Media Releases 2013

Posted on 06/11/2013 by

Shearwater Soundfest 2013

A Creative, Cultural and Environmental Festival on Phillip Island
2.00pm – 9.00pm Saturday 23th November, 2013
Woolamai Beach Surf Life Saving Club, Cape Woolamai, Phillip Island

Every year, one million short-tailed shearwaters make the 15,000 kilometre migration from the Bering Sea off Alaska back home to their rookeries on Phillip Island. On the 23rd November 2013, Phillip Island is hosting a Shearwater Soundfest to celebrate the annual return of the shearwater birds and to honour them as symbols of our creative, cultural and environmental interconnectedness.

The inaugural Shearwater Festival was held in 2012 and is now a regular part of the Bass Coast calendar. The Festivalbrings the community together through creative cross-cultural collaborations. For its work on the Shearwater Festival, the Bass Coast Shire has just won the Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities Awards 2013 for Community Action Leadership (population above 3,000). 

This year’s event, Shearwater Soundfest 2013 has a particular focus on sound art, creative revival of Aboriginal languages and acoustic ecology. Linguists, musicians and sound artists have been commissioned to work collaboratively to create soundscapes which integrate the sounds of shearwaters, their habitat and Aboriginal language. These soundscapes will be performed at an afternoon concert along with songs inspired by the shearwaters and their natural environment.

The concert will feature musicians, local school children, members of the Aboriginal community and The Deep Listening Band, a group of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal musicians, artists and researchers who have been working and playing together for 10 years. Afternoon tea and dinner will be available at the Woolamai Surf Life Saving Club where the Shearwater Soundfest is being held. At sunset, there will be a guided walk to the rookeries at Cape Woolamai where 500,000 shearwaters live.

The Aboriginal concept of Deep Listening underpins the Shearwater Soundfest. Didgeridoo player and member of the Deep Listening Band, Ron Murray describes Deep Listening this way…

‘For Aboriginal people Deep Listening comes naturally 
It’s about walking on the land 
Softly quietly
And listening to the stories around the campfire 

We’ve got to listen to the wind in the trees
Listen to the birds
It’s the feeling of a gift
A gift always comes back’

pdf1 Analysis of Professional Practice of being an Indigenous Cultural Awareness Trainer by Ron Murray, RMIT Univeristy

The Shearwater Soundfest is auspiced by the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages and is sponsored by the Bass Coast Shire in partnership with Phillip Island Nature Park.


For further information contact The Shearwater Festival Coordinator, Dr Laura Brearley at or phone 0434 596 800 and Phillip Island Nature Park Education Ranger Graeme Burgan at or phone 0407 568 683.