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Travel – The Great Ocean Road – Australia – Part 2




Read more in the previous post (Travel – the Great Ocean Road – Australia – Part 1)

Some description of the Great Ocean Road:

• This truly great Ocean Road was planned at the end of the First World War.
• This is the time when funds were requested to be provided for returned soldiers to be employed to work on roads.
• These soldiers would work in less populated areas of the Western district.
• This area, the south-west coast of Victoria which is very rugged could be accessed only via sea or rough bush track at the time of World War I.
• Besides being dedicated like a memorial, it had been also envisaged that the road would connect isolated settlements about the coast.
• This road is a crucial transport link for both the timber industry and tourism.
• Surveying for this road which was tentatively titled the South Coast Road began in 1918.
• This road enabled people to visit from Barwon Heads, following the coast west around Cape Otway, and ends near Warrnambool.
• In 1918, the Ocean Road Trust was formed as a private company, managed by the President Howard Hitchcock.
• The organization was able to secure £81,000 in capital from private subscription and borrowing with Hitchcock himself contributing about £3000.
• Money was arranged to be repaid by charging drivers a toll prior to the debt was cleared, and the road would then be gifted to the state.

Construction effort:

• The construction began on 19 September 1919.
• It was constructed by about 3,000 returned servicemen.
• It was built to be a war memorial for fellow servicemen who were killed in World War I.
• An advance survey team progressed through dense wilderness at about 3 kilometres in 30 days.

The soldiers used a variety of tools:
1. Explosives
2. Pick and shovel
3. Wheel barrows
4. Some small machinery

As a part of the overall effort,

• Several workers were killed.
• The last sections which lie along steep coastal mountains were the most tedious sections to work on.
• This was mainly because it was the softest ride for the kids.
• The soldiers were paid 10 shillings and 6 pence for 8 hours a day.
• They were given half-day on Saturdays.
• They used tents for accommodation throughout.
• They used a communal dining marquee and kitchen.
• Food costed about 10 shillings per week.

Despite the difficulty linked to constructing the street, the employees were given access to
1. A piano
2. Gramophone
3. Games
4. Newspapers
5. Magazines on the camps

During the construction period:

• The steamboat Casino became stranded near Cape Patton in 1924 after hitting a reef.
• This forced it to jettison 500 barrels of beer.
• There were also 120 cases of spirits too.
• The workers obtained the cargo, contributing to an unscheduled two-week-long drinking break.

Completion and early usage:

• On 18 March 1922 this section was officially opened with celebrations.
• The section was from Eastern View to Lorne.
• But it was again closed from 10 May 1922 for additional work.
• It reopened again on 21 December in conjunction with tolls to recoup construction costs.
• The price was 2 shillings for motor cars.
• It costed about 10 shillings for wagons with above 2 horses.
• It was payable at Eastern View.
• The section from Lorne to Apollo Bay was completed in November 1932.
• This finally brought the road construction to end.
• The street was officially opened by Victoria’s Lieutenant-Governor named Sir William Irvine.
• The ceremony was held near Lorne’s Grand Pacific Hotel.
• The road subsequently was called by far the largest war memorial.
• Hitchcock had however died of heart disease on 22 August 1932 which was before the completion of the road.
• His car was driven behind the governor’s in the procession on this road during the opening ceremony.
• A memorial was constructed in Hitchcock’s name while travelling at Mount Defiance, near Lorne.
• He is still affectionately considered the daddy of the Road.
• In the face of almost insurmountable odds, the good Ocean Road has materialized from the dream or ‘wild-cat scheme’, into concrete reality.
• In the original state, the path was considered a formidable drive.
• It fits a single vehicle comfortably at once.
• Areas with sheer cliffs are the most hazardous.
• Only a few places allow pulling up for drivers with others to proceed in the opposite direction.
• On 2 October 1936, the street was handed to the State Government and tolls were also removed.
• The Tourist Development Authority gave it the privilege to be one of the world’s great scenic roads, in 1962.
• Furthermore, it had sections widened between Lorne Hotel and also the Pacific Hotel.
• This was done to boost traffic.
• This road is considered a challenging drive even now in spite of several improvements made.
• Over its life, the fantastic Ocean Road has been prone to natural elements.
• The section at Prince town was run down by water due to storms in 1960.
• It also encountered landslides that took place on 11 August 1964 along with 1971, these were both at the closing sections of the trail near Lorne.
• It was also closed in 1962 and 1964 due to bush-fires and was closed in areas with nearby camp-sites.
• In January 2011 a section of the overhanging cliffs collapsed on account of heavy rain.
• In 2011, the street was put into the Australian National Heritage List.

Best time to visit / climate:

• Victoria has a moderate oceanic climate.
• It has 4 seasons.
• Its elevation is at 435 metres above sea level.
• This causes its mean monthly temperatures to tend on average 3 – 4 degrees Celsius.
• Maximum temperatures over the summer period frequently exceed 30.0 °C and often reach above 40.0 °C.
• The mean daily maximum temperature for January is 25.0 °C.
• The mean minimum is 10.8 °C.
• In July, the mean maximum is 10.0 °C.
• Average July minimum is 3.2 °C.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Australia In a Sunburned Country Frommer’s Australia (Frommer’s Color Complete)

Location on Google Maps:


View Larger Map

How to get there:

• Most visitors begin from Melbourne.
• This is about 95 kms away from Torquay.
• One can also fly into Avalon Airport which is located near Geelong instead of Melbourne’s main airport.
• This is nearer to the road.
• There is car hire available here.
• Jetstar and Tiger Airways offer regular flight services from here.
• There are V/Line buses that are operated from Geelong along the Great Ocean Road.
• They go up to Apollo Bay 3 times in a day from Monday to Friday and 2 times on Saturday to Sunday.
• There is a bus from Apollo Bay to Warrnambool every Friday.
• There are also V/Line trains to Warrnambool regularly.

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers):

Hotels at tripadvisor.com
Hotels at wikitravel.org
Hotels at wotif.com
Hotels at ballarat.com

Blogs / Sites:

blogs at wikitravel.org
blogs at visitmelbourne.com
blogs at wikipedia.org
blogs and reviews at visitgreatoceanroad.org.au

Images and photos

images at wikitravel.org
images at visitmelbourne.com
images at wikipedia.org
images at google.com

Videos





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