Museums, History and Heritage
The Great Ocean Road Heritage Centre
Since its official opening in 1932, The Great Ocean Road has become an iconic international destination – offering spectacular experiences for millions of visitors every year. But did you know that the Great Ocean Road is recognised at the world's longest war memorial and has been named on Australia's National Heritage list for its extraordinary historic and cultural significance?
In September 1919, more than 3000 returned Australian soldiers commenced building the Great Ocean Road. Through rugged terrain, dangerous weather and steep rocky cliffs, the soldiers worked for eight hours per day, constructing the road predominately using hand explosives, picks, shovels and wheelbarrows. Can you imagine?
It would be less than three years later, on March 18, 1922 when the first section of the Great Ocean Road was officially opened, from Eastern View (where the ANZAC soldier sculpture can be viewed today) to Lorne.
Not long after opening there was a toll put in place to recoup construction costs for the road. Visitors were charged two shillings for cars, and 10 shillings for wagons with more than two horses, payable as they passed through Eastern View.
It would be thirteen years and two months later that the section from Lorne to Apollo Bay was completed and opened with an official ceremony near Lorne’s Grand Pacific Hotel – and it was at this time the road was acknowledged as the world’s largest war memorial.
You can experience the real Great Ocean Road story in a purpose purpose-built permanent exhibition in the new Great Ocean Road Heritage Centre, located in the Lorne Visitor Centre.
Through interpretive displays the new centre showcases the full historical story of the Great Ocean Road - the back breaking story that many are unfamiliar with.
Put it on your ‘to-do’ list when you visit the Great Ocean Road – you’ll see the road in an entirely different light. The centre is open every day except Christmas Day, 9am-5pm. Phone (03) 5289 1152 or 1300 891152.