Time to celebrate as Great Ocean Road turns 80

WARRNAMBOOL and Port Fairy will celebrate the 80th anniversary this year of the opening of the Great Ocean Road with a concert and street party.

Local musicians and story tellers Dennis O’Keefe and Dennis Taberner will take people on a musical journey along the Great Ocean Road this Sunday with tales of shipwrecks, convicts, whalers and lifestyles in a concert that will include a multi-media presentation. 

The concert will be held at 2pm this Sunday at Flagstaff Hill Maritime Village.

Later this month Port Fairy will travel back in time to before the Second World War when the RACV Great Ocean Road Celebration car rally arrives on Wednesday, November 28.

The town will hold an old time street party to welcome about 50 pre-Second World War vehicles taking part in the tour.

The town’s main street, Sackville Street, will be decorated with bunting and Moyne Shire mayor Jim Doukas, dressed in his mayoral robe and chain, will welcome the rally from the balcony of the Star of the West hotel as the vintage vehicles drive down the street about 4.15pm.

Many of the rally participants will be dressed in period costume and spectators are being encouraged to do the same with prizes being offered for the best dressed.

Children will compete in a “box car” competition that will involve mini races, a display and prizes on the Village Green. 

Marg Leutton from the Port Fairy Traders and the Port Fairy Tourist Association said south-west car clubs had also been invited to bring their cars to the event that will be the terminus for the tour’s five-day trip from Melbourne.

The Port Fairy Citizens’ Band will perform, traders are being encouraged to dress their shop fronts to welcome the tour and cafes and restaurants will be open late.

The vintage cars in the tour will be on display at Port Fairy until 6.30pm and the tour participants will take part in a farewell dinner in the town that night.

Warrnambool will also get a look at the tour earlier in the day when the rally will parade through the central business district about 12.30pm.

The rally, organised by the Victorian Vintage Sports Car Club, will also stop at the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum from about 11am where locals, including children from local schools, will have the chance to view the vehicles.

The Great Ocean Road was built to create a road link from Barwon Heads to Warrnambool and provide employment for former soldiers returned from the First World War.

Rally director Charles Rogers said the gazetted end of the Great Ocean Road was at Peterborough but the rally’s terminus had been extended to Port Fairy to allow other towns to share in the fun.

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