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Press Release: Great Australian Story Comes To Apollo Bay

Issued: 1 August 2012

STORYTELLER Colin Mockett and singer-musician Shirley Power will bring the story of the Great Ocean Road to vibrant life in the show Hit the Road Digger at Apollo Bay on Friday, August 17.

Cape Otway Lightstation is hosting the Mechanics Hall performance as part of its International Lighthouse Weekend celebrations.

Lightstation assistant manager Denise Thompson said the performance was highly entertaining, encompassing the drama, humour and political wrangling involved in building one of the world’s best-loved scenic routes.

“Colin’s storytelling intermingled with Shirley’s songs from the 1920s is uplifting and inspiring,” Mrs Thompson said.

“The focus is mainly on Geelong Mayor Howard Hitchcock and how he got the road built – it’s a great story of Australian spirit – how people believe they can and do make a difference. Hitchcock was a visionary.

“It’s a good show for families, for the older generation who remember that era, and young people will be amazed by the story.”

Colin Mockett said the Great Ocean Road was a testament to the foresight and determination of Howard Hitchcock who following World War One foresaw a time when cars would be commonplace and people would want to tour beautiful, coastal scenery.

“He was talking tourism 50 years before anyone else,” Mr Mockett said.

“But more than this he actually went ahead and built his Great Road, taking 14 years and frequently paying the road gangs himself when no other funds were available.

“Today, the hand-built road, there was no machinery used in its construction, is acknowledged as the world’s largest war memorial, and the largest monument to peace.”

Shirley Power performs a raft of songs from the Twenties and Thirties which would have been popular with the 3000 retired servicemen who worked on the road, retiring to bush camps at night, including Painting the Clouds with Sunshine, Keep on the Sunny Side, and Ain’t Misbehavin’.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for concessions, $15 for students and includes supper by The Ridge CafĂ©. Tickets are available from Apollo Bay’s Galapagos Bookstore.

The event is licensed.

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