Meet the faces behind the highway upgrade: Pt II
CLAIRE McCarry had her first brush with a kangaroo on the Pacific Highway since coming to Australia from Ireland recently, but it hasn't wavered her love for her new home in the Clarence Valley.
Hailing from Ireland, Ms McCarry took a punt by coming to work in Australia six and a half years ago under a contract with her parent company Laing O'Rourke.
"Since then I've worked on a great variety of projects: railways, gas and now roadworks," she said.
"I tend to move with the business which has allowed me to see some beautiful parts of Australia and I feel quite fortunate in that respect."
Ms McCarry has been in Maclean for the last 13 months, throwing herself into a slower paced life.
"It's quite different to anywhere else I've lived. I actually like the quiet life I've found. I've taken up a few hobbies I never had before such as fishing and getting the boat out on the Clarence River," she said.
"I think I spend less money shopping, my clothes, my wardrobe isn't as good any more but that's ok, you don't need to look fancy when you fish."
Ms McCarry, who works on the Procurement Team with Pacific Complete, said she was trying to get involved in the local community.
"I did the dragon boat racing and I joined the tennis club in Maclean," she said. "There is a first time for everything.
"We went to tennis one day, myself and my partner. We usually pair up with another couple who are on the same low standard as myself, and they didn't turn up one Saturday and the tennis coach said 'I'll join you with my partner', who was a local doctor.
"It was embarrassing for me and my boyfriend, I don't think we got 3threeshots in the whole game... two weeks later I went to the doctor, who was the guy I was playing tennis with so that was quite funny."
She also played in Netball competitions in Maclean and Grafton.
Ms McCarry said she loves how the Clarence often feels like her home in Ireland.
"I find when you live in a smaller community, I go down the main street on a Saturday morning to get breakfast, you know everybody, you know the cafe owner, you know the butcher," she said.
"That reminds me of home in many respects."
Ms McCarry, who has recently become a citizen, said she and Colleen Catterson (opposite) had grown up in the same town.
"We didn't know each other back home but we went to the same school and everything but because I was a few years advanced," she said.
"We both lived in Sydney in different points and met through Conor working on the same part of the project as I was, we've become really good friends ever since."