Hearing Jaara Jaara Country


Tarhoo_0648Every place is an acoustic space which comes into being through listening.

This website is a digital sanctuary for listening to country in a box ironbark  forest in Central Victoria Australia over the course of a year, 2013. Listening observations are recorded and shared  globally here. This habitat is at once a sound lab and poetic inspiration for soundscape composition and  public performance, to be held at the site in a specially constructed  temporary soniferous garden on November 3, 2013, 4.00 p.m. An electro-acoustic radiophonic piece The Seasons: Jaara Jaara Country is also being made by the artist.

This Jaara Jaara place is 55 acres of  land for wildlife country* with a checkered history of pastoralism, gold, hobby farm and native bush. Over the past 20 years it has been land for wildlife and left to regenerate free of intrusion with the result of regeneration of the box ironbark habitat. It is a natural sound sanctuary.

There is no electricity. This project is being carried out with no impact on the land using sustainable technologies. Each month sounds and sites are posted on this website for you to share this amazing habitat in forest regrowth.

Watch this site.

What does the land tell us through listening to the seasons?

Can we hear the habitat? The trees, wind, frogs, kangaroos, phascogales, antechinus, bats, owlets, honey ants, skinks, eagles, crows, magpies, parrots, mistletoe birds, termites? Can we hear evolution of this place, the earliest inhabitants, The first Australians, their weaving, hunting and fishing traps, their trading skills, their cultural knowledge practices, the wood whittling and carving, the spear making, the possum cloaks, the baskets, the words, the music, the babies. Can we hear the first songs made here accumulating in the dreamtime for over 40,000 years?  The Cosmos, the shifting time/spaces of the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon, the comets the other stars? What is the human/land connection? The woods, the people who cut them to burn, to make mines to heat water, to clear land.  The gold, the rock crushers, the panners, the industrial mines of copper and tin. The kangaroo tracks, becoming   dirt, horses, bitumen roads, cars, the motorcycle joy riders, the hot rodders, the excavators. The pastures, the sheep, the orchards, the ephemeral canvas towns, the instrument makers, the car enthusiasts, the international  flight paths. New and old sounds collide. Imported rabbits and foxes, blackberries, the internet and phone towers? In the past 230 years what sounds have come and gone? What do we hear now in the forest regrowth corridor?

The stone, the tree and water, undergo specific investigation. Hydrophones, sound devices machines, dummy head surround sound, underwater video cameras, I phones attempt to capture an audio visual snapshot. Yet nothing beats being in place for situational listening* over the long term to know country*, as the first Australians did. The constantly changing soundscape is a barometer of the health and culture of a country.

signphotoThanks to Uncle Brien Nelson, Judith Perry (Uncle Brien’s Partner), Aunty Lynne Warren (weaving), Heather Bowe-Dennis, Stephen Morey (linguists), Jim Atkins (sound engineer), Fay White (singer song writer for lyrics permission), Curtis Moyes (Greenbrain media), National Film and Sound Archive for the loan of a sound devices machine, Minako Kanda (web/production assistant), Arthur McDevitt for sharing the site and the shed for the duration of this project.

PHOTOGRAPHY Ros Bandt, Minako Kanda, Arthur McDevitt, Curtis Moyes, Liz Martin.

Thanks to
1. Jay and Poh from Naam Pla Thai Kitchen, Castlemaine for sourcing Frog percussion.
2. Jeannie and team from Five Flags Hotel Campbells Creek for letting us recharge equipment during the project and warm fires and food during winter.
3. Castlemaine Garden Festival Committee for helpful advice.

The Australia Council for a Project Fellowship. The City of Yarra for assisting the Floating Glass project to exhibit and perform the digital glass forest, interpreting the bird song of this area into an immersive sound installation and performance, Library Artspace Gallery, North Fitzroy January 30 2013.

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Coucil for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.


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Ros Bandt is one of Australia’s first pioneering sound artists. Her environmental sound art comprises sound installations, original musical instruments, sound sculptures, sound playgrounds, spatial music systems  and live  performances. She is a composer of site specific sounding artworks and has recently installed Sydney Road, the Yerebatan Sarayi,  world heritage site in Istanbul, the Pallio Frourio in Corfu, and Floating Glass in North Fitzroy. She has been commissioned by international radio stations for her electro-acoustic sounding artworks in Europe Asia and America. Her work in sound heritage and endangered sounds and her online  sound designs in public space in Australia 2000-7  has earned her the  Australian national award for sound heritage by the National Film and Sound Archive in 2012, The Fanny Cochrane Smith Award. She is a founding member of the World Forum of Acoustic Ecology. She has a PhD in musicology from Monash University  and is honorary fellow in the School of History and Philosophical Studies at Melbourne University.

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