Family will retrace historic car journey

Bill Gratton-Wilson, pictured in a 1932 photograph with his car, became the first man to drive a car to Cape Otway Lightstation.

THE family of the first man to drive a car to Cape Otway Lightstation will retrace the historic journey.

Cape Otway’s Cyril Marriner said his uncle Bill Gratton-Wilson drove a T Model Ford from his Wangerrip farm, between Lavers Hill and Yuulong, to Cape Otway Lightstation in 1932.

“It was quite a big deal back then because nobody had done it, Bill was the first in the area with a car so he decided he would follow the bullock wagon route to the lightstation,” Mr Marriner said.

“The bullock wagon route was used to get all the supplies into Cape Otway because it was easier than unloading supplies off ships in the bay,” he said.

Cyril Marriner

Mr Marriner said his uncle had been a “livewire” who loved adventure.

“Bill fought in Greece in World War Two and was held in a prisoner of war camp there, he escaped a number of times but was always dragged back in, he managed to survive though and returned home,” he said.

“This trip he made to Cape Otway was an adventure for him, it was a tough ride because of the sand dunes and ridges, but they had friends on horseback who rode alongside the car to help them out,” he said.

Mr Gratton-Wilson’s eldest son Eliot will join his family to re-enact part of the journey next Saturday.

They will travel in a 1928 Plymouth Chrysler from the Bimbi Park entrance on Manna Gum Drive, following the old bullock wagon route, to the lightstation’s car park.

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