Phillip Island,

Shearwater Festival 2015

Media release courtesy of Shearwater Festival Working Group


The Shearwater Festival is on again and will be taking place on Phillip Island on Saturday, 21st November and Sunday 22nd November. The Festival is an annual creative, cultural and environmental event which was established in 2012. It brings Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members together to celebrate the safe return of the short-tailed shearwaters from their 15,000 kilometre migration. The shearwaters are celebrated as symbols of local and global interconnectedness.

The Festival includes a street parade, workshops, performances, guided walks and talks to the shearwater rookeries and involves creative artists, musicians, Indigenous Elders, community members and school children.

In 2015, the Festival features ‘Shearwater Short Tales’, funded by the Regional Arts Fund. Short Tales is a series of creative collaborations between artists and performers from Bass Coast and Mallacoota in East Gippsland. Both the Bass Coast and Mallacoota communities have strong links with the short tailed shearwaters with one million shearwaters on Phillip Island and over 6000 breeding pairs having their rookeries on Gabo Island off the coast from Mallacoota. Community members from across Gippsland members are developing ten short productions of 10 minutes or less in theatre, song, music, dance, poetry, film and mixed media. Shearwater Short Tales will be performed at the Cowes Cultural Centre over the course of the weekend.

The Festival is auspiced by the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages and has a strong focus on Indigenous cultural regeneration and creative language revival. It warmly welcomes members of refugee communities who now live in Australia. There will be a strong African presence at this year’s Festival with a special concert ‘Womin djeka Africa’ (Welcome Africa) in which African and Indigenous performers will collaborate.

The Festival is preceded by the Shearwater Education Program facilitated in local schools which includes visits from artists, musicians, environmentalists and Indigenous Elders. Linked to the Festival is the Shearwater Message Exchange, in which artworks and messages are shared between artists, children and Indigenous Elders along the shearwater flight path. This year’s Festival will also feature Indigenous artists and community leaders from First Nations in Canada and the USA.

The Shearwater Festival is sponsored by the Bass Coast Shire Council in partnership with Phillip Island Nature Park and is supported by ABC Gippsland, Regional Arts Fund, Ramahyuck District Aboriginal Corporation and a range of community, educational and business organisations.

The Shearwater Festival has been awarded the Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities Awards 2013 for Community Action Leadership and the State-wide 2015 HART award from Reconciliation Victoria and the Victorian Local Government Association.

All proceeds from the tickets go to the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation of Languages, an organisation dedicated to language revival, cultural regeneration and the celebration of Aboriginal culture. Media enquiries can be directed to the Shearwater Festival Director and Chair of the Shearwater Festival Working Group, Dr Laura Brearley 0434 596800

Further information is available at and