Newer Volcanics


Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land and waterways our work is created on, the Wurundjeri Woiwurrung, Boon Wurrung and Wathaurong peoples of the Eastern Kulin Nation, and acknowledge their continued culture and connection to land and waters. We pay our respects to Kulin Nation Elders past, present, future and emerging. We acknowledge sovereignty has never been ceded.

Newer Volcanics

Newer Volcanics is a creative project with accompanying performance by The Orbweavers responding to the volcanic plains and waterways of western Melbourne. The performance premiered at The Substation arts centre in Newport on 29 and 30 November 2018, and was presented in collaboration with The Letter String Quartet and filmmaker Brian Cohen.

The Living Pavilion 2019 - Reeds Rush

The Living Pavilion 2019 - Reeds Rush

About the Project

Newer Volcanics reflects on geology, industrial history and environmental change through song, spoken word and visuals. A limbic interpretation of landscape, Newer Volcanics is created from psychogeography and research we have undertaken as Creative Fellows at State Library of Victoria.

Newer Volcanics is a geological province in south-east Australia. It includes the country south west of Narrm (Melbourne), the unceded sovereign lands of the Wathaurong, Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation. A landscape characterised by water courses carved through ancient volcanic plains, silty clays, estuarine sediments, and low lying tidal salt marshes of abundant birdlife, where creeks and rivers meet the sea. Much of the land in the inner-west has been has been paved and overlaid by post-settlement industry and transport infrastructure, but the waterways and sometimes their immediate surrounds persist, a living thread of the past and the present, a continuing flow and force through time.

Psychogeography describes how we currently think about place in relation to our creative work: drifting through urban areas, letting our minds wander over layers of history visible as accretions and remnants; contemplating personal connections and reactions to the landscape.

Over the last year, we have been walking the lava ridges and soft lowlands of western Melbourne any weekend we can. We have walked from Moonee Ponds Creek to the confluence of the Maribyrnong and Birrarung (Yarra) Rivers. Past Stony and Kororoit Creeks, and south west to Skeleton Waterholes Creek. Where waterways have been forced through tunnels and industrial tracts, we jump fences, skirting colonising onion grass and Morning Glory along railway embankments, under freeways and along wire fencing, to arrive in fennel-covered edgelands of unknown jurisdiction. Psychogeography is like being a kid again, wandering beautiful, and sometimes desolate places without clear intention.

Walking through Melbourne watercourses has brought us to psychogeography, to histories and peoples, to environments and industries, and to creative spaces where we try to acknowledge the weave all these elements make. We want to acknowledge that we are writing on land where sovereignty was never ceded, and pay attention to stories of pain as well as resistance, histories of peoples, cultures, lands and waters. In creating these works we hope to draw attention to different parts of Narrm - Melbourne, and particularly to the layers that make all of us here.

Marita Dyson & Stuart Flanagan - The Orbweavers