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What happened this year

Victoria - Barwon Heads Festival of the Sea, March 11 to 16

The Barwon Heads Festival of the Sea (FOTS) has become an annual event that makes connections between the community of Barwon Heads, as well as the many visitors, with the diverse and rich marine and coastal environments within the local area. This event was initiated in 2000 and has been undertaken each year since to coincide with dates of Seaweek.

Blessed by sandy beaches and rocky shores along the Bass Strait coastline, the highly protected Barwon Bluff Marine Sanctuary, and an estuary and wetlands of international significance along the Barwon River, the FOTS provides a unique opportunity to learn more about these important natural environments and to initiate projects that will further enhance and protect values.

The 2008 program extended from Tuesday 11th March through to Sunday 16th March with a variety of activities that focussed on making connections with the sea.

Detail from Pole Sculpture - "Collage with saws"
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Victoria Edgar -  cross cut saws

The Seaweek theme of Extinction – a Saw Point featured throughout the program with a focus on threatened marine and coastal species and communities.

Activities relating to the Seaweek theme included:

  • Family science night at Barwon Heads Primary School (11/3) focussed on wetlands and rare and threatened plant communities and birds
  • Community Seminar (12/3) – a full day program focussed on wetlands including a morning of presentations on wetland values and shorebirds, and field trips to visit local sites included within the Western Shoreline Port Phillip and Bellarine Peninsula Ramsar plan
  • Pole Sculptures (16/3) – exhibiting on the Sunday of FOTS local artists developed sculptures that interpreted the Seaweek theme of Extinction - a Saw Point with outstanding pieces that highlighted this issue
  • Festival Day (16./3) – a large community festival which included marine and coastal interpretation activities, displays, and events which attracted over 4,000 participants

The FOTS is coordinated by a committee which meets throughout the year to plan and coordinates the diverse program which not only includes the environment focus but also a broad range of other activities including music, photography, art shows, and much more. Financial support for the events, which are at no cost to participants, come from the sale of ducks for the annual duck race on the river, and from a variety of local and state government grants, and local business support.

THE FOTS is a great example of community participation in Seaweek and provides a good model for other communities to consider in developing a local response to Seaweek. More information about the festival can be found on the Barwon Heads website at

Community Seminar and Field Trip – Visit
to Lake Connewarre (Ramsar Site) bycanoe

Extinction - A Saw Point - Pole Sculptures

             saws and sharks
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Rockpool Ramble – Community Festival Day

going down the plughole
  Click here for larger version

          sawshark - mixed media
   Click here for larger version

                   sawfish bycatch
       Click here for larger version


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