Mountain to Mouth – more than the sum of all parts

Barry Gilson Welcome to Country
Photograph: Ed Sloane

Canoe has travelled the 80km extreme arts walk from Big Rock in the You Yangs to the foreshore of Barwon Heads.

Planting along the songline occurred at Limeburners Lagoon led by District Coordinator Matt Crawley.

A huge number of you (48 in fact!) walked the entire 80kms; many with blisters (some open, some more extreme), tight muscles but a huge sense of achievement when Barwon Heads rotunda on the Barwon Heads foreshore came into view.

On Friday 4 May, the weather just before Gathering of the Elders up on Big Rock in the You Yangs National Park was extreme – the high winds blew the rain almost horizontal. Then Wathaurung man Barry Gilson’s powerful voice made the Call to Ceremony – the wind dropped, the rain stopped and the clouds parted. The sun shone warmth on all who were present. Mountain to Mouth began.

You journeyed alongside Canoe. The artists who collaborated on the lead ephemeral sculpture, respected local Ocean Grove artist Kerrie Bedson from The Studio @54 and U.S.-based Leslie K Pearson were commissioned by Deakin University. Their creation was a celebration of the land on which you all walked and the indigenous flora and fauna that feature along the way.

The three ceremonies, Gathering of the EldersGathering of the City and the final burning of Canoe at Barwon Heads as part of Gathering of the Elements, were moving and inspiring. The Core Arts Team featured Barry Gilson, Phil Lethlean, Lizz Lethlean, Esther Konings-Oakes, Liz McGrath, Jacqui Dreessens, Tara Lynch, Jonathan Welch, Corrina Eccles, Tammy Gilson, Dan Goronszy and the Environmental Performance Agency, under the core Directorate of Mahony Keily; Jacob Boheme; Gilbert Douglas and Artistic Director Margie Mackay.

The art: huge thanks to the following Songline Station Artists:

Artists were supported by District Coordinators, the lifeblood between local communities and the artists.

Local schools were well represented, including:

Geelong schools

  • Ashby Primary
  • Newcomb Park Primary
  • Newtown Primary
  • Northern Bay p-12 College
  • Lara Park Primary.

Bellarine schools

  • Our Lady Star of the Sea Primary Ocean Grove
  • St Thomas’ Primary Drysdale
  • Barwon Heads Primary School
  • Drysdale Primary School.

To all of you who walked and to all who carried Canoe, to all our supporters, foundation partners and event partners. To those who have taken the time to share their memories and moments, we thank you.

If you haven’t done so already, we encourage you to take part in the post-event survey.

We look forward to 2020 when we all Walk this Land again.