Well we’ve had 3 nights in Lorne and enjoyed this little township. We’ve walked everywhere, and managed to avoid the showers which arrived each day.
Day 1 we had a sleep in and listened to the Kookaburras in the trees outside. The town’s Tourist Information Centre was just at the entrance to the Park, so we paid them a visit and received great information from the helpful staff there.
Heading off up the main road we checked out the Cenotaph, which was close to the foreshore, and the quaint shops. I was also on the look out for some of my prescription medication, so we called into the pharmacy but unfortunately they were unable to fill my script. The old Lorne Theatre building caught my eye.
Crossing the road we headed down to the waterfront and discovered that Lorne has a sea water baths and there is an amazing playground.
Driving into Lorne we noticed the “bathing beauties” outside an accommodation house, so we took Cruizer out to have a look. So here he is checking them out!
At the Tourist Information Centre we were told of the the Erskine River Boardwalk which would take us over the swing bridge across the Erskine River near the river mouth and back to the caravan park, so after a trip to the “Foodworks” store we decided to take that route home.
We happened across this old mile post – Melbourne 86miles – which surely is a blast from the past!
Can you see the lighthouse? This photo is looking to the east near the Erskine River mouth. These fisherman were being optimistic I think as it was so cold and showery.
This photo is looking to the west from the River mouth. Do you see the pier?
Day 2 We dodged the showers and discovered the cockatoos, galahs and ducks making a feast on the front lawns of the Mantra Resort.
After lunch Rob & I decided to walk around to the Lorne Pier. Taking our umbrellas and rugged up in our big coats we headed off. Thankfully we didn’t really need the umbrellas and we had an amazing walk around the foreshore and up the bluff around to the pier. We had found that the designated walks are well maintained and provide a great way of seeing this incredible coastline.
There are many ship wreck stories along this coast however this is a different story about the clipper “Paul Jones” which was destroyed by fire a few miles off shore.
The Lorne Pier has quite a history. The foreshore here supported the local Aboriginal people for thousands of years before white man came. By the early 1840’s the coast began to be settled by pioneering timber cutters and farmers.
In the decades before the pier was built, settlers loaded cargo onto boats beached on the falling tide and refloated on the rising tide. Beaching boats to load timber was a risky business. Several boats were wrecked in sudden storms, including the ‘Osprey’ in 1854, the ‘Rebel’ in 1855 and the ‘Henry’ in 1878.
Planning for a pier at Lorne commenced in the mid 1870’s. It was around this time that thousands of well-to-do holidaymakers would flock to Lorne for “the season”.
Lorne residents were eager to compete with other holiday towns like Sorrento and Queenscliff. They hoped that a pier would allow passengers and cargo to be conveniently transported by sea, to and from Lorne. At the time, holidaymakers were faced with a long, rough coach trip from Winchelsea.
The original Lorne Pier was built in 1879, using local blue gum piles.
From the start the pier suffered from it’s exposure to Bass Strait, Wild winds and high seas buffeted the pier and any ships berthed at it.
Despite several extensions and rebuilds over its lifetime, the pier never offered enough protection to succeed as a passenger terminal.
Situated near the Grand Pacific Hotel, which also opened in 1879, the new pier became a place for promenading and enjoying the sea air. The pier brought holidaymakers “face to face with a wild, uncultured nature”.
The pier was also a renowned fishing spot. The Australasian of 30th January 1897 reported that “the best fishing is off the pier at night, when the silver bream is the sport…… Scarcely a day passes but a shark is caught from the pier, and these vary from 3 foot to 6 foot in length. Sometimes half a dozen are landed at night”.
In the 1930’s diving exhibitions by expert divers like Olympic swimming medallist Lillian Beaurepaire attracted hundreds of spectators. The exhibitions marked a newfound sense of freedom in the sea.
The pier is still a focus for open water swimming as the starting point for the annual Lorne Pier to Pub swimming race.
The new pier is still a great fishing hotspot and is also part of a global effort to monitor changing sea levels.
After 127 years of modifications and partial rebuilds, the Lorne Pier was replaced by a new pier at a cost of $5 million. The new pier was opened in April 2007.
The new pier was built alongside the old one, which was removed. Part of the original pier was saved and many of the old piles now grace the Lorne adventure playground.
Lorne Pier plays a role in one of the world’s leading sea level monitoring projects. The Australian Baseline Sea Level Monitoring Project uses 16 stations around our coastline to monitor sea levels. The stations pick up changes relating to weather, storm surges and tsunami as well as long term changes in sea levels. The data is fed into a global observation system.
Global sea level rise is one major effect of climate change. The dominant cause of sea level rise is the expansion of oceans as they warm. Melting land ice also contributes.
Higher average sea levels will profoundly affect our coasts, as will higher peak sea levels during storms, high tides and tsunami.
The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee is working with other agencies to predict, monitor and prepare for the local effects of climate change.
We spent a fair bit of time on the pier and surroundings. There was a playful seal in the water near the end of the pier, but he was very elusive to get a photo. The fishermen were complaining that the seal has been around for about a year and a half and chasing the fish! Although this fisherman had managed to bag a few good size catches.
Hitting the track for home, we had a great view of the Lorne beach and foreshore area.