|List||National Heritage List|
|Legal Status||Listed place (07/04/2011)|
|Place File No||2/01/140/0020|
|Summary Statement of Significance|
The Great Ocean Road and Scenic Environs is
an outstanding and iconic coastal journey. Stories and scenery along the road
and coastline help us understand Australia’s history, prehistory and
ongoing coastal processes.
Constructed by workers including more than 3000 returned servicemen as a utilitarian memorial to First World War servicemen, the Great Ocean Road is a significant reminder of the participation of Australian servicemen in the First World War, the Australian community’s appreciation of their service, and the support provided for the continuing welfare of servicemen upon returning to Australia. Archaeological evidence of the repatriation workers’ camps has potential to reveal details of the living and working conditions and experiences of sustenance workers in remote locations during the inter-war period.
The Ocean Road Planning Scheme was a pioneering planning mechanism which enabled an integrated approach across four local shires to protect and preserve the exceptional scenery of the region. The Scheme initiated processes which led to an evolution in the protection of land in Australia for its scenic environmental value.
The frequently changing diverse landscapes and views from the Great Ocean Road have made it an exemplar route of scenic journey, and Australia’s most famous coastal drive. The route was designed to follow the lines of nature and facilitate public access to this spectacular coastline, creating a flowing, serpentine journey that hugs the coast and provide views of diverse scenery. Its viewpoints, scenic lookouts and unobtrusively engineered roadworks allow a natural aesthetic to dominate. The Great Ocean Walk provides further public access to areas of coastline where the road diverts inland.
The powerful, spectacular and distinctive landscapes of the Great Ocean Road and Scenic Environs are highly valued by the Australian community and international tourists for their aesthetic qualities and have inspired visual artists, writers, musicians and theatre troupes. The geological formations from the Twelve Apostles to the Bay of Islands are widely recognised, and are capable of evoking strong emotional responses.
The geomorphological features of the Port Campbell Limestone Coast are rare in their diversity, and it is the definitive place in Australia to observe limestone geomorphology and coastal erosion processes on rocky coasts. The Cretaceous coast of the Otways displays geomorphological processes that are contributing to research into the origins of significant shore platforms that illustrate the environment prior to the breakup of Gondwana.
The Otway Ranges Coastal Cretaceous site contains rare polar dinosaur fossil sites, including Dinosaur Cove, Australia’s most famous polar dinosaur fossil site and a site which helped popularise fossils and dinosaurs in Australia. Fossils from later periods are also being discovered in the dunes around Bells Beach. Fossil finds extracted from these sites continue to yield important information about Australia’s prehistory, and processes of erosion may lead to further discoveries along this coastline in the future.
Recreational tourism was among the purposes for the road’s construction, and the cultural and natural tourism experiences it offers, including the iconic Twelve Apostles and the treacherous ‘Shipwreck Coast’, are greatly valued by the Australian community. The iconic Bells Beach is valued by Australia’s surfing community for its place in Australian surfing. It was the world’s first Surfing Recreation Reserve, and remains the location of the world’s longest running international surfing carnival and home to one the most prestigious trophies in surfing.
The Great Ocean Road and Scenic Environs has a special association with a number of people with importance to Australian history. William Thomas Bartholomew McCormack, founding member of the Victorian Country Roads Board, supervised the construction of the Great Ocean Road and was responsible for the practical and aesthetic design of the famous route. The Great Ocean Road may never have been completed if not for the enthusiasm and determination of Howard Hitchcock, businessman, philanthropist, and Mayor of Geelong from 1917 to 1922. Eminent landscape designer Edna Walling’s experiences of the environment on the Great Ocean Road from the 1920s-40s were a powerful influence behind her wide-reaching advocacy for the in-situ conservation of native plants, particularly along roadsides, and their judicious use in garden design. The Great Ocean Road is also associated with the more than 3000 returned servicemen who, through the repatriation works program, were employed to construct the road, and took great pride in their involvement in creating an enduring memorial to their fellow servicemen.
The Great Ocean Road and Scenic Environs is located on the west coast of Victoria. The coastline abuts the dynamic ocean swells of Bass Strait, and the hinterland displays a diverse natural environment including temperate rainforest, heathlands, wetlands, sheer cliffs, ancient rock stacks and stunning beaches, which combined provide a magnificent aesthetic landscape and seascape. The panoramic vistas from designated lookout points and as viewed whilst travelling along the road are exceptional. The GOR itself is a serpentine route which abuts the rocky coast in many areas, particularly between Lorne and Apollo Bay, and winds though the hills of the Otway Ranges. The GOR commences at Torquay and continues westward to Warrnambool; the boundary of the assessed area ceases at the junction of the GOR with the Princes Highway near Allansford, a journey of 242 kilometres.
The road itself is a two-lane winding bitumen structure with frequent road side pull-overs at strategic view points, and slow vehicle turnouts. For most of its length the road is adjacent to the coast, with the 75 kilometre stretch from The Arch at Eastern View to Apollo Bay a most dramatic segment of curvilinear road hugging the cliffs. It passes through or is adjacent to landscapes with a diversity of land forms and vegetation that include natural cliffs, exposed rocky road cuts, some with evidence of being made by hand, beaches, steeply sloped hills, numerous rivers and river estuarine waters, rain forests, shrubby forests, woodlands, coastal heathlands, interspersed with cultural features of open grasslands predominantly with dairy cattle, plantations, hamlets and several coastal townships.
The memorials exist as key features along the road; The Arch at Eastern View is a major commemorative feature with its collection of plaques, the bronze sculpture of repatriation road workers and modern landscaping. Mount Defiance Lookout is an historic view point with a memorial stone wall and associated historic stone retaining walls and culverts.
Camps that housed the workers who constructed the road were located along the length of the road, typically on flat land near a source of fresh water such as a creek. No above ground evidence of these camps can be seen, although it is possible that subsurface archaeological evidence remains in situ and may provide valuable evidence of the lives of inter-war sustenance workers. Such camp sites are now believed to be predominantly located on private land.
Famous shipwrecks on Victoria’s west coast during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries include the Schomberg (1855), Marie Gabrielle (1869), Loch Ard (1878), Eric the Red (1880), WB Godfrey (1891), Fiji (1891), and Falls of Halladale (1908). All shipwrecks off the coast of Victoria wrecked more than 75 years ago are protected historic shipwrecks, and are listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. Some of the victims of these tragic events were buried nearby, and their graves are also protected sites. The graves of the Loch Ard shipwreck victims are located within Port Campbell National Park, the grave of a victim of the Fiji wreck is on the cliff top at Moonlight Head (in the Great Otway National Park).
A memorial grave stone for two mariners who drowned when trying to salvage cargo from the WB Godfrey shipwreck is located in coastal ti-tree adjacent to the GOR just east of Lorne. The graves of the drowned men were discovered by the repatriation workers when constructing the GOR; the path of the road was not diverted. The memorial and grave stone is now located within the Great Otway National Park (formerly the Angahook-Lorne State Park).
The Loch Ard shipwreck site is located in the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park, close to Mutton Bird Island. The remains of the Fiji and Marie Gabrielle are dispersed on the beach and exposed reef at Wreck Beach (within the Great Otway National Park). The rocky platforms around the base of Cape Otway, and some of the nearby creek mouths (all within the Great Otway National Park) are home to the scattered remains of Eric the Red.
The shipwrecks Antares (1914), Children (1838) and Falls of Halladale are all located in the Bay of Islands Coastal Park, and the sites of the Schomberg (1855) and Newfield (1892) are located in the waters adjacent to the Port Campbell National Park near Peterborough. The Grange (1858) is located in the Marengo Reefs Marine Sanctuary near Apollo Bay. Two wrecks, the Inverlochy (1902) and the Naiad (1881) are within the Point Addis Marine National Park.
The coastal geomorphology of the place includes the Port Campbell Limestone Coast, Cape Otway and the Cretaceous Coast between Lorne and Moonlight Head.
Short and Woodroffe (2009) describe the geomorphology of the GOR as follows:
The 260-kilometre-long Great Ocean Road, located between Anglesea and Warrnambool in Victoria, is truly one of the great coastal drives in the world. The main reason is that it traverses a predominantly steep rocky coast that provides spectacular views, and culminates in the rapidly eroding limestone and marls of the Port Campbell National Park, which is best exemplified by the Twelve Apostles. The coast consists of two parts, the eastern Anglesea to Cape Otway section, where the road hugs the coast and which is composed of Jurassic-age sedimentary rocks, including horizontally bedded sandstone, siltstones and conglomerates, and the western Cape Otway to Warrnambool section, which is predominantly Tertiary limestone and marls.
On the eastern Anglesea coast, the sedimentary rocks are eroded from prominent rock platforms backed by steep cliffs, and cut by occasionally narrow, V-shaped valleys. The road winds around the cliffs and into and out of the valleys. The softer limestone of the Port Campbell coast, which bears the full force of the Southern Ocean swell, is eroding far more rapidly (1-20 millimetres per year on average) forming steep, at times overhanging, cliffs up to 100 metres high. The rapid retreat also leaves sea stacks such as the Twelve Apostles and arches such as the former London Bridge. Both of these iconic landforms have undergone major collapses in the past 20 years. London Bridge comprised a double arch, but the inner arch collapsed on 15 January 1990. Similarly, the collapse of one of the sea stacks within the Twelve Apostles occurred on 3 July 2005, resulting in fewer ‘apostles’ left standing.
Mark Dickson’s paper for the expert workshop on Rocky Coasts describes the geomorphological processes of the area as follows:
“The 50 km coastline between Childers Cove and Glenample consists of steep cliffs up to 70m high cut into soft Port Campbell limestone…. Such [rocky coast] morphologies are best developed in relatively resistant rocks that support near-vertical cliffs, but where discontinuities (e.g. joints, bedding planes) result in differential erosion along lines of weakness.”
“The progressive erosion of a headland can produce a sequence of erosional morphologies. For instance, a line of weakness in a protruding headland can be initially eroded forming an arch, but continued widening of that arch can lead to roof collapse, and the subsequent formation of a stack, which is eventually depleted leaving a patch of reef near sea level.”
“The Cape Otway to Port Campbell shoreline is exposed to high wave energy from prevailing south-westerly ocean storm and swell waves that pass across a narrow (~60km) continental shelf… such that there is a reasonably rapid rate of development of the rocky coast features… huge waves break against the near-vertical cliffs during storms and have cut out ledges 3-6m wide along the bedding planes at various levels up to 60m above the high tide mark. The speed of cliff retreat has preserved only one fragment of Late Pleistocene landscape at Two Mile Bay, where limestone reef attenuates nearshore wave energy.”
The GOR runs alongside rocky outcrops exposing the geological diversity of the Artillery Rocks area with strange rock concretions of sandstone, quartz, feldspar and shale (Cousland 2007:59). The Cumberland River and Mount Defiance Lookout expose sandstone cuts.
Within the forests a short distance from the road are steep sided valleys, and fast flowing streams with many waterfalls and cascades. Forested hills extending to a height of 675 metres at Mount Cowley provide much of the backdrop to the north of the GOR while the ocean waters provide the back drop to the south.
The place supports a wide range of plant communities, ranging from tall wet eucalypt forest to coastal heathlands.
Great Otway National Park includes wet sclerophyll forest dominated by mountain ash (Eucalyptus regnans) and messmate (E. obliqua), sometimes in association with manna gum (E. viminalis), mountain grey gum (E. cypellocarpa) or blue gum (E. globulus). Cool temperate rainforest dominated by myrtle beech (Nothofagus cunninghamii) and blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) also occurs, mostly in riparian situations. The dry sclerophyll forests are dominated by messmate, brown stringy bark (E. baxteri), and sometimes narrow leaf peppermint (E. radiata), usually with a heathy understorey. Coastal cliffs and bluffs are generally covered with shrublands including white correa (Correa alba), boobialla (Myoporum insulare), coast everlasting (Ozothamnus turbinatus) and coast beard-heath (Leucopogon parviflorus). The wetter forests of the Otways differ from those of eastern Victoria in that they are more similar to the wet forests of Tasmania, and include some species that are common in Tasmania but restricted in Victoria.
The vegetation of the dryer western coastal parts of the place in Port Campbell National Park, such as near the Twelve Apostles, is mostly tussock grasslands dominated by tussock-grass (Poa poiformis), cushion bush (Calocephalus brownii) and coast saw-sedge (Gahnia trifida), and further inland, shrublands dominated by coast beard-heath, coast daisy bush (Olearia axillaris) and coast everlasting.
More details are available at the RNE listings on the Australian Heritage Database (AHDB) – see links below:
Otway National Park and Adjacent Areas
Port Campbell National Park
Anglesea Heath/Bald Hills Area
Angahook-Lorne State Park and adjacent areas
Known Aboriginal heritage places within the area include shell middens on the coast and stone artefact scatters and some isolated artefacts on the adjoining plains, forested hinterland and uplands (Freslov 1998; Goulding 2006a & 2006b). These probably represent a small percentage of what actually exists (Parks Victoria & DSE 2008). Aside from archaeological sites, places of importance to Aboriginal people also include massacre sites, song lines, stories and family links to places (Parks Victoria & DSE 2007).
Outside the Otway Ranges little site documentation has been undertaken with the exception of archaeological excavations at Glen Aire Shelter, Seal Point and Moonlight Head (Goulding 2006a & 2006b). However, occupation sites along the coastline are evidenced by middens, artefact scatters, isolated artefacts, scarred trees and rockshelters (Russell & McNiven 1995; Cane 1998) with a fish trap at Loutit Bay and an ochre quarry at Point Addis (Cane 1998). The coastline in the Port Campbell area was almost inaccessible to Aboriginal people, except where they had cut steps into the soft limestone cliffs to access the shoreline for fishing (Cane 1998; Parks Victoria 1998).
The coastal zone of western Victoria in the vicinity of the GOR encompasses the traditional country of a number of Aboriginal people, including: the Wathaurung people of the Geelong area; the Gulidjan whose land extends from the Gellibrand River to Colac and the lakes and wetlands beyond; the Gadubanud (Katubanut) whose land extends east of the Gellibrand River and centres around the Otway Ranges; the Girai Wurrung (Kirrae Wurrung), west of the Gellibrand River to Warrnambool; and the Wada Wurrung (Watha Wurrung), north of Painkalac Creek (Clark 1990; Goulding 2006a; Victorian Environmental Assessment Council 2004; Parks Victoria & DSE 2008). This area continues to be of economic, spiritual and cultural importance to these Aboriginal communities (Freslov 1998).
The earliest evidence of Aboriginal occupation is dated to the mid to late Holocene, approximately 5 000 years ago (Goulding 2006a). Aboriginal groups exploited the resource rich areas on the coastal margins and wetlands, moving seasonally between the coast and the productive basalt plains of the hinterland (Goulding 2006a; Parks Victoria 1999). Coastal resources were central to Aboriginal economies in western Victoria and some sites demonstrate an increasing trend towards intensified exploitation of marine resources, higher population densities and social change during the late Holocene (Cane 1998).
Indigenous Contact History
One of the earliest Europeans to encounter Aboriginal people in the area was William Buckley who escaped from the Sorrento settlement in December 1803 and lived with the Wada Wurrung Balug people for over thirty years (Clark 1990; Goulding 2006a). In the account of his adventures, Buckley notes that his first permanent resting place was at Nooraki (Mount Defiance) where he constructed a shelter and stayed for several months (Morgan & Flannery 2002: 26). The Wada Wurrung Balug accepted Buckley as one of their own and he was given a wife to whom he had a daughter (Clark 1990; Tipping 1966). In 1835, after spending 32 years living in a hut near the mouth of Bream Creek, William Buckley surrendered himself to a visiting party of European settlers and received a pardon from Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur (Tipping 1966; Morgan 1852).
Aboriginal people played an important role in opening up the region for Europeans. In the Otway Ranges Aboriginal people acted as guides and translators (Parks Victoria and DSE 2008). However, conflict was commonplace between European settlers and Aboriginal people in the Western District. In 1839 the Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society established Bunting Dale mission on the Barwon River, one of the first mission stations to operate in Victoria. The location of the mission at the intersection of three tribal boundaries was associated with conflict between Aboriginal groups and was the primary reason for its closure just 12 years later (Niewójt 2006).
There was continuing violent interactions between European settlers and Aboriginal people including the Aire River massacre of 1846 (Clark 1995). As a result of a number of massacres the Board for the Protection of Aborigines petitioned to establish further reserves and stations for the protection of Aboriginal people (Goulding 2006b). These included the Framlingham Mission (1865-1916) on Girai Wurrung land near Warrnambool. When the mission was closed many people were moved to the Lake Tyers Mission in Gippsland. While some stayed on at Framlingham Reserve there was no government support and people survived on limited rations and good-will (Goulding 2006b; Clark 1990; ABC n.d.). In 1971 the Aboriginal community were given ownership of the land at Framlingham (Goulding 2006b; Clarke 1990:18; VAEA & ABS nd).
Shipping and shipwrecks
Bass Strait off the southern coast of Victoria was the primary shipping route between Europe and the Australian colonies during the nineteenth century. Sailing ships were said to be ‘threading the eye of the needle’ when entering the treacherous strait, with its narrow gap and the small islands scattered between Cape Otway and Tasmania.
Nearly 800 ships are believed to have wrecked off the coast of Victoria and only 40% have been located. The treacherous west coast is home to more than 100 shipwrecks, and these events in the region between Peterborough to Moonlight Head, including Port Campbell National Park, have caused it to be labelled the Shipwreck Coast. The tales of 45 of these wrecks are told in the Historic Shipwreck Trail that runs from Moonlight Head to the South Australian border.
There was a great loss of life particularly from the Loch Ard with only two survivors of the 54 passengers and crew. The coastal steamer Casino sank in 1932 at Apollo Bay and the first US marine casualty of World War II, the merchant navy vessel City of Rayville struck a German mine in Bass Strait on 8 November 1940 and sank off Cape Otway.
Shipwrecks in isolated communities were seen as beneficial to the local economy for the commercial goods that became available and later for tourists attracted by the romance of the stories (Fielding 2003). A 1908 photograph by Allan C. Green of the wreck of the Falls of Halladale near Peterborough shows picnickers by the cliff, watching the ship meet its inevitable fate.
The wrecking of the Loch Ard is particularly famous and is locally significant for the associated cemetery near Loch Ard Gorge, and for the association with nearby Glenample Homestead. Also famous are the hundreds of artefacts that were recovered during early salvage operations at the wreck site, such as the magnificent Minton ceramic Loch Ard Peacock, and during SCUBA diving activities almost 100 years later. Many of these artefacts are on display at the Port Campbell Visitor Information Centre and at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village.
The tragic wrecking of the Cataraqui (Australia’s worst peace-time civilian shipwreck) in 1844 was the catalyst behind the construction of the Cape Otway Lighthouse. The lighthouse has operated continuously since 1848 and is the oldest surviving original lighthouse on mainland Australia, and Australia’s third oldest lighthouse (after Tasmania’s Iron Pot Lighthouse, built in 1832, and Macquarie Lighthouse in NSW, which was rebuilt in 1883). Cape Otway Lighthouse is located within the Great Otway National Park, and is included in the Victorian Heritage Register (H1222) and the Register of the National Estate (Place ID 3690).
The most long-standing maritime story associated with the area is the Mahogany Ship – the remains of a ship built of dark timber that has been suggested to be mahogany, possibly of early Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch or Chinese origin, wrecked near Warrnambool. Sightings of the wreck were recorded in 1836 and during the 1880s, encouraging history buffs and academics to search for the location of the wreck since it was first reported. It is most likely that the wreck was an early nineteenth century American whaling vessel, but its location has not been discovered.
Post-Contact Settlement History
Dr George Bass set out to determine if there was a strait between New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land in 1797. In 1798 he travelled with Captain Matthew Flinders on the Norfolk to prove it was a navigable passage. It was subsequently named Bass Straight (Australian Dictionary of Biography).
As commander of the survey vessel Lady Nelson in 1800, Captain James Grant was assigned the task of passing through Bass Straight (Australian Dictionary of Biography Online). Grant charted various landmarks during his subsequent assignment to survey the area in 1801, and named Cape Otway after British naval captain Sir Albany Otway. Cape Marengo, near Apollo Bay, was named by French explorer Nicolas Baudin when he passed through Bass Strait aboard Le Géographe on his voyage of scientific discovery in 1802 (Anderson & Cahir 2003).
Sealers and whalers are known to have been active on this part of the Australian coastline since the early nineteenth century, but apart from whale carcasses little evidence of their visits was left behind (Anderson & Cahir 2003).
In the 1820s and 1830s the coast was visited by whalers and sealers from Tasmania, with sealer William Dutton establishing a whaling station at Portland in 1829, and the Hentys following in 1834 to establish a pastoral settlement – they also set up a whaling station and a boat building yard just east of Portland (near the current town of Allestree). Other whalers sought shelter in the area of Apollo Bay around the same period (Anderson & Cahir 2003). A wave of exploration and settlement spread down the south-west coast of Victoria following the founding of Melbourne in 1835 and the subsequent settlement of Geelong.
In the mid-1840s several attempts to travel overland to Cape Otway were made, with little success. In 1846, Assistant Surveyor George Smythe mapped the rugged section between Cape Otway and Urquhart Bluff and William Urquhart surveyed the region back towards Geelong, setting boundaries for the County of Grant.
From the 1840s, pastoralists took up large runs behind the Otway Ranges, and timbercutters settled around Louttit Bay (later to become Lorne) and Apollo Bay (formerly Middleton) in the 1850s. Difficulties with transportation saw settlement decline after 1864, but when tracts of forest were made available for selection in 1869, 1884 and 1890 settlers began returning to the region.
Fishermen began earning their living from the bountiful ocean waters and settlements commenced at Aireys Inlet, Anglesea, Eastern View, Fairhaven, Bellbrae, Lorne and Apollo Bay.
Glenample Homestead, established in 1869 by pioneer Hugh Gibson and located adjacent to the Twelve Apostles was an early pastoral settlement and Gibson and his family were involved in the rescue and recuperation of the survivors of the Loch Ard shipwreck (Parks Victoria 2009; Crocker and Davies 2005 Vol 3:20). The homestead is within the bounds of the Port Campbell National Park, and is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register (H0392, Victorian Heritage Database) and the Register of the National Estate (place ID 3696).
Great Ocean Road History
The 1850s timber harvesting around Louttit Bay and Apollo Bay initially relied upon the sea for transport of goods in and out of the settlements. The small coastal settlements were isolated due to the continuing difficulty accessing them by road, so shipping companies including the Belfast and Koroit Steam Navigation Co and the Western Steam Navigation Company were integral to their survival. The companies ran small coastal traders like the SS Champion and SS Julia Percy as the region’s primary form of passenger and cargo transport.
Even after the construction of the GOR with its dangerous and slow course, Victoria’s western district townships continued to rely upon coastal vessels such as the SS Casino, its short-lived replacement the SS Coramba, and later the SS Wannon well into the middle of the twentieth century.
By 1859 a telegraph line had been established between Geelong and the Cape Otway Lighthouse, following the coast (Cecil & Carr 1988). A bridle track followed the same route, connecting Lorne (Louttit Bay) and Apollo Bay, and was upgraded to "a track" status in 1872. This was the primary inland access route for the isolated towns on the Otway coast. An account of the state of this track in 1874 by the mining engineer R.A.F. Murray, described the remoteness of the coast, the dangers to vessels and the poor condition of the path (Alsop 1982).
During the 1870s, the resorts at Lorne and Apollo Bay were developed and mostly serviced by sea transport although a rough track was developed between Apollo Bay and Cape Otway and Johanna.
Anderson and Cahir quote The Argus in 1891 when the WB Godfrey wrecked east of Lorne to illustrate the inaccessibility of the region:
“The route for horsemen lies over precipitous ranges, where the tracks are few and almost indistinguishable, and where the methods of equine locomotion resolve themselves into a succession of slides and scrambles” (Anderson & Cahir 2003:10).
In 1908 a Lorne resident, E.H. Lascelles, founder of a Geelong wool firm, suggested opening of a coastal road to the seascapes and ocean views but it was eight years before discussions commenced between the State War Council and the CRB in 1916, to find road projects which could provide employment for returned servicemen (Alsop 1982). One of the road projects suggested by William Calder, Chairman of the board, was the South Coast Road which he described as being ‘somewhat along the lines of the Coast Road constructed by the Highway Commission of California, which has proved such an enormous asset to the State of California by the attraction of tourists from all parts of America’. Calder further noted that ‘along the whole route the scenery is magnificent and extremely varied and that it would be a fine asset to this State by attracting tourists from all parts of Australia’ (ibid:8-9).
After these deliberations, the Great Ocean Road Scheme was proposed in 1917 and formally launched at Colac on 22 March 1918 (Cecil & Carr 1988:71). It was anticipated that the road would cost ₤150,000, and Calder had previous stated that the CRB had ₤100,000 per year available for maintenance on roads (Alsop 1982:8).
The road was to start at Barwon Heads following the coast through Torquay to Apollo Bay, then inland through the Otway Ranges to Princetown, then again along the coast to Peterborough. At Nirranda it would join an existing road to Warrnambool. Initial surveys for the route of the road took place in 1918, and construction officially commenced in 1919.
Howard Hitchcock, Geelong Mayor and businessman publicly advocated Calder’s proposal for the 'modern coastal highway' on the basis that apart from providing work for returned servicemen, opening up the area for timber getting, and providing a means for getting produce to market, it would be a memorial to the fallen and surviving servicemen who had fought in the war. Hitchcock anticipated that the Australian Government would have difficulty re-skilling and providing employment for the returned servicemen, and vigorously pursued the opportunity to turn the construction of the GOR into a repatriation works program. The GOR was the combined vision of Calder, Hitchcock and McCormack, and Hitchcock was made the inaugural President of the Great Ocean Road Trust in 1918 (Rowe 2002).
Although there were some existing sections of road linking towns on the west coast, the majority of the GOR was constructed between 1919 and 1932. The new sections were Anglesea to Big Hill; Lorne to Apollo Bay; Apollo Bay to Glen Aire; Lower Gellibrand to Princetown; and Port Campbell to Nirranda. More than 3,000 returned servicemen laboured on surveying the track and blasting and carting rock. They used picks and shovels to chisel the steep hillsides and level the roadway, and stayed in numerous camps along the road from Eastern View to Hordern Vale, always nearby a source of fresh water. Camps were established at Grassy Creek, Big Hill and Wye River early in the works, and some were still occupied by 1933. Some camps accommodated around 100 men, while others, such as one by the St George River, had only 20 men in 1933.
Information regarding the length of occupation of each of the camps along the GOR has not been located, but historical evidence suggests that some may have been occupied from 1920 until at least 1933.
Wooden mess huts, galvanised drying rooms and kitchens were established at the sites (The Argus 26/11/1932). The camps were serviced by vegetable plots and cooks and there are records of pianos being supplied for entertainment (Fagetter 2000). Food was provided at cost, and some workers recalled that fish and rabbits supplemented the rations (Grant, pers. comm. 26/8/09).
Research by Apollo Bay and District Historical Society (Stuckey, pers. comm., 29/11/09) indicates that camps were located at Eastern View, Stony Creek (Lorne), Grassy Creek, Big Hill Creek, Sheoak River, St Georges River, Cumberland River, Cape Patton (Ramsden Farm), Wye River, Kennett River, Skenes Creek, Glen Aire, Lavers Hill and Hordern Vale. Images of some of the camps are held by the State Library of Victoria, and some documentation may exist in the records of the CRB and in private collections.
Approximately half of the camps were related directly to works run by the CRB, and the others to works run by the Great Ocean Road Trust, depending on the section of road the workers were constructing. While some of the camps may be located in areas that have been impacted by later developments, such as the camp site at Cumberland River, others are likely to be relatively undisturbed due to their remote locations and dense vegetation.
The Great Ocean Road Trust paid for a significant component of the works, anticipating they would cost ₤150,000 (equivalent to an astounding $10 million in today’s currency). Through the CRB and the Repatriation Department, the state and federal governments provided assistance to the Great Ocean Road Trust; despite these affiliations, the Trust relied heavily on fundraising activities, the generous donations of private individuals and sales of adjacent land to acquire sufficient funds for the works.
The GOR was originally a private road with a tollway, and tolls were collected at Cathedral Rock, Grassy Creek and Point Castries (Mary Sheehan & Associates 2003: 38). The original 1922 toll gate at Grassy Creek was relocated in 1926 to The Springs, 1 km on the Lorne side of Cathedral Rock. A toll was also collected from 1924 near Aireys Inlet for traffic passing through land owned by Mr Lane. From 1922 to 1936 the GOR operated on a toll way basis. The toll system ended when control of the Road was handed from the Trust to the CRB (Victorian government) on 2 October 1936; it was declared a Tourist Road and gazetted as 'Ocean Road' in December of the same year. It was not until 1972 that it was re-gazetted as the 'GOR', although it had been referred to by this name during its construction.
During 1954, 1971, 1979 and 1985, torrential rains, flooding with subsequent rock slides caused closures of the road. A major rock slide at Windy Point (eight kilometres from Lorne) in 1971 threatened to send thousands of tons of rock onto the road. The CRB closed the road for five months while they installed 55 rock anchors to stabilise the cliff face.
Major works of realignment and widening and replacement of timber bridges by concrete bridges have been carried out and finally in 1987 the sealing of the road to Peterborough was completed.
Australian war memorials in towns and cities take the form of public sculptures, shrines, memorial walls and gates, honour rolls, avenues of honour, gardens, buildings and even swimming pools. The Australian War Memorial notes they may be in the form of the “ubiquitous ‘small town memorial’ to the large-scale monuments of national significance” (http://www.awm.gov.au/exhibitions/shapingmemory/memorials.asp).
When the Great Ocean Road Scheme was developed, first and foremost the road itself was to be a memorial to ‘fallen soldiers and soldiers from Victoria who had fought in the war’ (Alsop 1982:10).
There are a number of associated memorials as well as the four memorial arches over the road. The original arch at "The Springs" toll gate said "Returned Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Great Ocean Road”. It was demolished when the toll was abandoned. Later The Arch was erected at Eastern View in 1939 as a memorial, and dedicated "To the memory of Major W T B McCormack, M. Inst. C.E., honorary engineer to The Great Ocean Road Trust and Chairman of the CRB". It was accidentally destroyed by a truck in 1970 and a new larger arch built on the same spot. It was destroyed on 16 February 1983 in the Ash Wednesday bush fires when the coastal area between Lorne and Anglesea was devastated. The five bronze plaques on the seaward pillar of the fourth arch tell the story.
Fagetter (2000:2) noted that the public affection for this icon is so strong that when it was suggested that the arch might not be replaced there was a public outcry. Local myth tells of two more major disturbances, one when it was vandalised shortly after the first arch was built, and later when a truck took the top off in 1984.
Most travellers read The Arch itself as marking the beginning of the special scenic stretch of the road. Surf Coast Shire has installed an explanatory sign on the site relating to the bronze plaques, and a new bronze statue was unveiled in 2007 for the 75th anniversary of the opening of the road. The sculpture is situated on the coastal side of the road adjacent to The Arch.
A memorial wall and memorial tablets were unveiled in 1935 at the Mount Defiance section of the road, honouring the contribution to the success of the project of the Great Ocean Road Trust's founding president, Howard Hitchcock, and the servicemen who served in the First World War.
The GOR is the largest war memorial in Australia. The servicemen involved in its construction were themselves reported to have been very proud to be involved in creating the memorial to Australians who fought in the First World War.
The GOR was one of several government and community partnerships common in early road building in Victoria; the CRB undertook the work on behalf of the Great Ocean Road Trust, and workers were supplied, supervised and part-funded by the Repatriation Department (Fagetter 2000).
The GOR was a newly-designed tourist route constructed on a winding course hugging the west coast of Victoria. It was conceived by the Chair of the CRB, renowned Australian engineer and surveyor William Calder, and the honorary engineer was Major W.B.T. McCormack. The GOR was arguably McCormack’s greatest achievement, and he is honoured for his contribution through a memorial plaque at Eastern View. Although McCormack oversaw the project, the majority of the day to day supervision and design was undertaken by Arthur E. Callaway, Chief Engineer of the CRB, with a team of construction engineers and surveyors (Alsop 1982:13). The project cost some ₤150,000 and was primarily funded through private donations and fundraising by the Great Ocean Road Trust, with little financial assistance from the government. It took 13 years to survey and complete, using a labour force of more than 3,000 returned servicemen who required a ‘chit’ (letter/note) from the Repatriation Department to be eligible for the work, and in later years, Depression sustenance workers.
The works were undertaken with hand tools, explosives, wheelbarrows and horses dragging scoops. Men were lowered down the cliff attached to ropes secured at the other end to trees to enable charges to be set. West coast local resident Doug Sterling recalls:
It was very, very dangerous work. Unfortunately, a lot of the people who were working here were shell-shocked, and when they had the blasting going on it really upset them (http://australianetwork.com/nexus/stories/s2037919.htm).
The servicemen were paid 10 shilling and sixpence per day, approximately equivalent to the average Australian wage in 1920 (http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/ausstats/free.nsf/0/F2E83690C3E0ADB1CA2573CC0017A8B5/$File/13010_1901_1919%20section%2033.pdf). This was four shillings and sixpence more than their pay whilst in service. This earned them the title in some circles of ‘six bob-a-day tourists’ (Iain Grant, pers. comm. 26/8/09).
Grant’s research has indicated that some men only worked part time, and others were assigned to the GOR for a few months before making way for someone else. The contemporary newspaper accounts gave positive reports of the works, describing the construction environment as beneficial for the recuperation of the returned servicemen.
However research by Alsop indicates that in the early years of the project the workers were not pleased with the conditions of their employment (1982). Some did not find the climate agreeable; others disliked the rough camping conditions and were disgruntled with the low wages, which were sometimes delivered late. In February 1920 the works were suspended, and the men were blamed for poor quality workmanship and claimed to be inexperienced. ,Works recommenced in April 1920 and the slow progress continued.
In 1922, when the first section of the new road from Eastern View to Lorne was officially opened, some accounts of the opening were not glowing. One particular correspondent from The Age is quoted by Alsop (1982:31-36), and it is clear that the reporter was unimpressed by the work. ‘Clouds of fine grit’ were tossed up by the wheels of the vehicles, ‘blackening the faces of the motorists’. He goes on to say that the roadway was merely a sandy track that dodged through the stunted trees and scrub and ‘through a formidable set of abrupt hills’. He feared the ‘war chant’ of the Southern Ocean flinging waves onto the rocks 100 feet below the motor car ‘which crawled around the side of the cliff like a nervous insect’. Here, he says, lies the weakness of the GOR. The track is too narrow for vehicles to pass, and the road is only formed, not metalled, and the heavy rain could cause the cliffs to slip onto it.
Before the road was metalled in 1934, many others considered it a fair-weather track, with heavy rain making the route impassable. Periods of torrential rains caused a number of other rock slides and road closures in the latter half of the twentieth century.
The Great Ocean Road Trust had encouraged development in the forested areas but in the post Second World War period, with increasing car ownership, the central authorities began to fear that the GOR could end up destroying the attractiveness of the very thing it was designed to give access to - the magnificent scenery. This threat particularly attracted the interest of the Town and Country Planning Board (TCPB), which had been established in 1946 under the Town and Country Planning Act 1944 (Mosley 1997:25-28).
Prior to Federation, the colonial governors were directed to reserve coastal lands for public purposes and at Federation the former colonies retained many of their original powers, including overall management of the coastal zone. From as early as the 1930s many seaside locations were protected to enable increasing numbers of tourists and residents access for recreational and leisure activities. This has resulted in diverse administrative systems for coastal management (Gorlay 2000).
Town and urban planning has been practiced in Australia since the early nineteenth century (City Futures 2007:19); the urban planning movement underwent reform in the 1920s and 1930s, moving towards a legislative basis and enabling ideals to be translated into practice (Hutchings 1999:78).
The 1955 Ocean Road Planning Scheme went beyond the bounds of the coastal lands by including the regional rural environment. The purpose of this protective planning regime was to ensure the preservation of the scenic beauty of the Ocean Road area. The TCPB recommended that it produce and administer an Ocean Road Planning Scheme that was agreed by the shires (South Barwon, Barrabool, Winchelsea and Otway) and brought under the control of an Interim Development Order (IDO) in March 1952 with the purpose of ensuring the preservation of the scenic beauty of the Ocean Road area. It received the approval of the Governor in Council on 15th April, 1958 (Mosley 1997). The TCPB had overall development control while the municipalities were responsible for enforcing the scheme in their municipalities.
The Board’s 8th report for 1952/53 referred to the unequalled scenery and stated that by the planning scheme an endeavour will be made to preserve this natural asset in the interests of the general community for all time. The aim was to concentrate development at the existing centres and preserve the scenic attractions of the intervening areas by preventing speculative sub-division (Mosley 1997:26), thus preserving the scenery.
This was an innovative approach to protection of the environment which was previously achieved through the creation of parks and reserves. The parks and reserves system would have been seen as prohibitive to development; rather than preventing development in the region entirely, the plan aimed to control development to ensure it was contained and sensitive to the scenic environment. The basic objectives of the scheme have continued to be pursued in planning in the GOR region to the present day.
Between 1975 and 1984 as a result of restructuring of state planning at the central government level and new thinking about the organisation of regional planning, the Ocean Road Planning Scheme was replaced by a variety of other plans. This included statutory planning schemes for the several Shires and, in the case of the eastern sector of the GOR region, by the Geelong Regional Plan. The objectives and basic measures of the Ocean Road Planning Scheme were translated into the new plans including for the western sector of the region (beyond Marengo), where the Ocean Road Planning Scheme had previously not applied. The history of these changes is summarised by Mosley (1997).
The planning schemes of the shires paid special attention to the rural environs of the GOR and endeavours were made to adopt a uniform and coordinated approach. At the same time there was a move to develop policies (at the state and national level) which would provide a higher level of protection for the coast as a whole.
In Victoria a Statement of Planning Policy for Coastal Environments was produced in 1977. This paved the way for the Victorian Coastal Strategy (1997 and 2002). The latter provided for the establishment of Regional Coastal Boards and the production of Coastal Action Plans by the Boards. The Western Region Coastal Board has produced two Action Plans for the nominated place: most of the coast of the nominated place is covered by the Central West Regional Coastal Action Plan (2002), and the coast west of Moonlight Head is covered by the South West Regional Coastal Action Plan (2002). In a parallel move the Country Victoria Tourism Council developed the Great Ocean Road Tourism Development Plan (1996 and 2002) which stresses the importance of strategic planning policies and controls to conserve the area’s scenic values.
The state government’s response to the requests of the shires and the conservation groups for a coordinated approach to planning of the region and for a high standard of amenity protection was the development of a land use and transport strategy for the region (see Great Ocean Road Region Towards a Vision for the Future 2004).
The main measures for the protection of privately owned rural areas are zoning and protective overlays and by setting minimum subdivision levels (40 or 60 hectares). The two main zoning categories used for this purpose are ‘Environmental Rural’ and ‘Rural’. These are supplemented by significant landscape overlays, which cover private and public land. The Surf Coast Planning Scheme contains a Coastal Development Policy for the GOR and coastal environs which aims to ‘protect and enhance the environmental qualities and scenic landscape values of the Great Ocean Road and coastal environs’ (2004:1). The Colac Otway Planning Scheme includes strategic directions covering the protection of character of the Otway Coast. Similar strategic directions for the protection of the rural environs of the GOR including protection of the landscapes and the prevention of linear development are included in the Corangamite Planning Scheme.
Public consultations concerning the development of the 2004 land use and transport strategy noted that the public, including visitors to the region, see the rural environments which developed as farming areas in the nineteenth century as integral to the scenic attractiveness of the GOR region. There are specific parts of the rural environs such as the landscapes around public viewing points and places of high importance for wildlife and biodiversity, such as wetlands, which are of special importance, but the values fundamentally relate to the spacious rural character of the area and are of a ‘broad acre’ nature.
Recent developments affecting the protection of the GOR include the Victorian Coastal Strategy (1997 and 2002), the Great Ocean Road Region Landscape Assessment Study (Planisphere 2003) and the land use and transport strategy for the Great Ocean Road Region (2004). These recommended greater reliance on access from the Princes Highway rather than further development of the GOR. Effect was given to the recommendations by amendments to the State Planning Policy section of the Victoria Planning Provisions and by government funding for the north-south feeder roads.
Planning and management of the immediate environs of the road is the responsibility of a number of municipal and state government authorities.
The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee Inc was appointed in August 2004 from an amalgamation of five separate Foreshore Committees of Management for Torquay, Anglesea, Aireys Inlet, Fairhaven and Lorne, and works in close partnership with Surf Coast Shire. It is a Crown Lands Committee of Management established under the Crown Land (Reserves Act) 1978 and has broad powers to manage the coast land reserved for public purposes on behalf of the Crown.
The spectacular natural scenery of the GOR was the catalyst for development of the road for tourism. The new road aimed to open the region for tourism and connect the isolated coastal towns of Torquay, Anglesea, Lorne and Apollo Bay. Its secondary but vital purpose was to provide a land transport link, with goods transportation at the time still relying heavily on coastal steamers. In 1919 the Great Ocean Road Trust claimed that the educational value of enabling access to the ‘magnificent scenery’ would promote the economic possibilities of the region, and the associated tourist traffic would be worth £1,000,000/year to the Victorian economy (The Argus, 5 March 1919). Very early in the works program members of the Trust recognised the tourism potential in the ‘grandeur of the scenery’, and throughout the construction they showed ‘panorama’ images in Melbourne and Geelong cinemas to generate public interest in the region.
The completion of the road coincided with the age of popular motor touring and photography. The Grand Pacific Hotel and Pier was established in Lorne and opened in 1879. It was known as the "Queen of the Watering Places". It set a high standard and encouraged the established of numerous boarding houses offering hospitality for the tourist (Cecil & Carr 1988: 24). Managing Director, and later Chairman of the Great Ocean Road Trust, Charles Richard Herschell, was a documentary film pioneer, and his ‘Rose Series’ of promotional postcards featured many images of the GOR.
At the official opening of the GOR in November 1932, Lieutenant Governor Sir William Irvine optimistically declared that upon opening the road, ‘it may be the key that will unlock to thousands the majesty of our rock-bound coast’ (The Argus, 28 November 1932). The Argus reporter covering the opening recognised the cultural tourism potential of the road, highlighting ‘things old and new’, such as the littering of ‘wrecks…which foundered among the rocky cliffs and headlands’ and the 1848 Otway lighthouse (The Argus, 26 November 1932). Almost 80 years since the official opening, the vision of thousands of tourists flocking to the region was a success probably beyond the expectations of Hitchcock, Irvine and the numerous others involved.
Recently, the GOR has established itself as a highlight of tourism brochures and travel publications marketing the Victorian region to tourists, as well as being honoured as a National Landscape by Tourism Australian in 2008. There is extensive tourist interpretation along the length of the GOR, with branding associating the road with the story of shipwrecks along the coast.
The most recent addition to the tourism experience in the region is the Great Ocean Walk, which officially opened in December 2005, shortly after the merging of a number of local parks into the Great Otway National Park (GONP). The walk starts at Apollo Bay and heads west for 104 kilometres, winding through the GONP and along the cliff tops and beaches to Glenample Homestead. It can also be undertaken in segments or as day hikes. An additional $1.3m was allocated in 2009 to extend the trail to the Twelve Apostles and for other infrastructure upgrades (Tourism Victoria Feb 2009). The Great Ocean Walk takes in many remote parts of the rocky coastline that are not accessible by vehicle and also passes many of the key lookout points.
Along with the spectacular scenery, surfing and shipwrecks are intrinsic tourist drawcards to the region, enhancing the visitor experience, with surfing accounting for a large number of the day-trip visitors. Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village at Warrnambool interprets the maritime heritage of the Shipwreck Coast, and draws 50,000 – 80,000 visitors annually (P Abbott, pers. comm. 4/4/09).
National Parks and Conservation Reserves
Port Campbell National Park was proclaimed in 1964, with a minor extension added later. The area had been reserved late in the nineteenth century because of its scenic attractions. The Bay of Islands Coastal Park was created from the original coastal reserve set aside in the early 1870s “for the protection of the coastline”, and permanently reserved in 1982 and 1984. It was proclaimed the Bay of Islands Coastal Park in 1997.
Since proclamation, the parks have attracted rapidly increasing numbers of visitors, drawn to the area largely because of the spectacular coastal landscapes. The Twelve Apostles Marine National Park and The Arches Marine Sanctuary were proclaimed in November 2002 as part of a new series (the first in Australia) of marine national parks and sanctuaries along the Victorian coast (Crocker and Davies 2005 Vol 3: 20).
The Great Ocean Road Trust, while espousing the virtues of the scenic landscape, encouraged the release of Crown land at Eastern View, and the Trust built a hotel and golf links in the hope of developing a township. It failed, and the forest has now reclaimed the golf links while the hotel burned down in 1983 on Ash Wednesday. Today a strip of housing backs on to the Lorne-Angahook State Park (now part of the Great Otway National Park), and Fagetter states that this is a reminder of the dangers of uncontrolled development and the need for appropriate planning (Fagetter 2000).
All along the coast, local citizens work hard to conserve the environment. The inspiring views from Anglesea across to the Aireys Inlet lighthouse were protected when local citizens and environment groups organised to buy the heathlands and add them to the public domain (Fagetter 2000). Local shire community profiles all identify the importance of the environment and its ongoing protection to the local community.
Parks Victoria brochures declare that the Twelve Apostles are the third most visited natural site in Australia. The world famous collection of wave-sculpted rock formations is located off shore from the eastern end of Port Campbell National Park, and within the bounds of the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park. Other highlights within the Marine National Park include Loch Ard Gorge and the Island Archway. The park, covering 7500 hectares of ocean adjacent to the coast, is located south east of Port Campbell between Broken Head and Pebble Point, and runs for 17km along the coast and 3 nautical miles out from shore to the limit of Victorian state waters. The famous Loch Ard shipwreck lies within this Marine National Park.
Other rock formations off the coast of Port Campbell National Park include the Grotto, the Arch and London Bridge (which became an island when the landward arch collapsed in 1990).
Just west of the boundary of Port Campbell National Park lies the Bay of Islands Coastal Park, stretching 32 kilometres from Peterborough toward Warrnambool. It has outstanding coastal views and extraordinary geological features, with sheer cliffs and rock stacks dominating the bays (Bay of Martyrs and Bay of Islands), and heathlands display colourful spring wildflowers. Five of Victoria’s protected historic shipwrecks lie within this park: the international passenger and cargo vessels Falls of Halladale, Schomberg, Newfield, and Antares, and the early intercolonial trader Children.
Further east is the recently created Great Otway National Park, covering 103,000 hectares of coastal land, with a wide range of vegetation including temperate rainforest, tall wet eucalypt forest and botanically diverse heathlands and woodlands. The park was gazetted in 2005, increasing the Otway National Park by 60,000 hectares by including Angahook-Lorne, Carlisle and Melba Gully State Parks, as well as some State forest and other crown land (http://www.parkweb.vic.gov.au/1park_display.cfm?park=47). It incorporates Cape Otway and its 1848 lighthouse, as well as the remains of the historic shipwrecks Fiji and Marie Gabrielle at Wreck Beach below Moonlight Head, and the scattered remnants of Eric the Red.
|Condition and Integrity|
As noted in the analysis, palaeontological work continues within the Otway Ranges
Coastal Cretaceous site, and analysis continues on the fossil finds already
yielded. However the fossil deposit at Dinosaur Cove itself has been exhausted
for all practical purposes, having been excavated to some metres
below sea level and only associative values remain at Dinosaur Cove. Access to
the site is discouraged by Parks Victoria and the access track is reported to
be overgrown. The fossil record from this site is housed ex-situ and continues
to be analysed further. |
The finds at Bells Beach appear to be chance finds by members of the general public and resulting from erosion. It is not clear how well protected this more recent fossil record is. However, further natural erosion and excavation in the Otway Ranges Coastal Cretaceous site and at Bells Beach may yet yield more finds of significance.
The natural heritage values of the public lands adjoining the GOR are in generally good condition, and prospects for their protection have improved over recent decades with the consolidation of various parks and reserves into the Great Otway National Park. The cessation of logging within the park, improved coastal management including improved visitor infrastructure to manage increasing visitor numbers, and the purchase and inclusion of heathland areas in reserves in the eastern sector of the place, all contribute to the protection of the values of the adjacent land. Some improvements are necessary in relation to controlling regrowth scrub on the southern margins of the GOR, which in many places significantly obstructs visual appreciation of the spectacular ocean views, one of the outstanding values of the GOR. Weed infestations (especially blackberry) at numerous locations along the GOR require control and if possible eradication.
Management plans for the Port Campbell and Bay of Islands areas are in place, and although they may now require review, appear to protect and manage the potential National Heritage values identified in this assessment as well as many additional heritage values that are unlikely to meet national threshold.
It is the natural dynamism of this rocky coastal landscape that holds the key to its geomorphological significance, rather than the number of stacks, caves or arches that are standing at any one time. It is a place in which evolutionary landscape development can be viewed over quite short timescales and, as long as these are natural processes unaltered by the influence of modern development, the values of this landscape will remain intact while continuing to evolve. Collapses in recent years of sea stacks and arches along the western coast constitute graphic evidence of the dynamic nature of the naturally-occurring coastal erosion, one of the geomorphological values of the place, rather than a reduction in condition due to human activity.
Information on the condition of many of the Aboriginal cultural heritage places within the Otway Ranges National Park, Otway Coastal Reserve and the Alcoa Lease Area is not available. However, it has been noted that the shell middens in general, including Seal Point, are eroded (Goulding 2006a).
The areas surrounding the road are in a good condition as a result of the planning efforts of the last 50 years. These worked to confine the development to existing centres so conserving the natural environment and rural scenery.
The road itself has been subject to ongoing maintenance and is also considered to be in good condition, with a high degree of integrity. There is little information on the condition of other aspects of the historical fabric, including the hand-cut markings on the cliff faces adjacent to the road, subterranean remains of the workers’ camps and the historical markers including the arch at Eastern View.
The Ocean Road Planning Scheme and its successors have been very largely successful in preventing inappropriate development in the region. Up until the last decade there has been less attention paid to the threat which would arise from overdevelopment of the GOR itself, leading to increased pressure for development and unpleasant traffic conditions.
In 2005 the Victorian Government, when declaring the Great Otway National Park, identified the GOR as an arterial tourist route, and the GOR Regional Transport Strategy aims to keep heavy traffic to the north-south roads that link the coast to the Princes Highway. The funding of work on these side roads was a major recommendation of the GOR Regional Transport Strategy. In the latest development to prevent over use, speed limits on parts of the GOR have been lowered from 100 to 80 kilometres per hour.
The local Shires that manage the majority of land in the area (Surf Coast, Colac Otway, Corangamite and Moyne) have all implemented the recommendations of the Great Ocean Road Regional Landscape Assessment Study (Planisphere 2003). Consequently each local planning scheme now has Significant Landscape Overlays which aim to protect the landscape values from inappropriate development. Environmental significance and vegetation overlays provide additional protection for the aesthetic values associated with the GOR journey.
About 13,400ha, between Torquay and Allansford, comprising the following: |
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Report Produced Mon Dec 9 14:01:24 2013