The back-breaking tale of how the Great Ocean Road was built has been told many times – but probably never using Lego.
Mercy Regional College student Patrick Ryan has spent about 30 painstaking hours on a stop-motion video that takes viewers from the battlefields of World War I to the south-west coast.
The stop-motion technique meant Pat moved each Lego piece by small increments between each frame, creating the look of movement when all the frames were played in a fast sequence.
Pat, 15, said he had learnt the stop-motion technique through school, and teachers’ help ensured he got the history aspect just right.
“It’s about the rehabilitation of returned soldiers after World War I through building the Great Ocean Road,” he said of the video.
Pat’s creativity has won him a spot in the state government’s Spirit of Anzac Prize, alongside fellow Mercy Regional College student Erin McLean.
Pat will be one of 22 Victorian students taking part in an overseas study tour, heading to Darwin and then Singapore in July. Erin, 16, is among 20 regional finalists who will visit Canberra and attend the Premier’s Anzac Day luncheon.
Erin also focused on the lives of returning soldiers through a short story about a fictional Vietnam veteran and his family.
“I think that showing the emotional side of this story will allow younger people to connect not only with the story but with actual veterans and possibly even family members,” she said.
“The men that returned were shunned by society and were not recognised for their service and courage. Luckily, now they have been awarded the same respect as other veterans and we are beginning to recognise the severe impact the Vietnam War had on their mental health.”
Unlike the lives of some veterans, Erin’s story has a happy ending.
“At the end of the story it fast forwards 50 years and he’s marching in the Anzac Day parade with other veterans,” she said.