Fiona Duncan

Celebration and completion on the Barwon Heads foreshore

Over the past couple of months we have been taking a closer look at the Artists, District Coordinators and locations involved in the Mountain to Mouth journey of discovery. With Mountain to Mouth 2016 just one week away, it's the last chance to check out all the different stages of the walk and register for the ones that most appeal to you.

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.

SONGLINE STATION 12: BARWON HEADS FORESHORE. We end our journey of discovery upon the coast of Barwon Heads, where highly esteemed installation artist Michelle Fifer Spooner reflects upon the strength and fragility of coastal environments. "Feather" forms a welcome home totem echoing journey and freedom and marking the end of the Extreme Arts Walk. Beneath the totem is a walking circle in sand designed by Julie Shaw and installed with the assistance of Barwon Heads residents. A trail of feathers have been leading Canoe and its procession of walkers along the 80 kilometre contemporary songline, and they represent the Wadawurrung story of how the Creator navigated across land by following the feathers dropped by the Swan sisters. 

Barwon Heads Foreshore  Photo by Lynden Smith

Barwon Heads Foreshore

Photo by Lynden Smith

The themes of this story are explored further in the Gathering of the Elements, the ceremony of completion where water from the ancient hewn rock well at Big Rock in the You Yangs, that has been carried in Canoe over 80 kilometres, is returned to the sea in an expression of gratitude. Here river meets sea, freshwater and salt become one and mark a point in which we all stand in the past, present and future for one moment as we acknowledge the elements that came together to support our journey both as individuals and a community.

Fiona Duncan, district coordinator for Songline Station 12, expects the ceremony to be poetic and magnificent. She said that a lot of work has gone into the planning process of the completion ceremony, which is described as a dramatic, pyrotechnic display of performance art using the river, the beach, the pier and the ocean as a stage. Community groups were engaged to help create fish puppets for the ceremony, including students from Barwon Heads primary school and final year student teachers from the IKE (Koori Education) program at Deakin, who flew in from places as far as Darwin and Perth. 

Punters watching the burning of Canoe at Mountain to Mouth 2014 Photo by Gloria Van Der Meer

Punters watching the burning of Canoe at Mountain to Mouth 2014
Photo by Gloria Van Der Meer

During the ceremony Canoe, having completed its journey, will be set alight, reflecting the ephemeral nature of the journey and the walking circles throughout it. The installations and the journey itself will continue existing in the minds of the walkers who participated, allowing it to retain beauty in a way that can only be achieved by a temporary existence. 

The Songline Station at Barwon Heads Foreshore is open from 4:00pm-7:00pm on the second day of Mountain to Mouth 2016 (7 May), after an easy-going 3km walk from Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club. 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

Convergence of elements at the iconic Ocean Grove

Over the past couple of months we have been taking a closer look at the Artists, District Coordinators and locations involved in the Mountain to Mouth journey of discovery. With Mountain to Mouth 2016 just one week away, it's the last chance to check out all the different stages of the walk and register for the ones that most appeal to you.

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.

SONGLINE STATION 11: OCEAN GROVE SURF LIFE SAVING CLUB. Located at one of the most iconic beaches of the region, a simple yet imposing bamboo structure sits as a beacon of hope, connecting the elements of air, water and earth to a place of dreaming. Fiona Duncan, the district coordinator for Songline Stations 11 and 12 describes the installation by Suyin Honeywell in the coveted Ocean Grove setting as clever and inspiring.

Fiona is no stranger to the coveted and inspiring, having spent the past 25 years as an Artist Manager and Consultant in the Australian Music Industry, which has seen her work alongside the likes of Nirvana, Nick Cave, Metallica and the Beastie Boys as well as on major events such as the Big Day Out. She echoes the familiar tale of moving to the coast from a bigger, busier place to fall in love with the Greater Geelong region. Witnessing Mountain to Mouth 2014 gave her an epiphany of how special, connected and wildly creative this community could be and how much she wanted to be a part of it, something she has proudly achieved. 

Ocean Grove Beach  Photo by Craig Robinson

Ocean Grove Beach

Photo by Craig Robinson

"Air, Water, Earth and Dreaming" is a beautiful, natural structure that takes the shape of a tee-pee that reaches towards the sky. The silk flags mounted to the top of the structure will breathe life into it, showing the direction and movement of air. Interwoven pieces of driftwood, shells and rocks hang in the centre of the installation, reflecting the land that the piece lies on. Dream catchers made from a range of mixed-media material are suspended on each of the four walls. Children from the four local schools in Ocean Grove were invited to contribute to the making of these dream catchers, to strengthen to connection between the land and the community as well as harnessing the enthusiasm and energy of the youth.

Suyin is deeply interested in reflecting the physical and emotional relationships people develop with the natural environment and has an extensive background of presenting engaging and inclusive community arts projects. She has worked on a number of occasions with schools to facilitate students in the making and creating of large projects in coastal and rural townships throughout Victoria. 

The Songline Station at Ocean Grove Surf Life Saving Club is open from 4:00pm-6:00pm on the second day of Mountain to Mouth 2016 (7 May), after a 8.5km walk from Point Lonsdale Village. Please note that this is a particularly hard leg of the walk as it is all on soft sand. 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.