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 Elders, Gathering 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:
- Tammy Gilson, Songline Station 1, Dance Circle and Gathering of the Elders at Big Rock
- Emma Anna, Songline Station 2, Sol Yantra at Lara RSL Hall
- Ingrid Petterson and Lance Youston, Songline Station 3, Earthship, Limeburners Lagoon
- Jacinta Leitch, Songline Station 4, The Midden of Earthly Delights, Moorpanyal Park
- Gathering of the City with performers including the Koorie Kids Choir, Deadly Dancers, Community Groups, Dance Troupes alongside Wadurrung Elder Uncle Bryon Powell and Wadurrung dancers.
- Jennifer McElwee, Songline Station 6, Coral Consequences, Barwon River Rowing Precinct
- Kaz McGlynn, Songline Station 7, Borron Birds, Christies Road Leopold
- Fiona Phillips, Songline Station 8, Sounds from the Earth, Drysdale Station (featuring Miss Drysdale and Miss Newcomb fresh from their appearance at Geelong After Dark)
- Dan Goronszy, Songline Station 9, The Care Taker is in – The Grounding, Swan Bay Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre
- Beth Arnold, Songline Station 10, In Motion, Point Lonsdale Village
- Anamaria Gomez Correal, Songline Station 11, Blue Gold, Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club
- Gathering of the Elements, Songline Station 12
Artists were supported by District Coordinators, the lifeblood between local communities and the artists.
Local schools were well represented, including:
- Ashby Primary
- Newcomb Park Primary
- Newtown Primary
- Northern Bay p-12 College
- Lara Park Primary.
- 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.