Map 2/Story 2/Title 2 'The Time of Chaos'

This  concept was also inspired by a commission put forward by Bayside City Council based on stories written down by Carolyn Briggs (Boonerwurung elder).

 

The time of Chaos, (see appendix for original story) was the story my second installation was inspired by.  The concept/design relates to and depicts the Ancient Yarra River and where it originally flowed 10,000 years ago, where it joined with the ancient Werribee and flowed through what is now the heads of Port Phillip Bay and flowed off behind what is now King Island.

 

The design also depicts six eggs that represent the six traditional groups of the Boonerwrung people, (the people that occupied this part of the low lying grass/wetlands before it was swallowed up by the rising water that is now Port Phillip Bay).

 

The six clans of the Boonerwrung are the ‘Yallukit Willam’, ‘Ngaruk Willam’, ‘Mayune Baluk’, ‘Boonwurrung Balu’, ‘Yownegerra’ and the ‘Yallock Balluk’.

 

To make the design as accurate as possible (especially depicting the ancient Yarra) the design was cross referenced with a report written by G.R. Holdgate, B.R. Thompson and B. Guerin on the late Pleistocene channels in Port Phillip Bay.  Sub-bottom seismic profiling in Port Phillip Bay has outlined a system of late Pleistocene river channels which now lie buried beneath the bay floor, in the centre of Port Phillip.  These channels are continuations of the present day Yarra and Werribee Rivers.

 

The rivers depicted flow over and through the six eggs, these eggs are meant to represent  Wedge tail Eagle eggs. The Wedge tail eagle having huge significance for the Boonerwurung and all people from the Kulin Nations as Bunjil (the creation spirit) took on the form of the  Wedge tail eagle.     The  Wedge tail Eagle also being one of two family (kinship) groups the other being Waa the crow (little raven) of the Boonwerurung.

 

The overall shape of the installation was the only part of the job that changed a little over time.   Originally it  took on the shape of a circle  symbolically representing a meeting place, however over time it was changed to symbolically represent the shape of an eye, Bunjils eye, as Bunjil (the  Wedge tail eagle is seen as the ever watchful).

Concept Drawings

Once again it was like creating a 6m x 4m jigsaw puzzle using stone.  Every stone in the Installation had to be cut then recut depending if it was part of the Bay (basalt), part of the surrounding country (Castlemaine slate) or the rivers (green limestone slate).  This process took me approximately 5 weeks and although slow and tedious I would like to think the joins and seams were extremely tight.

 

Since the job was completed early June 2008, landscaping has been put in and around the site, new Granetic sand paths have been completed up to the site and some seats have been installed so just like the North Rd job (Barrimal the emu) th site has gone from being quiet   derelict to now being, not just a free standing installation but a little gathering site for locals and tourists alike, to sit  contemplate and look out to the stunning vistas.  Not only to enjoy the view but also start to understand their place/country a little more.  Already in the short time it has been located there a number of schools have used the site not just to understand a little more about Boonwurrung country, but also to get and understanding of how Port Phillip Bay may have been seen 10,000 years ago just before the end to the last ice age and the flooding of  Port Phillip Bay       .

Pictures of the Jick saw coming together
Final Finished Installation
Map depicting last channel cut by Yarra 10,000BC

The Production and Installation

Once OH&S, engineering computations, landscape design  , architecture plans, and public liability certificate had been approved it was time to create and   install the work .

 

The installation once again was going to be a horizontal piece with the exception being the eggs.  The eggs being 3 dimensional in form approximately 700mm long with the diameter of approximately 500mm.

 

The reason for the installation primarily being horizontal was it was meant to be read as an overview or map of the region as well as the fact anything with vertical significance would be a problem as it would interfere with  local residents  bay views and that could prove to be a problem when it comes to complaints and even vandalism.

 

The site was also extremely important with and after much deliberation  the perfect site  was chosen.

 

Based on the top of Red Bluff cliffs Beaumaris over looking most of Boonerwrung county, Port Phillip bay  and looking over to the You Yangs, the site I thought was perfect.  So it was now a matter of pouring the slab (concrete approx. 

6 metres long, 4 metres wide) drawing out the design and start cutting rock.

 

The eggs were to be the first thing created and proved to be not just a difficult task in creating the shape, but finding the most suitable rock.

I wanted the eggs to be similar in colour and texture to  Wedge tail eagle eggs and it seemed limestone would be the perfect choice as the colour (as long as the limestone was cream) was what I was after.  However the problem with Victorian limestone, is its durability (it’s a little soft and crumbles).

After a great deal of research and searching it was Hendersons, a stone masonry quarry outlet in Footscray that came up with some French limestone, that was a lot more stable than our local stone and it had the perfect colour and texture.

 

I didn’t want the eggs to look like they had been created on a stone lave or laser cut, as I wanted the eggs to look very natural, each one being a little different.  So each egg was hand carved with a great deal of help from a stone mason that specializes in stone restoration.  The eggs took approximately two weeks to create.  Then the Wedge tail eagle eggs were then transported to site and installed followed closely by the on site creation and installation of the cut stone work.

© Glenn Romanis