Dance to the Anticlinal Fold is a spoken-word walking tour centred on the Anticlinal Fold, an idiosyncratic and locally celebrated geological formation in downtown Castlemaine. It was a proud part of the 2019 Castlemaine State Festival, with 6 sold-out public performances and one school performance taking place in late March 2019.
About the show
Dance to the Anticlinal Fold considers time and landscape from geological, historical and Indigenous perspectives, featuring the knowledge and expertise of Indigenous Elder Uncle Rick Nelson, historian Robyn Annear and geologist Clive Willman in partnership with the poetry of yours truly.
The idea for the show started with a poem and a zine.
When we first moved to Chewton we noticed a series of street signs around Castlemaine directing people to something called an “Anticlinal Fold”. Eventually curiosity got the best of us and we followed them. We found an old brown plaque mounted above a curved outcropping of rock.
The plaque explained, in a verbose and roundabout kind of way, that this kind of rock formation was indicative of the presence of gold and as such should be celebrated as part of a historic gold-mining town’s history.
I’ve always been a sucker for weird little touristy things, so finding one in my own home town was a pleasure. Eventually my low-level musings about giving the Anticlinal Fold its own anthem turned into an actual poem, which became a little zine that I started leaving in batches beside the fold itself.
(As it turns out, there’s also an anticlinal fold just down the road from my house, so when I found out about it I modified the poem to fit a Chewtonian setting, whipped up a second zine and started leaving copies beside that one as well.)
Where to find the zines
Both Anticline zines are housed in makeshift dispensaries deposited close by the features whose virtues they extol and extemporise upon. They are free to anyone who cares to take one.
If you’re in the neighbourhood, the Castlemaine Anticline booklet can be found just near the corner of Lyttleton and Urquhart Streets in Castlemaine. Click here to open the location in Google Maps.
Or if you prefer something a little less urban, the Chewton Anticline booklet can be found beside the railway tracks just down from the bridge over the tracks on Railway Street in Chewton. Click here to open the location in Google Maps.
If, however, you find yourself tragically unable to visit either site, you can download a copy of Anticline to print and assemble yourself:
Or, if you prefer, you can also contact me by leaving a comment on this page and we can sort something out about posting you one.
Meantime here’s a short excerpt from the poem to whet your appetite (whet. like a stone. get it?)
A billion years out of the sun,
they found it when
the road went through
the find for what it was
and celebrated with a plaque
the masses on
a minor point
of geological truth.
Behold! The anticlinal fold!
A bell curve carved
into the earth:
proof that even
rock is never still.
Move to the Anticlinal Fold.
Dance to the Anticlinal Fold.
Put your hand on it—
you can feel it in your bones.
Dance to the Anticlinal Fold has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body, and by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria.