You Yangs

Green Corridor Strategy kicks off!

Half of all tickets sold at Mountain to Mouth 2016 go towards funding a planting program of indigenous species along the 80km walk, called the Green Corridor strategy. It is a long term vision focused on connecting local communities and revegetation organisations together, in order to help revegetate local habitats and retain the regions natural beauty. 

Today the Mountain to Mouth team, Karingal Foundation, Parks Victoria and an entourage of over 40 volunteers successfully conducted the first major planting at Big Rock in the You Yangs, an important site for indigenous heritage, ecology and the starting point for the Extreme Arts walk. 

650 indigenous flora were planted over two sessions, helping the ecology of the You Yangs to get back on track. Matt Crawley, one of Mountain to Mouth 2016's district coordinators and part of the Bellarine Landcare Group,  said the area contained a lot of biodiversity but the ground-level plant life has become sparse due to pests like rabbits. 

The planting has seen 150 bidgee widgees, 50 snowy mint-bushes, 250 pots of kangaroos grass and 200 pots of basket grass reintroduced to the area, which will initiate a positive chain reaction for the local environment, including giving natural wildlife such as kangaroos the ideal plant life to graze on. 

Suzette Jackson is the Green Corridor coordinator, responsible for overseeing this very important aspect of the Mountain to Mouth project. She has been instrumental in numerous regional sustainability initiatives in the Geelong region and is a director of Innate Ecology. With a strong focus on sustainable living and healthy regions, she is excited to have initiated the project with such success and enthusiasm from partners and volunteers.

Suzette Jackson addressing the planting team. 

Suzette Jackson addressing the planting team. 

Tamara Karner, a team leader at Parks Victoria who is responsible for the You Yangs regional park, says they are ecstatic to have plant life reintroduced to the area after so many years without it. A rabbit-proof fence is being installed to ensure the new plants are not decimated by the pests. 

Esther Konings-Oakes, the district coordinator for the Songline Station at the You Yangs will coordinate volunteers to maintain the planting in the lead up to event. This team will also clear the ceremonial circle of noxious weeds and debris in time for Mountain to Mouth 2016's indigenous dance and welcoming ceremony, "Gathering of the Elders". She is in the process of organising regular days where volunteers get together to maintain this important and treasured environment. 

The upcoming installation of Mountain to Mouth walking maps and signage at a number of sites will encourage year-round walking of the Contemporary Songline.

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

Mountain to Mouth 2016 unveils plans for three major walk ceremonies

Mountain to Mouth 2016 has unveiled plans for three major walk ceremonies which take place across the 80km journey of discovery on 6-7 May 2016. The three ceremonies celebrate the land, the heritage and the people of the Geelong region. 


The first ceremony occurs at the beginning of the journey at You Yangs Big Rock. Co-directed by Wadawurrung Elder, Uncle Bryon Powell and Mountain to Mouth 2016 Artistic Director Meme McDonald, the silent ceremony focuses on acknowledging the land and its ancestors that walked on it. It gives participants of Mountain to Mouth 2016 the opportunity to contemplate the heritage of the land as well as the journey that lies ahead.

Central to the ceremony is the unveiling of “Canoe” - the ephemeral lead artwork designed by a yet to be announced major artist, that will be carried along the 80 kilometre journey. The sculpture will carry water from the ancient rockwell at Big Rock to rejoin the ocean at Barwon Heads at the conclusion of the journey.

Gathering of the Elders ceremony at Mountain to Mouth 2014  Photo by Gerry Van Der Meer

Gathering of the Elders ceremony at Mountain to Mouth 2014

Photo by Gerry Van Der Meer



The second ceremony occurs at 8:10pm in Steampacket Gardens, when the journey of Mountain to Mouth 2016 collides with Geelong After Dark 2016, welcoming walkers to the city centre for a celebration of dance and bringing people together. Dancers from all parts of the city will gather people together to celebrate Mountain to Mouth 2016's theme of “Air”. Everyone is welcome to join in and be a part of the celebrations.

Those who would like to get involved as a dancer can express their interest at

Gathering of the City at Mountain to Mouth 2014  Photo by Brien Cohn

Gathering of the City at Mountain to Mouth 2014

Photo by Brien Cohn



The final ceremony will be held at the mouth of the Barwon River from 6pm on Saturday 7 May at Barwon Heads Jetty, marking the conclusion of the 80km journey. It is a ceremony of completion, acknowledging those elements that came together to support our journey both as individuals and as a community on Mountain to Mouth 2016.

In an expression of gratitude, this ceremony returns the precious water carried from You Yangs Big Rock, across 80 kilometres, to where river meets sea, where freshwater and salt become one, at the point of change and exchange, marking endings and beginnings, acknowledging rhythm and flow, standing in past, present and future, for this one moment together.

The closing ceremony also marks the end of the journey for the ephemeral artwork “Canoe”, an end point to consider the ephemeral nature of many aspects of life, the brief yet treasured moments that occur throughout it.

Gathering of the Elements ceremony 2014  Photo by Gloria Van Der Meer

Gathering of the Elements ceremony 2014

Photo by Gloria Van Der Meer

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



The journey of discovery begins at You Yangs big rock

As Mountain to Mouth 2016 approaches, we thought it was time to take a closer look at the Artists and District Coordinators who are guiding different aspects of the journey.

THE BACKGROUND: Six District Coordinators coordinate 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 1: YOU YANGS, BIG ROCK. The District Coordinator overseeing the development of the first songline station and walking circle at You Yangs Big Rock is Esther Konings-Oakes, a Geelong based artist who is passionate about the environment and her community. She brings a wealth of experience which includes a previous stint as a District Coordinator and artist at Mountain to Mouth 2014 and Geelong After Dark 2015. She describes the event as a mindful journey that is both literal and figurative, connecting people to the land through thought provoking art.

You Yangs Big Rock is a historically and environmentally significant site, described by Esther as a spiritual place that has been used by indigenous ancestors for thousands of years as a gathering place. It is geologically unique in its structure, with a granite rock base that features an ancient hewn rock well and mysteriously fertile soil that is uncommon for the location. 

You Yangs Big Rock Photo by Willie Wonker

You Yangs Big Rock
Photo by Willie Wonker

The first walking circle is designed by Kerrie Black, an indigenous artist from Geelong with Wemba Wemba and Wathaurong heritage, giving her a special connection to the local area and the land in which she lives. She believes art to be an important part of life, particularly in keeping indigenous stories alive for future generations and to educate the public about her culture and history with the ultimate goal of unifying the community through understanding.

Her installation, "Dance Circle & Fallen Feathers", is a contemporary ceremonial, ground in sand and decorated with bird patterns in ochre. The space is designed to echo the ceremonial spaces of the area that have been danced in for thousands of years. Large fabric feathers referencing the graceful birds, of which the You Yangs are home to over 200 species of, feature at the entrance of the Big Rock to guide walkers to the Gathering of the Elders ceremony at Dance Circle.

From here, the ephemeral sculpture, Canoe, begins its 80 kilometre journey carrying water from the ancient hewn rock well to the mouth of the Barwon River. This event marks the beginning of Mountain to Mouth's journey as a "contemporary songline". A songline is a path across the land recorded in traditional songs, stories, dance and painting. It is said that a knowledgeable person is able to navigate across the land by repeating the words of the song, which describe the location of landmarks and natural phenomena.

Gathering of the Elders ceremony at Mountain to Mouth 2014 Photo by Anne Buckley

Gathering of the Elders ceremony at Mountain to Mouth 2014
Photo by Anne Buckley

This first songline station gives participants the opportunity to begin their journey experiencing something beautiful, meaningful and culturally significant, allowing them to connect with the land, its people and its history like never before.

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