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The Great Ocean Road – a National Heritage Place


We’ve recently had cause here in the SOLN offices to look at the Gazettal Notice for the Great Ocean Road as a National Heritage Place. The National Heritage List (NHL)  recognises and affords protection to our most significant cultural and natural landscapes. The Great Ocean Road between Torquay and Allansford was formally added to the NHL in 2011. The listing recognises the relationship between the road and returned servicemen from World War 1. Construction of the road was designed both to employ returned servicemen, and to build the road as a memorial to their service. 3,000 men were employed in its construction between 1919 and 1932. The road is considered to have high archaeological potential to reveal how extensive, remote work camps operated during the inter-war period.  Upon opening, the road quickly became critical to developing tourism in Western Victoria and in 1955 the Ocean Road Planning Scheme was developed to protect the scenic values of the road. This process significantly influenced the manner in which both public and private land was, and still is,  managed for scenic and environmental values in Australia.

Areas of the Great Ocean Road have both palaeontological and geomorphological significance. The Great Ocean Road has some of the world’s richest and most diverse assemblages of Polar Dinosaurs, with the most famous example being Dinosaur Cove. Recent discoveries at Bell’s Beach are currently providing  palaeontologists with new insights into the evolutionary relationship between baleen and toothed whales. Geomorphologically, the coastline at areas such as Parker River and Cape Patten is of high significance it provides evidence of what the environment was like prior to Australia’s separation from Gondwana  99 million years ago.

The National Heritage List also recognises the environmental diversity and scenic beauty of the Great Ocean Road, which includes the rainforests of the Otway Ranges and the open landscapes to the west near the 12 Apostles. The impact of this landscape on writers, film makers, photographers and painters is also noted. The road was a major inspiration to garden designer Edna Walling and contributed to her passion and advocacy for the use of Australian natives plants in garden design.

If you are interested in reading the full listing, it can be found at www.environment.gov.au.

~ by SOLN on August 18, 2015 .

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