September 3 - 9, 2017: Issue 328


Morning view to the west.


By George Repin 
The Great Ocean Road starting at Torquay, Victoria runs 244 Kms. westward along the south-eastern coast of Australia to finish at Allansford, near Warrnambool, the largest Victorian city along the road. 

Before World War I the rugged south-west coast of Victoria was accessible only by sea or rough bush track.  Accordingly, towards the end of the war the State War Council was asked for funds for the employment of returned servicemen on roads in sparsely populated areas of the Western District of Victoria.  It was envisaged that building a road in this area would connect isolated settlements on the coast, become a transport link for the timber industry and attract tourism, as well as being dedicated as a war memorial for servicemen killed in World War I.

Construction began on 19 September, 1919.  Three thousand returned servicemen worked on the road by the time of its completion in 1932.  Work was performed by hand, using explosives, pick and shovel, wheel barrows and some small machinery.  It was perilous work particularly along sections involving steep coastal mountains.  Several workers died.

The road is two lane (one in each direction).  The speed limit varies between 50 kilometres per hour and 100 kilometres per hour.  It is not immune from natural disasters having been closed by bushfires (notably Ash Wednesday in 1983), washaways during storms and the collapse of overhanging cliffs due to heavy rain. 

From Torquay the road passes Anglesea, Lorne, and Apollo Bay where it leaves the coast and winds through the silent and untouched rainforest slopes of Cape Otway.  At Princetown the road returns to hug the dramatic coastline along the entire length of the Port Campbell National Park with its unusual sandstone rock formations.  The so- called Twelve Apostles (although no longer twelve) are an easily recognisable feature and the Loch Ard Gorge, with its grim story, is easily accessible about 3 minutes drive west of the Twelve Apostles.

View from the Great Ocean Road between Lorne and the Wye River.

The boat harbour of Apollo Bay.

Cray fish pots at Apollo Bay.

On Mait's Walk in the Cape Otway rainforest.

In the Cape Otway rainforest.

Cape Otway lighthouse.

 Coastline to the east of Cape Otway lighthouse.

Afternoon view towards the east

Morning view to the west.

Morning view to the west.

Stairs from the Great Ocean Road provide easy access to the beach at the Loch Ard Gorge and a pathway connects to the eastern side of the gorge where there is a small museum detailing the site’s history and the graves of many of the dead from the clipper ship  Loch Ard.

Loch Ard Gorge.

The gorge is named after the ship which, after a three month voyage from England, bound for Melbourne, ran aground on nearby Muttonbird Island on 1 June, 1878.  Of the fifty-four passengers and crew only two survived – a 19 year old ship’s apprentice, Tom Pearce, and a 19 year old Irish woman, Eva Carmichael, whom Pearce pulled from the water.  Pearce climbed out of the gorge and raised the alarm to local pastoralists.

The shoreline to the east and Muttonbird Island on the right.

Graves in the cemetery at Loch Ard Gorge.

A cave at the end of the eastern arm of Loch Ard Gorge.

The Great Ocean Road was added to the Australian National Heritage list in 2011.  

(Photographs by George Repin in October, 1999)

Previous Reflections by George Repin 

The Nineteen Thirties  Remembering Rowe Street  The Sydney Push  Saturday Night at the Movies  Shooting Through Like A Bondi Tram  A Stop On The Road To Canberra  City Department Stores - Gone and Mostly Forgotten  An Australian Icon - thanks to Billy Hughes  Crossing The Pacific in the 1930s  Hill End  The Paragon at Katoomba  Seafood In Sydney  How Far From Sydney?  Cockatoo Island Over The Years  The Seagull at the Melbourne Festival in 1991  Busby's Bore  The Trocadero In Sydney  Cahill's restaurants Medical Pioneers in Australian Wine Making  Pedal Power and the Royal Flying Doctor Service  Pambula and the Charles Darwin Connection  Gloucester and the Barrington Tops  A Millenium Apart  Have You Stopped to Look?  Gulgong  Il Porcellino  Olympia  Durham Hall  Sargent's Tea Rooms Pie Shops and Street Photographers The Ballet Russes and Their Friends in Australia  Hotels at Bondi  Alma Ata Conference - 1978 Keukenhof - 1954 The Lands Department Building and Yellowblock Sandstone  The Goroka Show - 1958  A Gem On The Quay  Staffa  The Matson Line and Keepsake Menus Kokeshi Dolls  The Coal Mine At Balmain  The Hyde Park Barracks  The Changing Faces Of Sydney From Pounds and Pence to Dollars and Cents Nell Tritton and Alexander Kerensky  Making A Difference In Ethiopia William Balmain  J C Bendrodt and Princes Restaurant Azzalin Orlando Romano and Romano's Restaurant  Waldheim  Alcohol in Restaurants Before 1955  King Island Kelp  The Mercury Theatre   Around Angkor - 1963   Angkor Wat 1963  Costumes From the Ballets Russe Clifton at Kirribilli  Chairman Mao's Personal Physician  The Toby Tavern The MoKa at Kings Cross  The Oceaographic  Museum  in Monaco  The Island of Elba  Russian Fairy Tale Plates  Meteora  Souda Bay War Cemetery Barrow, Alaska  Cloisonné  Tripitaka Koreana Minshuku The Third Man Photographs and Memories  Not A Chagall!  Did You Listen? Did You Ask?  Napier (Ahuriri, Maori) New Zealand  Borobudur  Ggantija Temples Plumes and Pearlshells  Murano  University of Padua  Ancient Puebloe Peoples - The Anasazi   Pula  The Gondolas of Venice Cinque Terre  Visiting the Iban David The Living Desert Bryce Canyon National Park   Aphrodisias   The Divine Comedy Caodaism  Sapa and local Hill People  A Few Children  Cappadocia  Symi Jean-Marie Tjibaou Cultural Centre   Aboriginal Rock Art on Bigge Island    ANZAC Cove (Ari Burnu) 25 April, 1997  Hotere Garden Oputae  Children of the Trobriand Islands  Page Park Market - Rabaul  Rabual   Kotor, Montenegro   Galleries of Photographs I   Lascaux  Galleries of Photographs II   The Cathedral of St. James – Šibenik, Croatia  Ivan Meštrović  - Sculptor   Delphi   Gallery of Photographs III  The Handicrafts of Chiang Mai Raft Point  San Simeon - "Hearst Castle"  Floriade - The Netherlands - 1982  Russian New Year  Mycenae  "Flightseeing" Out Of Anchorage Alaska  The White Pass and Yukon Route  Totem Poles  Tivkin Cemetery  Krka National Park - Croatia   Tavistock Square and the BMA  Orthodox Easter  Wieliczka Salt Mine  A Walk on Santorini  Indonesian Snapshots Ephesus - The Library of Celsus  Ephesus - Some Places Of Interest  Waimea Canyon and the Kalalau Valley United Nations Headquarters 1958  A Miscellany of Flower Images Gardens Bath St. David's In Wales   Zion National Park Nicholas Himona - Artist  Kraków  Lilianfels  Collonges-La-Rouge  Gingerbread Houses   Cape Sounion   Delos  Wroclaw  Colonial Williamsburg  Gruyères   Strasbourg  Coventry Cathedral  The Roman Theatre at Aspendos  Turkish Carpets The Duomo of Orvieto  Rovinj  The City Walls of Dubrovnik Monaco - Snapshots   Bonifacio, Corsica  Autumn in New England USA 

Copyright George Repin 2017. All Rights Reserved.