Port Campbell Overwintering Project

Port Campbell Overwintering Project – Raising Awareness of Migratory Shorebirds and their Habitat

Port Campbell Community Group Inc. raised awareness of migratory shorebirds, the threats to migratory shorebirds, and our responsibility to preserve their habitat with an exhibition at Port Campbell Artspace over the Easter 2018 weekend. The opening night was well attended with Cr Simon Illingworth opening the exhibition. Over 200 people attended across Easter Saturday and Sunday, with the exhibition closing early Sunday afternoon when the tragedy at Sherbrook River became known.

The exhibition was preceded by two printmaking workshops where artists created linocuts and etchings. Eighteen artists participated in the project, many coming from Warrnambool, Port Fairy and Melbourne. The project was supported by a Council grant and Coastcare.

The exhibition highlighted that there are 37 species migrate regularly to Australia and New Zealand for their non-breeding season, and breed in the northern hemisphere. This southern habitat is particularly significant as it is where these birds spend the greatest portion of the year. The route they take between their breeding and non-breeding grounds twice annually is called the East-Asian Australasian Flyway. 

The countries that comprise the Flyway are: Alaska; Siberia; Mongolia; China; North Korea; South Korea; Japan; the Philippines; Vietnam; Laos; Thailand; Cambodia; Myanmar; Bangladesh; India; Malaysia; Singapore; Brunei; Indonesia; Timor; Papua New Guinea; Australia and New Zealand. Our Port Campbell coastline is a highly significant, integral part to the birds’ survival.

The Port Campbell Overwintering Project is an extension of a greater Australian and New Zealand project created by Melbourne artist Kate Gorringe-Smith. Many of the Port Campbell works will join the greater project which raises funds to save these birds. Overwintering exhibitions have previously been held in Portland, Warrnambool, Werribee and most Australian states and capital cities. Details can be found on the Overwintering Project website: https://www.theoverwinteringproject.com/

Some of the prints highlighted the impact of plastics on birds and the threats of losing habitat to development, including the threats to the Latham’s Snipe from development of the Princetown wetlands.

For further information on Port Campbell Community Group Inc. environmental projects and membership. Contact: Marion Manifold, Secretary, Port Campbell Community Group Inc. A0051688U

Overwintering: a Sonnet

Cutting the blank linoleum with sharp steel
tracing the shapes, the knobbly knees, long legs,
big feet, the shorebirds from the other world,
great bills curved to probe, or flat-tipped
like spoons to sweep sideways, short
stabbing bills, thin delicate bills, emerging now
on this lino, birds that can fly around the world
and do, or halfway anyway and back, riding 
air currents and prevailing winds, resting 
in traditional tracts, lakes and littorals, reeds 
and coastlines, whatever has been left for them, 
coming in on formidable wings to winter here
and I like to think that I may conjure them
to rest a little longer on my linoleum.

B.A. Breen