As you cruise along the Great Ocean Road in Australia, one of the best photo stops is the Memorial Arch at Eastern View. Head to the viewing platforms to take a photo of the sign hanging over the road and the memorial to Australia’s soldiers. But what you may not realise, is that the Memorial Arch has an interesting history in it place above the Great Ocean Road.
Erecting the Memorial Arch
The Great Ocean Road was built in memory of the Australian’s that lost their lives in the first world war and Memorial Arch was built to honour the 3000 service men that worked on and built the road from 1919 to 1932. It was a huge undertaking to carve a road into the rocky coastline, and it provided many jobs for returned servicemen after World War 1.
Tolls on the Great Ocean Road
The location of the arch is not at the beginning of the road, but rather, where one of the original toll points was. When the road was first built, there were a number of toll gates where money was collected from those travelling along – to reimburse the cost of the construction. They took the toll point down once costs of building the road were paid off.
Third time lucky
When the toll gates were removed, the first Memorial Arch was built at Eastern View. However, this version was burnt down in the terrible 1983 Ash Wednesday Bushfires.
Shortly after, another version of the Arch was erected, however one day a wayward truck hit the side of the arch and destroyed it. This led to the construction of the Memorial Arch that is still standing there today.
However, despite the three interactions of the arch itself, the Great Ocean Road sign hanging from it is still the original one!
The Memorial Arch today
These days the Memorial Arch is a popular location to visit on the Great Ocean Road. From the viewing area beside the road you can also check out the memorial statue of soldiers constructing the road.
There are also a number of information boards and plaques detailing the construction of the Great Ocean Road. As well as plaques commemorating the 50th and 75th anniversary of the road’s opening.
Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator @gowest.com.au