Belgrave Survival Day – Celebrating 10 years

smoking-ceremonySmoking ceremony photo by D.Clarke.

On Thursday the 26th January, 2017, Belgrave Survival Day will celebrate its 10th consecutive year. Once again celebrating Indigenous culture and the survival of Australia’s First Nations people through 228 years of white settlement. This year’s festival will focus on the theme of ‘Knowing your local history, and as always is a free family friendly event.

This year the theme focuses on understanding your local history. If there is one action a person can do to show solidarity and start to bridge the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous people it is to get to know your local history. This year award winning author Bruce Pascoe will be a special guest speaker sharing stories from our local history. Author and historian Jim Poulter will also have a stall with books outlining Victoria’s indigenous history.

The Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony will be led by Wurundjeri elder and educator, Uncle Bill Nicholson, followed by traditional dances performed by ‘The Djirri Djirri’ dance mob where the audience will be invited to join in. Aunty Dot Peters will also grace us with her presence and share some of her wisdom.

Djirri Djirri Dance Group courtesy of their facebook pageThe Djirri Djirri dance mob.

The line up includes Benny Walker, who will be on the stage again as the lead act with his band. His love songs and epic tales are mixed with passion for the land, the people. His summer vibes and deep grooves are elements that reach the soul.

Benny Walker and BandBenny and the band.

The day will also welcome back The Deans, who will bring classic sounds and grooves with velvet smooth vocals, sweet harmonies, soaring heartbreak guitar, deep Mo-town bass grooves and hip-shaking rhythms. They are sure to get you moving.

Benny and The Deans will be supported by Gunditjmara singer songwriter Jayden Lillyst. Jayden tells stories of his people through a dose of country rock mixed with soul and blues.

The fabulous voices of the Mullum Mullum Choir and the vibes of the Hip Hop Crew will also feature. Then be calmed as you participate in a Digeridoo Mediation with Gnarnayarrahe Waitiarie (Uncle Joey).

There will be plenty of activities to keep the kids (and adults) busy with fun music and dance, art and craft opportunities, the children’s playground and more.

Soak up the atmosphere on a picnic rug in front of the stage or stroll around the market and information stalls. Catering for all food requirements with a variety of food trucks including traditional bush tucker. This event is alcohol-free.

Due to parking limitations around the park the Survival Day organisers strongly encourage people to catch public transport, carpool or park at Belgrave Train Station where you can get the shuttle bus provided, or take a quick 5 minute walk to Borthwick Park.

The event will be simulcasts on 3MDR 97.1 FM.

To find out more go to Belgrave Survival Day facebook or events page

When: 26th January 2017
Time: 12 noon – 4.30pm
Where: Borthwick Park (next to Belgrave Pool) Benson St, Belgrave.
Melways reference 75/F11


The Belgrave Survival Day event is organised by a committee of volunteers. They invite new volunteers to help with preparations for the festival, to assist on the day, or join the committee to keep the event happening in the future.

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Gareth Hart hillsceneLIVE

hillsceneLIVE is born

Gareth Hart hillsceneLIVE

Post by Amy Middleton.

What can be achieved in the name of the unknown?

If you were to have asked me to describe ‘Hillscene’ six months ago, I would have responded simply, clearly and concisely by quoting the first line on the Hillscene website… “Hillscene, is a Maga’zine’ about all the interesting people and things happening in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges”. Asked the same question today, I may give you a cheeky smile and giggle excitedly.

There is a joyful tension that exists when you know something great is about to happen, but you are not exactly sure how to explain it. The fortunate folk who have read the Autumn Issue would have had a little introduction to HillsceneLIVE, a quarterly performance and live art event that will take the form of a mini festival. The head honcho behind the HillsceneLive concept is Gareth Hart. A Melbourne based independent artist with strong interests in Choreography, Theatre and Photography.


To describe Gareth as anything other than an artist would be limiting. His creative practice is wide-ranging as it is thoughtful and personal. Gareth holds a Masters of Choreography from the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne and his resume is littered with creative accomplishments. Beyond the impressive resume, he presents a compassionate character, with a gritty confidence.  Gareth describes himself as having a “natural inkling to be offbeat” and he seems to find a deep comfort in the ambiguity of the creative process.  He seems to revel in the unknown, in abstract concepts that can’t be defined easily. Over the past 8 years, Gareth has moved away from traditional choreography and finds that improvising movement allows him to be more responsive to the creative experience of performing. “I think it’s not so much that I want people to be confused, but I like for them to leave a performance different to when they arrived. This means that an audience is actually engaging with your work, and perhaps on some level getting a sense of the complexity of this strange thing I like to call ‘dance’.”

Whilst HillsceneLIVE can’t be explained in a single phrase, there is no doubt in my mind that something wonderful is about to bloom. I sense Gareth approaches his creative practice with strong self-awareness. His insights are well integrated, most likely hard-won at the hands of many who might have doubted him along the way, and whom he has proven wrong. It’s difficult to escape a sense of questioning around what HillsceneLIVE may or may not become, but I get the sense that this unknowing is exactly what is intended.


Photos by Gareth Hart.