It is Turtle Muster time — the annual gathering of the turtles.
A gathering of not just any turtle, but of the special broad-shelled, long-necked turtle — Bayaderra.
So from everywhere these turtles are emerging.
Tiny turtles, curious turtles, shy turtles, patterned turtles and turtles with shells adorned with intricate designs.
They are coming together in groups, in pairs or on their own, but they have one thing in common: their final destination.
The turtles are headed for Kaiela Arts in Shepparton.
And they are coming with a message — a message whispered from the mists of the Dreaming — a message of connection, of sharing, of family.
This message talks to us of water — that precious element that binds us all together.
The life-giving water provided by the Kaiela (Goulburn) and the Dungala (Murray).
Water that has sustained generations that go so far back it is hard to grasp that span of time.
It is a story of the circle of life and caring for our environment — water that must be protected and country that must be carefully tended, so we can continue to share it with the wider family of creatures with whom we co-exist.
But there is another, quieter message.
The story of Bayaderra offers us a glimpse into something more.
It is an opportunity to learn more about the oldest living culture on the planet — the ancient history of our country that makes Australia so unique and the history that is part of the heritage of us all.
Like the broad-shelled turtle, which is endangered in Victoria, this heritage is the responsibility of everyone.
The more we learn about it the more we are in a position to sustain and protect it.
So be curious — see what you can find out about this special messenger.
As one turtle would say to another, ‘‘Stick your neck out’’.
Go along to Kaiela Arts.
Make a turtle with one of their artists.
You’ll be surprised at what you discover.
Kaiela Arts’ annual Turtle Muster is on until Saturday, June 30.
Fridays in the lead-up to the muster are special turtle-making days and everyone is invited regardless of age.
Phone 5821 9842 to book your place. Kaiela Arts is at 137-139 High St, Shepparton.
Kaiela Arts can also deliver Turtle making workshops and information sessions to schools, community and corporategroups, and organisations during the three months of the Muster.
For more information and bookings for turtle-making workshops, phone Kaiela Arts on 5821 9842.