Acknowledging Hard Work

A historical society wishes to acknowledge the hard work of the men who built one of the most famous highways in Australia.

Iain Grant from the Portland Family History Group is currently working on finding out the names of all of the workers who constructed the Great Ocean Road.

Grant has so far found the names of 400 people, but knows that he has a long way to go as there is recorded to have been around 3,000 workers, most of whom were ex-servicemen.

Grant said that the men who built the highway had to put up with tough working conditions such as minimal pay and being tethered to ropes to make way through the tough terrain, as well as painful calluses. It is because of these conditions and how famous the Road is – as it is now heritage listed – that Grant believes these men should be acknowledged.

Grant started his search six years ago after a Portland resident wanted to know whether her relative helped with the construction. Unfortunately, most of the official workforce records were destroyed at the beginning of World War II.