A makeover for The Dolls House

February 5, 2016 BY

If you’ve driven up Grove Road past the school lately, you might have noticed that the two storey timber building close to the road has had a coat of paint and some maintenance.

What you might not know is that this building has a very interesting history and has been an intrinsic part of the school for over 100 years now.

“The Dolls House”, as it is known, is the former headmaster’s residence at 17 Grove Road. It was built for the Education Department as a headmaster’s residence. The Minister for Public Instruction, Otto Sachse, is said to have directed the Public Works Department to design a teacher’s residence resembling a Swiss chalet after a visit to Switzerland in 1905. The architect for the Lorne School and teacher’s residence was S.E Bindley.

The Education Department actually built four houses on the properties of country schools in Victoria to provide accommodation for the headmaster of the time and his family. The builder of the house in Lorne was Mr J Sutherland, and it was completed in May, 1906 at a cost of £303-17s.

Of the four built in Victoria, the Dolls House in Lorne is the only one remaining.

The residence is a two-storey timber building. Its half timbering has been removed. It has unusual leadlight windows at the entry and on the stair landing. After its use as a teacher’s residence, the Dolls House has been used as a school camp, instrumental music space and a student welfare centre.

Unfortunately, the building and the spaces are not officially part of the college’s entitlement for funding for maintenance and cleaning. In the past when it was used as a school camp and hired to the public, funds were generated for this purpose. However, this is no longer the case. There is a danger if the building is not properly maintained that it will not meet the necessary occupational and health standards for use by students, parents and staff.

With the support of many community focused organisations in Lorne and many financial supporters and volunteers, the Dolls House is going to have a “makeover”. The generous financial support of the Lorne Op Shop and the Falls Foundation have allowed us to achieve a result we would not have thought possible The internal work will begin at the start of the 2016 school year, with a completion date set for June 2016. The internal painting will be with donated paint and volunteer community painters. The Lorne Men’s Shed members will form the nucleus of the volunteer painters.

The Lorne Community Hospital is committed to providing (through the “Hands on Learning”

program), the computer hardware to be installed in a small private room with internet access. This will enable a student to seek professional help, on a secure site in real time. This room will provide the privacy needed.

The Lorne Historical Society will provide framed prints for the five rooms.

The Historical Society has approached Haymes Paints to ask that the paint for the internal up-grade be donated, or supplied at cost. We have received a positive response.

This very valuable piece of Lorne’s history deserves to be preserved not only for its historical and heritage value but also for the role it has played in the lives of so many teachers and students over many, many years.