Drive the Gondwana Link for The Stars Descend

Explore the Gondwana Link Corridor along The South West Edge through a self drive itinerary that teaches you about the environmental and cultural significance of this region. Follow The Stars Descend, a trail of contemporary dance performances created by Annette Carmichael Projects that illuminates the significance of the Gondwana Link Corridor from 17 March – 1 April 2023. With 5 unique performances in 5 different key locations of Margaret River, Northcliffe, Porongurup, Fitzgerald Biosphere and Kalgoorlie, follow the story of the stars while exploring habitats that were once part of the ancient landmass of Gondwana and meet the array of small business operators actively engaged in environmental restoration and cultural experiences en route along The Edge.

The Edge Section: Perth – Margaret River – Northcliffe – Porongurup – Fitzgerald Biosphere – Kalgoorlie

Chapter 1

Perth to Margaret River


Depart for the Margaret River region, and detour through Busselton. The Busselton Jetty  is the longest wooden-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere and offers a chance to descend to the ocean floor to see the stars of the underwater Leeuwin coastline.

From a geological perspective, this region is where the wet forest begins to meet the limestone west coast as we move towards Margaret River. This area is known for its tall karri forests, pristine beaches, ancient limestone caves, bringing an extra suite of species richness and some additional challenges.

Chapter One of The Stars Descend performance commences in Wadandi country on 17 March in this landscape and asks the question “How do the stars gaze upon us?”.   Created by a large cast of community and professional dancers, the evening performance is being held on private property, close to the ocean.

Created by award winning choreographer Adelina Larsson Mendoza and First Nations dance artist Janine Oxenham, the evening performance will unfold on a private property, close to the ocean.  Local sound designer Simon Walsh captures the urgency of the stars’ descent into the Indian Ocean and their transformation into the sea stars of the Leeuwin Current.

Take a drive down Caves Road and explore the many wineries or check out Mammoth Cave, home to the ancient fossil remains of long-extinct Australian Megafauna and is the most easily accessible of all the show caves in the region.

Chapter 2

Margaret River to Northcliffe


Next stop, Northcliffe in Pibulmun country.

In Chapter 2 of The Stars Descend, the stars have travelled from Margaret River via tendrils of cool fire. In this performance, created by Australian dance legend Chrissie Parrott AO, the stars appear inside the exquisite orchids that emerge after fire.  A sensual feast, this chapter is underscored by the evocative sounds of musician Dave Mann and the fire inspired design of celebrated Northcliffe artist Peter Hill.

Travel along Mowen Road through to Nannup where the mighty Blackwood River flows. Barrabup Pool offers a fabulous dip into history and the cooling waters of the Blackwood before heading back into town to enjoy the many quaint businesses along the main street.

The Southern Forests and Valleys region is well known as a food hub. Shop the local produce and visit the many farm gates in nature's pantry. Manjimup is a great place to buy local produce or better still learn more on a tour with the Southern Forest Food Council tours.

Pemberton, en-route to Northcliffe, has fantastic walking trails to explore this fragile countryside in a responsible manner, help local business and have an educational and inspirational experience in this amazing landscape.

For The Stars Descend performance on Sunday 19 March, audiences must catch special buses to access the dance event, which is being held on a private property.  Buses depart Brockman Street, Pemberton at 2.15 pm and Northcliffe Visitor Centre at 3pm.  The performance commences at 4pm with a Welcome to Country from Aunty Suzanne Kelly and is followed by a community celebration hosted by Southern Forest Arts.  Book your tickets here.

Chapter 3

Northcliffe to Porongurup


The Chapter 3 dance performance takes place on Friday 24 March 2023 in Porongurup at the Twin Creeks Conservation Reserve. Buses depart from the Porongurup Inn and Tea Rooms at 4pm and Mt Barker Town Hall at 4.30pm.

As the sun sets on the Porongurup Range, the stars shimmer out of the ancient granite and enter the mauve sky.  Suspended in a breath of birdsong, they then fall into the waterways and begin their journey towards the Fitzgerald Biosphere to the east.

Created by the powerful First Nations choreographer Sonya Stephen with sound design by Andy O’Neil, the performance ends with a community celebration at Twin Creeks Conservation Reserve hosted by Friends of the Porongurup Range.

There are two main routes to Porongurup in Menang country and each holds their own ecological and cultural stories.

Enjoy the drive along the Muir Highway, be sure to check out the Lake Muir Bird Hide, which sits on the edge of a massive wetland nestled into the forest. If driving along South Coast Highway, take Beardmore Road to Fernhook Falls on the pristine Deep River and then travel through to the Mt Frankland Lookout, which is an inspiring ‘must do’ with its sweeping wilderness views.

Whilst in Walpole be sure to visit the beautiful Knoll Scenic Drive and walk trails. Coalmine Beach Heritage Trail is a fabulous walk through species-rich dampland vegetation to the Nornalup Inlet.

Heading up to the Porongurup and Stirling Range area, a visit to Pwakkenbak / Mount Barker Lookout provides sweeping views and an uplifting introduction to the Mt Barker / Porongurup region. The Friends of the Porongurup Range and the Porongurup Progress Association provide useful information on the biodiversity and visitor attractions of this incredibly high conservation value and culturally important area.





Chapter 4

Porongorup to Fitzgerald Biosphere


The journey from Porongurup through to Ravensthorpe and the Fitzgerald River region traverses some of the most botanically rich areas within the larger, internationally recognised south-west biodiversity hotspot. An ever-changing kaleidoscope of mallee, kwongkan (heathland), woodland and wetlands, the trip can be done on sealed highways or on good gravel 2WD roads.

Chapter 4 of The Stars Descend unfolds in the whispering theatre of a sheoak grove, with a backdrop of majestic salmon gums.  The stars enter the Fitzgerald Biosphere and sense the preciousness of this place and its complex past.  Here they dissolve into the water and enter the plants, the animals, the humans and the birds.

Exploring the tension between time and seasons, this chapter features the music of Azariah Felton, a rising talent in the world of sound design.  Choreographed by First Nations choreographers Simon Stewart and Rachael Colmer, this performance contains the tipping point of our story.

On Sunday 26 March 2023, the buses depart Hopetoun Community Centre at 1.30pm and the Ravensthorpe Entertainment Centre at 3pm to take people to The Stars Descend performance site, a beautiful farm being restored for wildlife in Wudjari Country.

Your ticket includes a community celebration with hosting arts organisation Rave About Arts.  The dance performance starts at 4pm and is followed by the community celebration, which ends at 7.30pm. Tickets can be booked here.

Drive north-east towards the ‘Fitzgerald to Stirling’ section of the Gondwana Link pathway, which is in Menang and Goreng country. Throughout this area, Gondwana Link, local landcare groups, national environmental organisations, conservation property owners and Noongar Ranger teams are making a massive difference through ecological restoration plantings on private properties such as Yarrabee Wesfarmers Reserve, Wajon’s Chingarrup SanctuaryYarraweyah Falls restoration site and Nowanup.

Chapter 5

Fitzgerald Biosphere to Kalgoorlie


Back on the road from Ravensthorpe to Kalgoorlie via Esperance or off the bitumen through the Granite and Woodlands Discovery Trail, to experience the final dance Chapter on Saturday 1 April 2023.

Much of the country you will drive through is under the Custodianship of the Ngadju and Tjaltjraak Wadjuri First Nations peoples. The Traditional Owners of a large part of the Great Western Woodlands, the Ngadju People, retain their knowledge of and connection to country. In March 2021, Ngadju Conservation Aboriginal Corporation celebrated the formal declaration of their 4.4-million-hectare Indigenous Protected Area. A strong Ngadju Ranger team now provides conservation management across the area.

Take the gravel road from Ravensthorpe and travel to Lake King and Varley. On your way, explore the Lake Varley Rabbit Cemetery and travel east to cross the No 1 Rabbit Proof Fence and enter the Great Western Woodlands. From the fence, travel about 10 km, then turn north. This road takes you past an important nickel mining area — a reminder you are on the road to Kalgoorlie, and then you’ll arrive at what’s known as the ‘Cronin Crossroads’. A short detour north of the ‘Crossroads’ takes you to Lake Cronin, an often-large freshwater lake, with good interpretive material on natural values and attempts to farm the area during the 1930s Depression.

If you choose to take the highway route, leave Ravensthorpe and head towards Esperance. On to Norseman and the Shire of Dundas attractions which include Bromus Dam, a historic watering point 32 kms south of the town. Around this site, large areas are now quarantined where the Ngadju Rangers have eradicated a major infestation of the noxious weed Noogoora Burr.

The Great Western Woodlands is internationally significant and spans almost 16 million hectares.  It is recognised as the largest and most intact temperate (or medium rainfall) woodland remaining on the planet.  The Green Trail is a self-drive trail that explores this region and shares the natural history and some of the human stories of the landscape.

Arriving in Kalgoorlie there are opportunities to explore the cultural and mining history of this area.  Goldfields Honey Ant Tours provides an authentic bushfood foraging tour, exploring the traditional bushfoods and medicine plants that have sustained the Tjupan people for millennia in this semi-arid environment. It’s worth taking time to explore outlying areas such as Lake Ballard or the old Ora Banda pub.  For more information on what to see and do, click here.

The Final Chapter of The Stars Descend takes place on Saturday 1 April 2023 at Karlkurla Bushland Park.  Pronounced gull-gurl-la, the Park is named after the local Aboriginal word for the Silky Pear and comprises 200 hectares of natural regrowth bushland, along with over 2,000 trees and shrubs planted by community volunteers back in 2000.

In this Chapter, the stars arrive inside an emu who has travelled from the Fitzgerald Biosphere. She arrives at Karlkurla Park to a cacophony of birdsong captured by sound designer Jean-Michel Maujean.

Local choreographer Pare Randall, working in consultation with Elder Gary Cooper, has created a series of profoundly beautiful moments as the emu lays an egg that holds a universe of knowledge for the future.  This epic, five chaptered performance culminates in the egg bursting open to reveal the Silky Pear growing from within. Its star-like seeds are caught by the breeze and spread through the night air to regenerate the country and inspire a future of land care and restoration.

After the performance, celebrate with us in a wonder-filled party hosted by ArtGold.

Shuttle buses will leave for the dance performance site from the Goldfields Art Centre at 5.30pm.  The performance happens at 6.30 pm with the community celebration continuing until 10.00 pm.  Book your tickets and bus transfer here. No parking is available onsite.

Chapter 6

Kalgoorlie to Perth


The trip back to Perth follows the Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail. It’s a fascinating look into the courage and conviction of C. Y. O'Connor, who facilitated the development of the water pipeline from Perth to Kalgoorlie in 1896 to help water impoverished gold miners.  Seen by many at the time as foolhardy, the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme was completed in 1903.  Like so many creative endeavours, the courage and conviction to create such a massive undertaking is still being seen today in our arts and tourism sectors.

THANK YOU for being part of this extraordinary event, which has stretched over 1000 km and been carried along by a wonderful partnership between the arts, nature conservation and local communities.

When you get home, please think about what you can do to help protect the amazing landscapes and biodiversity of the Gondwana Link, support the aspirations of First Nations peoples and encourage more exciting arts projects that help bring all these elements together.

Chapter 1

The Start


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