Memorial Arch on the Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is famous for it’s undeniable coastal beauty. The 12 Apostles have made a name for themselves, becoming one of the most sought out destination in all of Australia. Only a day trip away from Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road is on top of every traveller’s list. The attractions don’t stop with the 12 Apostles; the road is also home to the Split Point Lighthouse, the Loch Ard Gorge, and most importantly, the Memorial Arch, the gateway to the Great Ocean Road. The arch was built in honour of the 3,000 returned soldiers who worked on the road and its creation during World War I. They started construction on the Great Ocean Road in 1919 and completed the 243 kilometres stretch of road in 1932. There is also a sculpture that was commissioned on the road’s 75th anniversary on the side of the arch. The sculpture is of two returned soldiers working on the Great Ocean Road. During the construction of the road, some soldiers lost their lives due to the gruelling task of building a road by hand. The road itself was built as a memorial for all those who lost their lives in the war. It is the longest war memorial in the world. The Great Ocean Road extends from the town of Torquay to Allenstown.

The Memorial Arch is a popular destination to stop at, as it is the start of the Great Ocean Road. Many will take the opportunity to stop at the designated carpark to take a photo with the arch and the statue, commemorating their adventure. The Memorial Arch is made out of wood, with the sides being made out of stone and cement for support. The first arch that was erected weighed in at 50 tonnes. The arch was put up in 1939, and was replaced a few more times over the decades, including a time when a truck ran into the side of the arch, and another new arch was created in 1983 when bush fires set it ablaze ruining the monument. In the 1970’s, the government had plans to take the Memorial Arch down, as they saw it as a hazard to drivers, but it was shot down as it was considered a lack of respect for the returned soldiers of World War I. But with all of the rebuilds and tear downs, the original sign still sits on the top of the arch, for all to see.

Visit the Memorial Arch on our 1 Day Great Ocean Road Tour.

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