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 Post subject: Hard road to honouring Diggers
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 1:13 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 4:13 pm
Posts: 1672
Location: South Australia
Hard road to honouring Diggers
Michael Davis
April 14, 2007

WHEN sculptor Julie Squires was commissioned to build a monument to the 3000 sailors and soldiers who built the Great Ocean Road, on Victoria's southwest coast, she did not take the task lightly.

"I was aware I was creating a memorial to men who served in World War I and who built the road - the world's largest war memorial - as a monument to their fallen comrades who did not return from Gallipoli or the Somme," Squires said.

She was determined the sculpture would have integrity and even sourced original picks and shovels from the era.

She also found a company in Sydney that made replica military uniforms for movies and military re-enactments "just to get the right texture of the uniforms into the finished bronze work". "I was also lucky enough, through my own family, to get genuine World War I service medals," she said.

And Squires travelled to the Australian War Memorial in Canberra to try to better understand what the men had been through while they were serving overseas.

"The stories often brought tears to my eyes," she said. "They were extremely brave men, both during the time of war and also while working on the road. They were tough conditions and obviously comradeship would have been pretty important to help get them through."

The life-size sculpture, entitled The Diggers, was officially unveiled yesterday at Eastern View, near Lorne, by federal Veterans Affairs Minister Bruce Billson.

The chairman of Great Ocean Road Tourism, Roger Grant, said Squires's sculpture had "captured the spirit of the men who built the road in extraordinarily harsh conditions and using only minimal equipment like picks and shovels to etch the road into the coastline".

A Tiger Moth buzzed overhead and cars from the construction era (the late 1920s and early 1930s) were used to ferry guests to the unveiling. Many descendants of the workers who built the road attended the ceremony.

The project was supported by the Victorian branch of the Returned & Services League, the Geelong Community Foundation and the federal Government.

The Geelong Community Foundation is funded in part by money left to it by Howard Hitchcock, a former mayor of Geelong, who is known as The Father of the Road.

In tough times during the building of the road, which opened in 1932, the mayor often reached into his own pocket to make sure the work continued and that labourers were paid.

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 2:55 pm 

Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2007 3:52 pm
Posts: 34

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 3:09 pm 

Joined: Mon Feb 12, 2007 12:40 am
Posts: 53
Location: shooting up.....the place
nice to hear how much thought and effort she put into the whole thing. :bravo:

 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:02 am 
Yeah definately good to see an artist taking the time and effort to do something right. Makes their work much more appreciated.

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