Michelle Fifer Spooner

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