Monday, 21 March 2016

Lorne Day 3

Today we headed off to tour the Great Ocean Road, we left Lorne and headed off through Deans Marsh to Turquay, so much open pastoral land, such beauty. Deans Marsh is a town located 23 kilometres inland from Lorne, and is part of the Otway Harvest Trail,

We made our way and arrived in Torquay a township in which faces Bass Strait, 21 km south of Geelong and is the gateway to the Great Ocean Road. It is bordered on the west by Spring Creek and its coastal features include Point Danger and Zeally Bay.

You can dose up on surf culture at Torquay, the home of Bells Beach and birthplace of iconic brands Rip Curl and Quicksilver. The official start point of the Great Ocean Road, Torquay is Victoria's surfing and beach worship capital.

Torquay Front Beach is nicknamed ‘cosy corner' for its sheltered, family-friendly waters.

At Point Danger the reef is ideal for snorkelling and exploring the diverse marine life at low tide.
The area between Torquay's back and front beaches is formed of beds of crumbling limestone and a narrow rock platform which extends to the west. A small reef which is only exposed at the lowest of summer tides lies just offshore and is often isolated from the beach by a deep sandy channel. The limestone reef is an enthralling feature covered in small boulders and intricate seaweed beds, the reef is home to a number of weird and wonderful creatures.

At Torquay Surf Beach we found one of the numerous surf schools we would come across during the day on shore receiving instructions. It is really hard to believe how big an industry surfing is on the coast here, all aspects of surfing is absolutely everywhere you look. Surfing shops are dotted along the shopping strips like coffee shops are at home, surf schools have between 20 -30 students and each beach seems to have one if not two different schools sharing the beach.

We went for a walk to Rocky Point along the Surf Coast Walking trail, around the inlet on the boardwalk which was so peaceful.

Torquay Beach is 800 m long and faces south-east, with some protection provided toward the southern end by Rocky Point. Extensive inter-tidal rock reefs lie off Point Danger at the northern end, and Spring Creek drains across the beach just west of the surf club.

With every wave the sea continues a long green story that never ends. The Sea by Jean Walsh Anglund.

A view from Bird Rock Lookout.

The all famous Bells Beach, with an international reputation as one of Australia’s best surf beaches, Bells Beach is amazing spot. There isn’t much ‘beach’ at Bells, it’s mostly a glorious cliff-face, and views from the cliff-top car park which is a great spot to watch local surfers out in the water. The water is deep right off the beach, while at low tide you can see the reefs at each end.

Kevin was off to walk the entire length of this famous beach which I sat on the rocky end.

Southside beach on the other side of the cliff is such a different looking beach.

At the base of 20 m high Point Addis is a narrow, 80 m long, sand beach, which is awash at high tide and fronted by rocks and reef flats at low tide. It can only be reached with difficulty around the rocks.

Loveridge Lookout was built in 1938 as a memorial to James Loveridge by his widow Bertha Loveridge. The lookout is located near the former Loveridge owned property "Anglecrest". The site for the lookout was chosen by Bertha as it was James' favourite viewing location of Bass Strait from Point Addis in the east to Point Roadknight in the west.

Loveridge Lookout was designed by Ballaarat architect H L Coburn in the interwar Modern Functionalist style and is the only structure of this construction type in Anglesea.

The 5 km of coast between Urquhart Bluff and Table Rock at Fairhaven is dominated by 20 to 50 m high, eroding bluffs composed of poorly consolidated limestone, tuffs, clays and silts.
As they erode, they leave inter- and sub-tidal rock platforms and reefs. Running along the base of the bluffs are twelve small, exposed beaches, mostly dominated by the headlands, rocks and reefs.

The first five face south-east and extend from Urquhart Bluff south-west for 1 km. They can be reached at low tide around the rocks from Urquhart Bluff, or by climbing down some of the less steep bluffs.

Urquhart Bluff South Beach is 200 m long and has a wide, shallow surf zone with a permanent rip against the southern headland and reef.

The broad beach that is seen in the photo below is part of Lascelles Bay called Sunnymeade Beach.

Split Point Lighthouse at Aireys Inlet. Originally called Eagles Nest Point, the lighthouse was constructed in 1891. It was converted to automatic operation in 1919.

The original British-made first order Fresnel lens is still in use. However, the factory in Birmingham, where the lens was built, was bombed during war-time and the essential formula for making the unique lens crystal were lost, should a replacement ever be needed. A Japanese firm, consulted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, estimated the cost of replacing the lens at more than A$1 million.

Under standard Australian lighthouse convention, red filters would usually be placed to the extreme left and right of the beam (indicating "danger zones" for a passing ship, in-line with the jagged coastline). For reasons unknown, the Split Point Lighthouse operated for many years under the opposite system; although this has now been corrected. Split point lighthouse has 132 stairs from bottom to top and is 34 metres tall.

Memorial Arch is a tribute to the World War One servicemen who built the Great Ocean Road. The present arch is the third built to replace the second one destroyed in the Ash Wednesday bushfires of February 1983. The timber log archway with cement and stone supports on each side spans the Great Ocean Road.

The Great Ocean was completed in 1932 as a memorial to those who served in World War One and the arch first erected in 1939, replaced in 1973 and again in 1983 when bush fires destroyed the second arch. Plaques commemorate the three arches and the 50th anniversary in 1982 of the opening of the road.

The Great Ocean Road is a permanent memorial to those who died while fighting in World War I, carved in rock, it winds around the rugged southern coast. Built by returned servicemen it was a huge engineering feat ending decades of isolation for Lorne and other coastal communities.

Before the road, travel between the coastal settlements was far from pleasant. In the 1870s, a trip from Lorne to Geelong was long and arduous via a rough coach track through dense bush to the railway at Winchelsea. Previously the ocean supplied the link to the outside world.

Plans for an ocean road emerged in the 1880s but only gained real impetus towards the end of the First World War. The chairman of the Country Roads Board, Mr W Calder, contacted the State War Council with a proposal that funds be provided for repatriation and re-employment of returned soldiers on roads in sparsely populated areas. Calder submitted a plan he described as the 'South Coast Road' which suggested a road starting at Barwon Heads, following the coast around Cape Otway and ending near Warrnambool.

It was Geelong mayor, Alderman Howard Hitchcock, who brought the plans to fruition. He formed the Great Ocean Road Trust and set about raising the money to finance the project. He saw it not only as a way of employing returned soldiers but of creating a lasting monument to those who had died in the war.

He also had a powerful view of its worth as a tourist attraction, proclaiming it better for its ocean, mountain, river and fern gully scenery than the Riviera in France, the San Francisco Road and Bulli Pass in New South Wales.

Survey work began in August 1918 and thousands of returned soldiers descended on the area to start work. It was back-breaking work with no heavy machinery to help – only picks, shovels and horse-drawn carts.

The first stage linking Lorne and Eastern View was completed in early 1922. Over the next decade, the trust continued its work on the Great Ocean Road linking Lorne with Cape Patton and Anglesea, while the Country Roads Board built the Cape Patton to Apollo Bay link.

On 26 November 1932 the route was officially opened by the Lieutenant Governor, Sir William Irvine. It was a sight to see with a procession of 40 cars and schoolchildren lining parts of the route.

Road travellers during the early years paid a toll at gates at Eastern View, where a memorial arch was erected. Drivers paid two shillings and sixpence and passengers one shilling and sixpence. The toll was abolished when the Trust moved to hand over the road as a gift to the State Government on 2 October 1936.

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