inside the lake bolac eel festival
Glynn Coulson (Narrator)
The Lake Bolac Eel Festival has often been described as the little festival with the big heart. While this is true, it also has a big brain and a big warm compassionate soul.
The twilight celebration has always been much anticipated, not only by the audience, but also by the students from our local schools. Students have been involved in song and dance and have learnt how to be part of a choir, how to be part of an orchestra and this in itself has been a great experience for them.
I help out with the Indigenous dancing for the Lake Bolac Eel Festival’s twilight celebration. Our dance tells stories and give respect to animals such as the kangaroo, emu, short-finned eel, brolga and the wedge-tail eagle. Koorrang, Kappring, Kuyang, Kooron and Gneeangar.
Our Brolga Dreaming twilight celebration has probably been one of our biggest events and Anne Norman joined us with that and played her Shakuhachi, which was certainly very well received by the audience.
A special ‘extra-curricular’ part of the Lake Bolac Eel Festival, is the Healing Walk. The Healing Walk was basically the genesis of the festival and has since been an annual adventure of reflection and respect. Walking rivers and other waterways, provide a great opportunity. An opportunity to observe the environment, to collect things such as water samples, providing important data and research.
Saw some water hens earlier, so it should show the waters are pretty good. It’s a little bit higher than before; it’s getting a bit more saltier. 9.9, actually ten.
Getting that bug for the very first time, I went ‘this is it’, cause it’s something I personally thought, just as an individual, you know, as a man on the earth here, walking the earth, I thought what a wonderful thing to be able to walk across country again and then the idea of the eel walk, the healing walk, the kuyang walk came up and I went I’m signing on to that and so I was a part of it. The idea of walking, camping, walking, camping, being with friends, taking in the sights.. Mobile phone signal doesn’t work out there, so that’s kind of cool; turn your phone off.
One year when we camped along the Mt Emu Creek, the landholders whose property we stayed on, were quite concerned there may be duck shooters and they went to great lengths to make sure the duck shooters and us didn’t cross paths.
Highlights of the festival are generous and mixed with entertainment, education and enlightenment. One aspect is the forum. The forum is a discussion consisting of a panel of guests, a discussion of subjects ranging from environmental and cultural topics through to social and sustainability issues.
The festival celebrates the visual arts through an art exhibition, which has, in recent years, metamorphosed into the current day art auction.
I asked Trevor Flynn, a local Dunkeld artist, if he would help me organise the art exhibition. Also Jane Trikojus. Both Jane and Trevor had been on the Healing Walk a number of times and I knew they were good people and lovely, wonderful artists. Trevor had the idea to make the exhibition into an art auction; he had seen that idea work elsewhere in regional arts. Jane and Trevor got on board and then Jane’s husband Sasha got on board, he helped us out with the ICT stuff...