Top 5 Reasons to Walk Mountain to Mouth

The reasons:

  1. You’ll get your 10,000K steps up
  2. You’ll discover Geelong from a different perspective
  3. You’ll see artwork, created specifically for the local areas, that will disappear within 48 hours
  4. You’ll celebrate your area with people from your neighbourhood
  5. You’ll want to bring your friends and relatives to experience the diverse and amazing landscape of Geelong and the Bellarine

Top 5 things you’ll see at Mountain to Mouth Friday 4 May to Saturday 5 May 2018

Mountain to Mouth 2016 artists get ready for the weekend

Our artists have been working very hard preparing for our Extreme Arts walk. We have over 70 artists working on this event, not including our extensive team of performers in ceremonies and countless volunteers from the community engaged in workshops and other aspects of the event. Here is a little look at some of the works in progress.

Here is a preview of Jennifer McElwee's magnificent sculpture, part of her Walking Circle at the sixth Songline Station. See the whole thing at 6am on Saturday 7 May at the Barwon River Rowing Precinct. 




Pop archaeology is taking over at Merinda Kelly's workshop in preparation for her Walking Circle at Moorpanyal Park.

Interactive and bound to be a highlight of the event, come on down to the fourth Songline Station, open from 5:30pm on Friday 6 May.














Jacinta Leitch and Dare Tekin creating kinetic sculptures in the workshop for their Walking Circle at Steampacket Gardens.

This Songline Station is the central point of the journey and is where Mountain to Mouth collides with Geelong After Dark in the city. 







Some kids getting involved in a workshop designing birds and nests made from recycled materials for Mirjana Margetic's Walking Circle at Christies Rd.






Mountain to Mouth artistic director Meme McDonald and Canoe artists Leonard Tebegetu and Mahony Maia Kiely scouting the land in preparation for the event.



That's right! A sneak preview of Canoe itself, which is currently spending the week at the National Wool Museum. See it in action this weekend, starting from the Gathering of the Elders ceremony at You Yangs Big Rock at 12:30pm.


Mountain to Mouth (6-7 May) is Geelong's multi-award winning journey of discovery, an 80km walk over two days and 11 stages. Register Now 


The origins of Mountain to Mouth

Mountain to Mouth was envisioned as part of the "Connecting Identities" project in 2007, which was created in response to the rapid changes that were taking place at the time in the Geelong region across all levels of the community, the economy and the landscape. These changes and upheavals were felt by some to create a sense of discord and negative perception about the direction the region was headed.

This project aimed to create links across the increasingly diverse municipality and reinforce the importance of local places and community by encouraging people to connect with the land and with each other. Mountain to Mouth was a vessel to achieve this through a collaborative, community based project that told an important story with important messages. Establishing a connection to the land could be done by introducing the indigenous concept of the Songline - a path across the land recorded through a song describing landmarks and natural phenomena. Mountain to Mouth was to create a contemporary songline, allowing the community to establish a significant bond and sense of respect for the land and its history. 

The first version of this project in 2009 was a 54km relay from Barwon Heads to the You Yangs, and was called Mouth to Mountain. 144 ambassadors representing the 12 wards of Council carried water from Barwon Heads – kayaking, on horses, strolling, in processions, by train, in utes, on bike and foot. People of Geelong joined the relay at locations along the way, taking a moment to reflect on the gift of water, the memory it holds, the connection it makes between people and places, and the future it creates. Artworks marked the journey through iconic locations arriving at dusk for a big celebration at Big Rock.

The event was so well received in the community that it was redesigned in 2014 to be a larger and more inclusive event that would occur every two years. Mountain to Mouth 2014 was the first incarnation of the event as we know it today; an 80km walk over two days from the You Yangs to the mouth of Barwon Heads. 

Close to 1,000 people took part in some or all of the 80km journey, more than 80 artists worked with over 2,400 participants to create thousands of art works that featured along the journey, and an estimated 12,000 people gathered to watch various aspects of the event. With major awards and community appraisals under its belt, Mountain to Mouth aims to continue sharing this very unique and wonderful event with all aspects of the community and beyond this year, and for years to come.

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



Wanted: Extreme Arts Walk M~M seeks Lead Artist For Major Australian Ephemeral Sculpture Commission. Apply within.

Canoe 2014

Extreme Arts Walk – M~M is now calling on artists based in Australia or overseas to submit an Expression of Interest for a major $20,000 Australian Ephemeral Sculpture Commission – called Canoe.

The Canoe Commission has been made possible by funding from the Australia Council for the Arts. As one of most unique ephemeral sculpture commissions now offered in Australia, the Canoe sculpture will be the lead processional image of M~M2016 (Mountain to Mouth) – Geelong’s multi-award winning 80km extreme arts walk.

As a biennial “journey of discovery” over two days (6-7 May 2016), M~M begins at the You Yangs mountain range, crosses Geelong’s industrial heartland at nightfall and arrives in the city centre to collide with Geelong After Dark, a night of extreme and unexpected arts.

At dawn the next day, the extreme arts walk continues through the city centre to join the Barwon River, through rolling Bellarine farmland, along ocean beach to reach river mouth at Barwon Heads by sunset.

Geelong Mayor Darryn Lyons said he was looking forward to seeing the Canoe, in action during M~M2016. “M~M is about land and people and it’s about art bringing these two together which is fantastic,” said Mayor Lyons.

“I encourage local, national and international artists to be part of this major cultural event.”

Tasked with a theme of “AIR” , the successful applicant will be responsible for the design, build and transport of Canoe and will have experience in the field of processional image making, installation art, and/or three dimensional construction. Collaborations will also be considered for this commission.

City of Greater Geelong Councillor Andy Richards Portfolio Holder for Arts & Culture thanked the Australia Council for the Arts for providing a significant cash contribution to the project.

“M~M is an inspiring and unique event and I am delighted that M~M has received funding from the Australia Council for the Arts. I’d also like to thank our core partners, Deakin University, Corangamite CMA, Borough of Queenscliffe, Karingal, Diversitat and Wadawurrung for their ongoing commitment to the event.”

M~M Artistic Director, Meme McDonald said that M~M is a bold artistic gesture in timid times.

“This extreme arts walk anchors us to the land. Canoe will be carried along the 80km route by Geelong ambassadors – an iconic image of journey, of migration, of carrying memory, and carrying the story of this land.”

Expressions of Interest close on 8 February 2016. Further information about the commission can be obtained by contacting the M~M Production Team on +61 3 5272 4703 or Artists are to submit (up to 10) images of previous work, a Curriculum Vitae and a Statement of Interest. 

Click for full details about this commission.

Register for the walk now.

5 Minutes With M~M Artistic Director, Meme McDonald

Meme McDonald

Meme McDonald

Growing up in sheep and cattle country in western Queensland, Meme McDonald has always had an affinity with the land, and in 2016, she continues in the role of Artistic Director for Geelong’s Extreme Arts Walk - M~M. She speaks here to the crew at M~M HQ  about her passion for land, walking journeys and the Geelong region.

M~M HQ Crew: Meme, describe what M~M means for you?
M~M is a golden opportunity to walk the land. An opportunity to take part in a rare moment that only happens every two years, when it is possible to walk a pathway from the eagle’s view at You Yangs Big Rock to the watery mouth of the Barwon River. And to be inspired along the way with stunning vistas of industry, nature and extreme art in some rather unusual places.

M~M HQ Crew: How did M~M come about?
Extreme times call for extreme art. In 2007, I was engaged as Artistic Director of Connecting Identities by the Arts & Culture Department of the City of Greater Geelong.

My brief was to take the issue of the rapid change that municipality of Geelong was facing, with its sizeable impact on local identity, and create an arts programme that could have a positive effect on people’s perception of themselves and their place.

The first question I asked myself was, ‘what connects us?’ One answer is, 'the land'. I have a long-term interest and respect for the Aboriginal cultures whose footsteps we follow. The traditional songlines that criss-cross this entire continent are rich food for the imagination. Early discussions with elders in Geelong endorsed the concept of creating a contemporary songline – M~M.

In its pilot stage in 2009, M~M went up stream from the mouth of the river to the You Yangs. When we changed to go with the natural flow of water downhill in 2014, the whole timing of M~M fell beautifully into place. M~M2016 will consolidate this flow.

M~M HQ Crew: For those who experienced M~M2014, what is different about this iteration?
We are following in the footsteps of indigenous ancestors who walked songlines – walking journeys that stretched across the country – from southern Victoria to Cape York. At 80 kilometres, our M~M contemporary songline is a baby, barely born. It will take tens and maybe hundreds of years until it becomes a songline of significance. M~M2016 will see a consolidation of this songline and a strengthening of the extreme arts that walkers will experience along the way.

M~M HQ Crew: Why should people be putting M~M in their 2016 calendars?
M~M is an extreme arts walk - that is unique to Geelong, to Australia and perhaps unique even further afield. M~M is not intended to be easy. It takes courage to walk this land and to commit to such a physical challenge. But for those who take a chance, the opportunity to discover the region by taking an extreme arts walk, is a uniquely local experience that is not to be missed...

M~M returns 6-7 May 2016. Registrations will open soon.

M~M @ Geelong After Dark 2015

The second year of Geelong After Dark, M~M’s little sister event, was a hit!  More than 10,000 people came out on Friday May 8th to see 247 artists and 95 new artworks pop up in surprising places around the Geelong city centre.

M~M featured six stunning events at Geelong After Dark 2015. These events were created by artists commissioned to work with specific communities along the M~M contemporary songline as concept development for M~M2016.

The Pines


The Lara Soldiers Avenue is the oldest arborial community planting in Geelong and a solemn memorial to service and sacrifice. At Geelong After Dark a dawn ceremony among the trees is projected into the darkness of Geelong’s lanes, the flickering of a pre-digital technology reminding us that the past is present in the future and rituals are what bring us together. The Pines is conceived as a continuous flow of images rather than as conventional narrative, a poetic rendering of a time and place, a film about the act of rememberance.

The Pines film has been made with members of Lara RSL who participated as hosts of M~M 2014 Lara walking circle. The Pines film is the starting point to engaging with the RSL creatively with a view to them collaborating with an artist for M~M2016 as active participants and creators as well as hospitable hosts for the walking circle. As custodians of the Lara Soldier’s Avenue this seems an appropriate starting point to explore the significance and symbolism of the pine trees to the RSL members and as a distinctive part of the Lara landscape.

Soft Oyster


Soft Oyster, created by the youth of the North of Geelong alongside professional puppet makers, is encased in beautiful patterned circular forms dreamed up by the Norlane Yarn Bombers. These patterns echoe the light and hyperbolic crochet of the M~M2014 Moorpanyal Park walking circle. The oyster pearl glows softly as it completes its sisyphean circuit. It reflects the relentless nature of the sea and the tenacity of organisms like the Corio Bay Oyster that have returned to our waters after years of depletion.

Grass Shrine


Native grasslands are as diverse as they are unique. They have played a crucial role in biodiversity, Aboriginal culture and European colonisation with the introduction of grazing animals. An iconic plant within the original grasslands is the Kangaroo Grass, Themeda triandra, found in every State and Territory in Australia. Native grasslands are now estimated to be as low as 1% of their original cover in Victoria and are amongst the most endangered habitats.

Noise Scavengers


Noise Scavengers are a constantly morphing group of young people from Geelong’s northern suburbs who have been collaborating with James Hullick and the Click Clack Project for a number of years. Industrial, experimental and unpredictable, Noise Scavengers’ latest incarnation could be terrifying or very zen. 

A Noise Scavengers quartet performed at Sonic Flock in the Melbourne Festival alongside professional musicians and artists including Ros Bandt. This incarnation of Noise Scavengers is a first step in the development of the next stage of Noise Scavengers which seeks to engage marginalised young people in contemporary arts practice and performance with a view to participation in M~M2016 at Steampacket Gardens.

Shadow Puppets After Dark


The river themed story of “Boora the Pelican” is closely aligned to the environmental features and birdlife of the Barwon River Estuary. In creating a shadow puppet show inspired by this story, students have extended their creative skills and also learned about storytelling within indigenous cultures. 

The school community of Our Lady Star of the Sea Primary School was involved in M~M2014 creating the walking circle on the beach at Ocean Grove. At GAD2015, they perform alongside the Barwon Heads Primary School “Marine Puppets After Dark”. This will lead to further opportunities for collaboration between the two school communities for M~M2016.

Marine Puppets After Dark


The communities of Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove are separated physically by the environmentally significant Barwon River Estuary. Although only three kilometres separate Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove, the two towns have developed into two distinct communities evidenced by their historic rivalries in sporting events. 

“Marine Puppets After Dark” working alongside “Shadow Puppets After Dark” created by Our Lady Star of the Sea Primary School from Ocean Grove, brings the two communities together to celebrate our shared links to our coastal environment. “Marine Puppets After Dark” parade audiences through the streets at Geelong After Dark 2015 to the Dimmy’s shop window to watch the “Shadow Puppets After Dark” performance.

Barwon Heads Primary School created star lanterns for M~M2014. Progressing their skills in puppetry will lead to further opportunities for creative involvement in next year's M~M2016. 

Photographs courtesy of the Geelong Camera Club and other photographers including:

  • Brien Cohn
  • D Grant
  • Ketut Sewitra

M~M's Inaugural Think Tank

M~M’s inaugural extreme arts Think Tank was held on February 12th 2015 at the Arts and Culture Department in the National Wool Museum. Bold ideas abounded from the inspirational speakers and the gathering of M~M and Geelong After Dark Alumni of Artists.

It’s not too late to be a part of the Think Tank. We welcome your ideas and thoughts on the kinds of arts projects or themes that you would like to see embraced in future M~Ms or at this year’s Geelong After Dark on Friday May 8th. Please send your inspired thoughts on the form.

Check out the websites of the seven panelists who presented as part of the M~M Think Tank 2015.