The Shearwaters are celebrated as symbols of local and global interconnectedness. This year, the Shearwater Festival focussed on ‘Connecting to Country’ providing opportunities to learn about Aboriginal culture and the environment and to develop a deeper understanding of place. The festival took place on 25, 26 and 27 of November in various locations across Phillip Island.

There was motion on the ocean Friday night but for those who braved the cold wind and swell it was an inspiring excursion as the festival began with a boat trip around Cape Woolamai to see thousands of Shearwaters at sunset getting ready to fly back to their rookeries with the days the catch.

A packed program of non-stop quality musicians took to the stage for Saturday’s concert on Churchill Island, including the award winning Kutcha Edwards who recently received the Melbourne Prize for Music which is awarded to a Victorian musician whose work has made an outstanding contribution to Australian music and has enriched cultural and public life. Kutcha also took time to share stories and speak with local community in the yarning circle.

Sunday saw the introduction of new events to this year’s festival including the Cape Woolamai Fun Run which aims to get the community out and see the habitat of the Shearwaters and to encourage healthy life styles and learning about nature.  The street parade, workshops, smoking ceremony, presentations and a twilight walk also took place on Sunday.

Preceding the Festival was the Shearwater Education Program which is facilitated in local schools and includes visits from artists, musicians, environmentalists and Community Elders and Respected Peoples. Linked to the Festival and the Education Program is the Cross-Cultural Message Exchange, in which artworks and messages are shared between artists, children and Indigenous Elders around the world.

Shearwater Festival website

Shearwater Festival on facebook

Scroll down to see an image gallery from this years festival

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The third Shearwater Festival held on Phillip Island on November 22 and 23 brought the community together in a creative, cultural and environmental celebration of the short tailed shearwaters. The Festival involved school children and families as well as Indigenous and non-Indigenous creative artists, musicians and Elders.

The two-day Festival began on Saturday morning with a colourful Street Parade along Thompson Avenue in Cowes, led by Indigenous Elders and artists and a shearwater puppet with a seven-metre wingspan. The ‘Moon Bird’ puppet had been made by Artist-in-Residence Annie Edney. Following the bird were drummers, percussionists and singers along with different kinds of sea creature puppets made and carried by local school children in the Shearwater Education Program.

The Street Parade made its way down to the Cowes Foreshore where Senior Boon Wurrung Elder Aunty Carolyn Briggs, welcomed people to her Country with a smoking ceremony. A group of Indigenous dancers and local Indigenous school children called Baarny Bupap (Water Babies) performed traditional Creation Dances and a Shearwater Dance choreographed especially for the occasion by Steve Parker and Lowell Hunter.

There were opening speeches from the CEO of the auspicing organisation, the Victorian Aboriginal Corpiration for Languages, Mr Paul Paton. The newly appointed mayor of the Bass Coast Shire Council, Mayor Kimberley Brown also spoke. Phillip Island Nature Park Board Member, Stephen Davie and Bruce Procter from the San Remo Bendigo Bank also expressed their appreciation in being involved of the Festival.

On Saturday afternoon there were creative and cultural workshops at the Cowes Cultural Centre. They included singing and dancing workshops, Indigenous story-telling and an opportunity to learn to play the gumleaf with well-known Aboriginal Elder, Uncle Herb Patten. A participative ritual performance facilitated by local dance teacher, Tony Norquay completed the day.
In the early evening, Graeme Burgan, Senior Education Ranger at the Phillip Island Nature Park, conducted an environmental talk on the latest research on the shearwater birds at the Cape Woolamai Surf Life Saving Club. He led dusk and dawn walks at Cape Woolamai to see the shearwaters return at dusk and take off at dawn from their rookeries.
 
The Sunday Concert at the Cowes Cultural Centre was filled to capacity. It featured high profile musicians Kutcha Edwards, Archie Roach, Yirrmal and the Yolngu Boys, Marcia Howard and Rose Bygrave and members of the Deep Listening Band and Friends, Steve Sedergreen, Mike Jordan, Ron Murray, ToK Norris and Uncle Herb Patten. Archie Roach, much loved Indigenous musician received a standing ovation at the end of the concert.

The Shearwater Festival is auspiced by the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages and sponsored by the Bass Coast Shire in partnership with Phillip Island Nature Park and ABC Gippsland. The Bendigo Bank and Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation also contributed support to the Festival this year.
The Shearwater Festival 2015 is scheduled for the 28th  and 29th  November 2015
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Thursday, 16 October 2014 11:06

They're Back!

Countdown to Shearwater Festival

Shearwater Festival 2014, November 22 and 23 November, Phillip Island

 

The shearwater birds have arrived back from on Phillip Island after their 15,000 kilometres migration from the Bering Sea near Alaska. Phillip Island’s third Shearwater Festival is gearing up to welcome them home and celebrate their safe return. The Shearwater Festival is a creative, cultural and environmental initiative which brings communities together to celebrate the migration of the short-tailed shearwaters.

 

This year’s Shearwater Festival will be held on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd November, with an Education Program in local schools preceding it. The Shearwater Festival involves school children, creative artists, musicians, Indigenous Elders, community members and visitors. The short-tailed shearwaters are celebrated as symbols of creative, cultural and environmental interconnectedness.

 

A Shearwater Hub has been established at Phillip Island Community and Learning Centre (PICAL) in Cowes. Over the next six weeks, Annie Edney, the Artist-in-Residence for the Shearwater Festival will be making a large nest and a giant shearwater, ‘Mama Moonbird’ who will be leading the Street Parade down Thompson Ave in Cowes at 11.00am on Saturday 22nd November. Mama Moonbird will be accompanied by lanterns and puppets and made by local school children, artists and community members.

 

Annie Edney is a well-known artist and facilitator of community events who used to live on Phillip Island. Annie was involved in designing Festivals and Street Parades on the Island twenty years ago.

In the weeks leading up to the Festival, Annie has an Open Studio every Monday at PICAL from 11.00am to 1.00pm at the Shearwater Hub (Room 2 in the Garden House, 56-58 Church St, Cowes). Community members are welcome to pop in and see Annie at work and learn how to make a bamboo lantern or puppet themselves.

 

PICAL is having an Open Day on Sunday 2nd November from 10am – 2.00pm. The Shearwater Hub will be open for visitors that day as well. The Shearwater Festival Working Group is delighted to have the Shearwater Hub located in the heart of the vibrant community activities at PICAL.

 

The two-day Shearwater Festival begins on Saturday morning 22nd November with a colourful Street Parade along Thompson Avenue in Cowes and will feature Mama Moon Bird, sea creature puppets made and carried by local school children, music and dance and the Bass Coast Boogie Band.

 

The Street Parade will make its way down Thompson Avenue to the Cowes Foreshore where a group of Indigenous dancers and local Indigenous school children will perform a dance choreographed especially for the event. Senior Boon Wurrung Elder Aunty Carolyn Briggs will officially welcome people to Boon Wurrung Country with a smoking ceremony.

 

On Saturday afternoon there will be creative and cultural workshops and performances at the Cowes Cultural Centre. These include singing, dancing and drumming workshops, Indigenous story-telling and an opportunity to learn to play the gumleaf with well-known Aboriginal Elder, Uncle Herb Patten. A participative ritual and performance completes the day. 

 

In the early evening, Graeme Burgan, Senior Education Ranger at the Phillip Island Nature Park, will conduct an environmental talk on the latest research on the shearwater birds at the Cape Woolamai Surf Life Saving Club. He will also lead dusk and dawn walks at Cape Woolamai to see the shearwaters return at dusk and take off at dawn from their rookeries.

 

The Sunday Concert at the Cowes Cultural Centre on Sunday 23rd November will feature high profile Indigenous musicians Archie Roach, Kutcha Edwards and Yirrmal and the Yolngu Boys as well as members of the Deep Listening Band and Friends, Steve Sedergreen, Mike Jordan, Ron Murray, Rob Bundle, Marcia Howard and Rose Bygrave.

 

Tickets for the Shearwater Festival 2014 can be purchased on-line at www.shearwaterfestival.com.au Tickets for the Saturday workshops and performances are $20. The Welcome Home Concert on Sunday is $30. All proceeds from the tickets goes to the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages, an organisation dedicated to language revival, cultural regeneration and the celebration of Aboriginal culture.

 

In 2013, the Shearwater Festival was awarded the Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities Awards for Community Action Leadership.The Shearwater Festival is auspiced by the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages and sponsored by the Bass Coast Shire in partnership with Phillip Island Nature Park. The Bendigo Bank, RamahyuckDistrict Aboriginal Corporation and Ramada Resort Phillip Island are also contributing support to the Festival this year.

 

 

For further information about the Shearwater Festival, go to

www.facebook.com/shearwaterfestival

www.shearwaterfestival.com.au

 

Or contact

Shearwater Festival Working Group Representative

Dr Laura Brearley       This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 0434 596 800

Resources

You can see short films about previous Festivals …

Shearwater Festival 2012 https://vimeo.com/58521654

Shearwater Festival 2013 https://vimeo.com/82049856

You can hear Education Ranger Graeme Burgan from the Phillip Island Nature Park talking about the short-tailed shearwaters on http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2011/10/06/3333621.htm

 

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