Reinvigorating natural beauty at Christies Road

As Mountain to Mouth 2016 approaches, we thought it was time to take a closer look at the Artists and District Coordinators who are guiding different aspects of the journey.

THE BACKGROUND: Six District Coordinators organise the twelve Songline Stations across the 80km walk in the Geelong and Queenscliffe regions. Each Station features a walking circle punctuated by an installation, which range from a mixture of audio, interactive, visual and performance arts that interact with and reflect the diverse environments they are set in. Each of the walking circles express the unique nature of its locality and community, playing a significant role in transforming the walk into a journey that encourages its participants to discover extreme arts and the surrounding environment.

One of the plantings at Christies Road Photo by Matt Crawley 

One of the plantings at Christies Road

Photo by Matt Crawley 

SONGLINE STATION 7: CHRISTIES ROAD. Rachella Thomas is the District Coordinator for the seventh and eighth Songline Stations. With over 15 years experience in events that span from food and wine festivals, event management in the city of Wyndam, to the Royal Melbourne Show, she brings a wealth of valuable experience to Mountain to Mouth 2016. Getting to know the community she lives in and contributing to it is important to Rachella, leading her to spend a large part of the 2 years since she moved to Geelong building networks through volunteering. A month after she moved to Geelong, Mountain to Mouth 2014 was on. Knowing little about the event, she decided to go and was blown away by the great display of creativity and community. Rachella jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this event, which she felt encompassed her personal journey of getting to know all the aspects of the Geelong region, the landscape and it's people. 

Volunteers from the Friends of the Bellarine Rail Trail in action. 

Volunteers from the Friends of the Bellarine Rail Trail in action. 

Christies Road is a significant environmental site for the Mountain to Mouth project. Indigenous plants have been recently reintroduced at the site as part of the event's ecological initiative, the "Green Corridor" strategy, which is the execution of a long term vision to revegetate the local habitat with plantings of Indigenous species of grasses, trees and shrubs. Half of the tickets sold go towards funding this project, which connects local communities and revegetation organisations together to care for the eleven songline corridors across the 80km walk so that the region can retain its natural beauty. Walking maps and signage at a number of these sites will eventually be installed to encourage all year walking of this contemporary songline. The planting at Christies Road was conducted by the Friends of the Bellarine Rail Trail,  a volunteer group committed to the indigenous revegetation of the Bellarine Rail Trail. They have planted approximately 83, 000 indigenous flora since their inception in 2002. 

Workshop session making birds and nests.  Photo by Rachella Thomas

Workshop session making birds and nests. 

Photo by Rachella Thomas

The walking circle at Christies Road invites and provokes people's understanding of the environmental issues facing the region. "Grey Tree" is an artwork that represents a living narrative, employing the use of poetic visual metaphors and symbolic meanings to deal with growing questions about our impact on the land. Artist Mirjana Margetic, who is passionate about exploring the concept of human impact on the environment, wants to bring particular attention on air pollution and acid rain.

Birds and nests made in workshops from found and recycled objects with local residents are hidden in the shrubs for walkers to discover as they follow the path of the walking circle. 

The Songline Station at Christies Road is open from 8:00am-10:15am on the second day of Mountain to Mouth 2016 (7 May), after a 10km walk from the Barwon River Rowing Precinct. Check out the timetable for more information. 

 Mountain to Mouth is Geelong's multi-award winning journey of discovery, an 80km walk over two days and 11 stages. Register now.