Solitary Islands, multimedia event
Coffs Regional Art Gallery Sat, Aug 31st 4pm
[Note: after the show we went into the ABC studios and recorded the poems and songs, see here]
This unusual multimedia initiative celebrates the amazing Solitary Islands Marine Reserve, and those who have strong affinities with the sea here. The pilot occurred at the Bellingen Readers and Writers festival and was very successful; we have new stories, new songs, new prints and two indigenous contributors today.
Whales, sharks, galahs worms, pirates and much more!
My involvement completes a personal circle. I used to work for National Parks and Wildlife and I was the policy officer who drafted the Cabinet Minute for creating the first marine parks in NSW.
Nicola Johnstone, Manager, Solitary Islands Marine Park has recorded 60 odd oral history interviews (some very odd) and Hamish Malcolm, marine biologist, deep sea and deep bluesman suggested art as a way of bringing the stories to the public. He will be playing songs written from the stories with Art Schultz.
My poems that are not my poems. I have just tweaked the stories of the people of the Solitaries. It’s a privilege to work with the tales of these men and women which reveal a sense of place and an ecology of relationships.
Poem as told by Rob ‘love the water’ Toyer –
When you anchor in the lagoon at Elizabeth’s Reef and get up of a morning
and if it’s been blowing a big hard north-west all through the night
which it often does out there, and you’ve been sawing on the anchors
and been sitting up there watching to see you’re not dragging anchor
because it’s only fifty yards across and you’d go dry on the reef.
Fifty yards downstream and the gap to get out was only another
fifty yards across and you can’t see at night so you can only get out
day time, you gotta hang in there through the night. You get up
in the morning and can see the evidence, thirteen different wrecks,
so it’s a graveyard, and it’s sort of an eerie feeling if you’ve been
battling the elements all night. Come daylight you see all these things
and say to yourself, “They didn’t manage it, but I did.”