Wadawurrung Welcome awaits visitors to Portarlington Pier
Tuesday 11 October, 2022
Visitors to Portarlington Pier will be welcomed onto Wadawurrung Sea Country by a striking 120-metre-long mural featuring original illustrations by 105 Wadawurrung artists. The artworks capture local stories of place, water, and journey. Etched onto metal and glass screens, they are a celebration of Wadawurrung Country and the importance of storytelling.
Portarlington Pier walkway features the artwork of more than 100 Wadawurrung artitsts. Image credit: Alison Marchant
More than 100 Wadawurrung families were invited to submit designs and the resulting mural was created by artists ranging in age from young children to a 94-year-old. The hand-drawn illustrations have now been applied to specialised marine glass and metal panels for the pier’s covered pedestrian walkway from the ferry terminal to the foreshore.
Visitors to the new Portarlington Pier walkway can read about the artwork which captures the stories of place and journey, reflected through water, sand, shells and marine life.
Cultural Education Manager, Corrina Eccles, from Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation said: “For tens of thousands of years our Wadawurrung ancestors have cared for this Country. By capturing, throughout this journey, the stories of place reflected through water, sand, shells, marine life, we hope visitors to Portarlington will be welcomed and know they are on Wadawurrung Country. Our intention is for visitors to recognise Wadawurrung people as the Traditional Owners of the land they are on and understand our culture and stories, our place and be reminded to take care on Wadawurrung Country.”
Nearby on the foreshore, a collection of concrete mussels is situated near the pier, providing a visual connection to the renowned local aquaculture industry, while supporting the prevention of coastal erosion.
Giant mussel sculptures weighing more than half a ton stabilise the sand around the pier and make wonderful seating for visitors.
Life at Portarlington centres around the water, with mussels being an important natural resource for thousands of years. The mussel sculptures have been placed to stabilise sand around the pier, provide a point of interest and seating for visitors. The sculptures are constructed of concrete, with the smallest one weighing approximately half a ton. The Wadawurrung Traditional Owner name for mussel is barnawarrabil.
The co-design collaboration between Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation and Parks Victoria is part of a recently completed $9.8M upgrade to Portarlington Harbour.