This last scroll of paper had undergone several processes over a few days leading up to the event. It symbolised how the community use the river for recreation and with some local advice, a popular spot for canoeing, fishing, swimming and skiing, north of Fishermans Rest was chosen.
Mel McEvoy a local resident in Mitchell enjoys the fact that there are no council allocated spaces on these parts of the river. Her family like others in the town refer to the sandy banks near Fishermans rest and the Weir as the Mitchell beach. The 2012 flood left tons of white sand along the river banks. It was like it was a gift from the river after the devastation according to Laura Douglas. [Image of Mitchell Beach by Mel McKevoy]
The roll of paper unravelled along the bank and half submerged with various reeds, sticks and leaves and the large cut logs found neatly stacked on the bank were used to hold the paper down. Having had a shower of rain across it encouraged the sap from these logs to release a stain line down the paper.
On this same work, I wanted to represent the new bridge and reconstruction in Mitchell. Neil Braden from Albem constructions agreed to direct operations on the morning of the closing event for an American Roughy crane to imprint a tyre mark along the paper’s edge. Charcoal which had been produced from a grass fire in the local 5 mile creek was used to rub on the washed rubber tyres.During the event, a front end loader driven by Andy Hughes delivered the paper to the courtyard gallery. The rythmic music of the Mitchell Marimbas, guitar / vocal performers Ausphonics , hot soup and warm punch contributed to the nights experience.
Earlier, Lynnette Nixon welcomed to country and read a story that she has adapted. It was passed down from her grandmother about Illimargn a big barroo (river) A story of great flooding and how it was stopped). Others spoke about their connections, passions and fond memories of the river.
An interesting finale to the project. As I dismantled the exhibition, several babies and their mums meet at the library for a music singing session. These are the ‘Flood’ babies, born 9 months after record floods in 2012. What a wonderful sign of rebuilding of spirit.
Some of the words from the One River song performed by the students of Dunkeld School , the Mitchell Marimbas and Jacqui Burns composed by Joy Foott.
Where our journeys meet
One River………… flowing through the land
Know it’s power
Fear its roar
Love its beauty
Praise the healing it brings
Making One River
Beating now as one
Belonging to one land
Many voices ,
Singing one song
Many hopes and dreams
To build upon
Flowing through one land.