A century after construction first began on the Great Ocean Road, Australia’s most famous stretch of road is celebrating its storied past with pop-up cinemas, public art installations, and documentary screenings.
Every year, the 243km stretch attracts millions of tourists to its breathtaking beaches, soaring cliffs and stunning coastal views. To celebrate 100 years of scenic driving, Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism are educating visitors about the road’s fascinating and humble beginnings, and the impact it had on the surrounding region.
Kicking off the programming, visitors are invited to a screening of ‘The Story of the Road’, a half-hour documentary about the Great Ocean Road’s construction and the untold stories of those who built it. Screening at the Lorne Theatre (Wednesday 18 September) and Apollo Bay Mechanics Hall (Thursday 19 September), featuring Melbourne based swing band The Sugarfoot Ramblers who will play traditional jazz classics, and guests are welcome to enjoy vintage treats, French 75s by Great Ocean Road Gin and a specially brewed 1920s beer recipe by local brewery Prickly Moses.
The centenary project will also see pop-up cinemas housed in art deco inspired shipping containers in Torquay, Anglesea, Lorne, Wye River and Apollo Bay, where visitors can watch the ‘Story of the Road’ mini-series, which includes five short, five minute films which connect visitors to their immediate surrounds by sharing stories of indigenous history, the diggers making of the road, community and what the region is known for today, with some of the history dating back to an incredible 40,000 years in some cases.
What’s more, there will also be a QR trail that allows travellers to immerse themselves in the environment through augmented reality; and specially installed circular benches for those who want to slow down and take in the area’s natural beauty along the way. Ensuring the story lives beyond the lifetime of this event, the 2.3-metre circular structures feature artworks by local artists, painted in a palette which reflects the Great Ocean Road and its environment (as well as the QR codes which activate film and augmented reality displays) which aims to contribute to the experience of visiting the towns along the road, whilst providing an Instagrammable opportunity.
For those who don’t know, the Great Ocean Road was built by battle-weary soldiers returning from WW1 using explosives, pickaxes and shovels and taking 13 years to complete, it links coastal towns and communities from Torquay to Apollo Bay. Nowadays, it’s a global destination (and the world’s largest war memorial) that draws more sightseers than Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef combined, offering some of the most iconic views of the Victorian coast.
These projects will capture the history of the road and create a deeper connection for visitors and locals alike. To celebrate our iconic road, we’re giving away two tickets to exclusive screenings are to be held in Lorne and Apollo Bay on Wednesday, September 18 and Thursday 19 September, respectively. To enter, email your name, number and code word ‘IAM100’ to firstname.lastname@example.org
The centenary celebrations will run from Wednesday, September 18 until Sunday, October 6. For more information on the Great Ocean Road’s celebrations, head to visitgreatoceanroad.org.au/iam100
The project is funded by the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Victorian Government, the Regional Events and Innovation Fund, the Regional Events Fund and the Victoria Remembers Major Grant Program. The project has been created and delivered for Great Ocean Road Regional Tourism by creative studio The Social Crew.
Written by Seb Starcevic
Photo via Hire A Kombi