Said to be Australias biggest one-man engineering feat, the cutting was excavated to drain land behind the Woakwine Range, which is located approximately 12kms from Beachport. A parking bay and viewing platform (currently closed for Maintenance) is provided and the machines used to dig the cutting are on display. Free entry.
‘Woakwine’ is an Aboriginal name meaning ‘elbow or bent arm’ and refers to the shape of the large watercourse near the Woakwine Homestead. In fact, Woakwine is the only Aboriginal place name still used along the lower South East’s coastal region.
The McCourt family moved into the Woakwine area in the 1880s and soon realized that without richer land to compliment the rocky high country, living on the land would be difficult. As a result, in 1957, Mr. Murray McCourt decided to “have a go” at constructing a channel from the swamp through the range to Lake George in order to drain a large swamp on his property behind the Woakwine range.
The South Eastern Drainage Board assisted in designing and planning the proposed channel, however, these plans were not adopted as Murray believed the process was too costly.. Instead, Mr. McCourt decided to take a risk by having almost perpendicular walls. This type of development had never been seen in Australia before and there were obvious risks associated with the plans such as slipping of the steep walls. However, Murray, along with the assistance of one of his workman, Dick McIntyre, set out to prove that it could be done. Work commenced in May, 1957. Materials were carried from the cutting by the tractor drawn Carryall Scraper that scooped up the rubble and rocks once it had been loosened by a ripper. Other machinery also included a Caterpillar D7 crawler tractor complete with double drum winch and bulldozer blade.
To view brochure please click Woakwine Cutting Brochure (2453 kb)
Here is an Areial Video of the Woakwine Cutting