Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

The World's Largest (and Longest) War Memorial Is in Australia

Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch at Eastern View

The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage-listed 240-kilometer (150 mi) stretch of road along the southeastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Allansford. Built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932 and dedicated to soldiers killed during World War I, the 151-mile-long road is the world's largest war memorial. 

The Great Ocean Road stretches between Torquay and Allansford and lies on the south end of the state of
Victoria in Australia.

Around 3000 ex-soldiers, paid ten shillings per eight-hour shift,  helped to build the Southern Coast Road, and it wasn’t easy. They worked on rough terrain, through treacherous weather and on rocky cliff sides. Unsurprisingly, a few of the soldiers died during construction. Using tools such as explosives, picks, and shovels they carved the road into the cliff side, camping in the bush as they went.

Island Archway

On 18 March 1922, officials opened the first section of road from Eastern View to Lorne. To recoup some of the building costs, travelers had to pay a toll of two shillings for cars and ten shillings for wagons with two or more horses.

The Twelve Apostles

In November 1932, the road had its full official opening, celebrated with a weekend of festivities held near Lorne’s Grand Pacific Hotel. Officially renamed the Great Ocean Road, it was then acknowledged as the longest war memorial in the world. When the State Government acquired the road in 1936, they abolished all tolls.

1930s Toll Ticket

Sources:  Various Australian Tourism Sites and Wikipedia

1 comment:

  1. I am a proud Australian and have travelled on the Great Ocean Road. It is a magnificent road with views equally spectacular!
    The returned WW1 soldiers built many roads, stairways and tracks.