Landscapes of Memory and Forgetting: Memorialisation, Emotion and Tourism along Australia’s Great Ocean Road


  • Rosemary Kerr Consulting Historian



Australia, Tourist Route, History, Landscape, Memory


This article explores the history of the Great Ocean Road, described in its recent National Heritage listing as “Australia’s most famous coastal drive”. The road is unique in Australia as it was purposely constructed as a scenic tourist route and as a memorial to World War I servicemen. Over time the road’s memorial function was largely forgotten in public memory, overtaken by its fame as a tourist route. The history of the road’s setting, construction, promotion and interpretation reveals that it is a route which reflects changing, and sometimes conflicting, cultural preoccupations. Despite attempts to link its sublime setting and challenges of building the road with the heroic struggles of the servicemen in war; in spite of physical commemorative markers along the road; and in spite of the power and endurance of the “Anzac legend” in Australian culture, the connection did not resonate as intended. The road’s construction and subsequent interpretation illustrate the difficulty of inscribing “memory” onto a landscape with no prior connection to the events being memorialised. Its history reveals insights into the road’s cultural construction; tangible and intangible expressions of remembering and forgetting along the road; and the relationship between the road, landscape, memory and emotion.


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How to Cite

Kerr, R. (2013). Landscapes of Memory and Forgetting: Memorialisation, Emotion and Tourism along Australia’s Great Ocean Road. Almatourism - Journal of Tourism, Culture and Territorial Development, 4(8), 78–98.