12 May, 2014

M~M 2014: the journey begins

Over the two days of the 9th and 10th of May I participated in an amazing community event which took place across the region from the You Yangs to the mouth of the Barwon River: the Mountain to Mouth extreme arts walk. To do it justice requires a couple of posts at least. This is the first.
Following on from the original M~M in 2009, this event traced a path from Big Rock at the You Yangs to the river mouth at Barwon Heads. This time the M~M got underway with a "Gathering of the Elders" ceremony at Big Rock, conducted by Elder Bryon Powell.
Elder Bryon Powell
Elder Bryon Powell carries smoke to performers and the ceremonial canoe
during the opening ceremony
At the conclusion of the ceremony, the mayors of Geelong and the Borough of Queenscliff along with ward councillors wound their way through the first of twelve walking circles followed by walkers and other community members.
The mayors and councillors walk the circle beneath the You Yangs
The formalities concluded and Mayor Darren Lyons led the flags representing each of the council wards and their bearers as they started their journey to Barwon Heads. They were followed by the canoe which accompanied the walkers throughout our journey, carried by various community groups, beginning with the CFA.
The ceremonial canoe leaving for the walk, carried by CFA members and
bearing twelve bottles of water (one for each ward) from the well on
Big Rock - to be carried to the river mouth at Barwon Heads
Mayor Lyons leading the canoe through the flags of the 12 wards of the municipality
From the You Yangs, we wound our way via Serendip Sanctuary to Lara, the second station on the journey, arriving just on sunset.
The walking circle at Lara
Then, following a short dinner break, it was time to walk beside Hovell's Creek to the shores of Limeburner's Lagoon on Corio Bay where the third station awaited. With darkness now completely descended we took time to walk the circle before following the shoreline to the industrial heart of Geelong, passing Shell, Pivot, Ford and other significant industrial sites.
Our fourth station was at Moorpanyal Park where the walking circle was a glowing arrangement of crocheted coral and ceramic shells.
Crocheted coral in the walking circle at Moorpanyal Park
At this point, after several changes, academics from Deakin University took on the task of carrying the canoe to the Waterfront. Of course, as those carrying the canoe changed, likewise the flags were passed from group to group. Walkers came and went too doing stages here and there but some (myself included) aimed to make it all the way to Barwon Heads.
Representatives from Deakin University prepare to carry the canoe
From this station to the Waterfront was our final leg for the evening and the arrival of the canoe and the walkers at Steampacket Gardens (the fifth station) was timed to coincide with the end of the Geelong After Dark event.
The walking circle at the Geelong Waterfront

The centre piece of the Waterfront walking circle
By this stage we had walked 30km to reach the Waterfront where a resting ceremony was performed before we all adjourned for the evening, in preparation for a 6am start the following morning.
The canoe in position for a light display at the Waterfront

To be continued: M~M 2014: across The Bellarine.

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