Deakin University
james-thegreatoceanroad-2013.pdf (860.8 kB)

The Great Ocean Road, Victoria: a case study for inclusion in the National Heritage List

Download (860.8 kB)
Version 2 2024-06-13, 23:59
Version 1 2017-03-10, 16:07
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-13, 23:59 authored by K Altenburg, Luke James
The Great Ocean Road, constructed by returned World War I soldiers between 1919 and 1932 is an important place in Australian tourism, and was included on the National Heritage List in 2011 for its historic, natural, scenic and social values. The Great Ocean Road's status as a utilitarian and performative war memorial is its most significant story, despite having faded from popular understanding. The road was also constructed to open up the Victorian west coast to tourism, a continuation of the 19th century concern with building tracks and paths to organise the tourist view and experience wonder. With over seven million visits to the region annually, the road is simultaneously recognised for its association with tourism and also being managed to mitigate the tourism that threatens its scenic values. There are growing attempts to coordinate tourism planning through the National Landscapes program, and place management more generally through cooperation of the many public land managers to conserve its heritage values. This article will investigate the complex interrelationship between the diverse National Heritage values and their management, and argue for the need to privilege the preservation of scenic value over tourism as a social value due to its primacy as a prerequisite to tourist use. It will also investigate the claims of the Great Ocean Road as a cultural route versus historic road, and demonstrate despite evidence of international cultural transference of the concept of a purpose built road designed as a scenic route, the Great Ocean Road, undoubtedly an historic road, cannot be properly regarded as a cultural route.



Historic Environment






Melbourne, Australia



Publication classification

X Not reportable, CN.1 Other journal article

Copyright notice

2013, Council for the Historic Environment




Council for the Historic Environment