & Electrical, Susi Hamilton @ ABC Riverland in Renmark, and everyone else involved in this project.

For more information on the expedition, log on to:

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