Saturday, June 28, 2008

great ocean road

We have spent the last 2 days travelling along the Great Ocean Road which runs for 241 km from Torquay to Allansford and is the most visited area in the state of Victoria. It is considered one of the world's most breathtaking scenic routes and is also the world's longest war memorial.

Construction began in 1919, the workforce being returned soldiers from World War One , and the first stage from Anglesea to Apollo Bay was opened in 1932. Almost 3000 returned soldiers worked on the construction of the Great Ocean Road during the 13 years of construction. They lived in camps set up in the bush. The taxing nature of the work meant a high turnover of workers, and officials were not always happy with their efforts. Some Diggers reckoned things were easier on the battle front, while other rejected criticism of their progress on the basis they were told that, after serving their country so valiantly, they could work at their own pace on this project.

The memories of war were probably never that far away. Three places on the road between Apollo Bay and Lorne, Shrapnel Gully,Sausage Gully, and Artillery Rocks are named after places at Gallipoli.

They received 10 shillings and sixpence for an eight-hour day and worked a half-day on Saturdays. Each soldier had a tent, there was a dining marquee and a kitchen. The men paid up to 10 shillings a week for their food.

A pretty amazing road it is too, many stretches so close to the road the breakers wash over it- a surfer's paradise even on a cold winter's day.

It feels very like I imagine travelling Route 1 from LA to San Francisco, a journey to be made in a red Mustang convertible wearing designer shades and listening to 'California Dreaming'. Not entirely sure that driving a Winnebago, wearing a woolly hat and listening to Kylie is quite as sexy but the ocean certainly is.

1 comment:

Jamie said...

Came across your post and just had to say we also had an excellent time touring the Great Ocean Road. Not sure if it was the cold winds we had to slow down on the bends after a hire car came at us on the wrong side of the road. Glad to say no one was hurt, except maybe the George Bush talk-a-like