Swifts Creek resident John Butler was a sculptor and poet who wrote “A River's Mark” after the 2008 floods. He had a vision of creating the Poet's Walk consisting of a walking track with six rock cairns dotted along the walk, with each cairn displaying a verse of his poem.
John was active in both Landcare and the Great Alpine Gallery. He passed away before it could be completed and the project lay dormant for many years.
In 2018 the Poets Walk Working Group recommenced work. Its rejuvenation has been a wide reaching collaboration between the East Gippsland Shire Council, Swifts Creek Ensay Landcare Group, Great Alpine Gallery and many other community groups and government agencies.
As well as being a great resource for recreation and fitness it aims to bring a creative focus to the space and mark it as a site for outdoor art projects.
View a PDF of John Butler's poem that inspired Poet's Walk here.
"A River's Mark", by John Butler
2 May 2020
In May 2019 a year ago today the Swifts Creek Poets Walk was launched. Here is a video made after that event. The walk has progressed a lot since then and lots more to come! Funny enough we were in drought when it happened and that particular night was the first rain we had seen for a long time! Same over the last couple of days.
April 2020 update
Even though the fires and now the Corona Virus situation has slowed down some progress there has been activity at the Poets Walk. S.E.S. crews helped to clear some areas for a day while they were up in Swifts Creek during the fires and more recently DEWLP crew did a huge job tidying up and clearing around all the new plantings. The track is looking really nice at the moment so we encourage anyone in the area to use the space to exercise or get some fresh air maintaining social isolation measures.
Regular meetings and working bees have seen the track and river cleared of weeds, old trees and debris and a plan put in place for the future. It now features a series of stone cairns inscribed with John's poem. Very soon we will see the development of a gravel walking track that will follow the Swifts Creek and Tambo River. Maintenance of new plantings will also continue and future art projects will come to fruition.
Ephemeral sculptures were created using biodegradable local plant materials and eco-dyed paper with sculptures based on a river theme and smaller mobile waterbug pieces.
It commenced with river research (Water Bug Blitz) and progressed to waterbug design. Community workshops were then held to construct the sculptures with basket making, eco printing and paper making. This culminated with a parade and celebration launch in May 2019.