Committee for Lorne: Lorne in Black and White

June 7, 2024 BY

I have often wondered why Lorne chose black and white as the town’s sporting colours—at least for the football, netball, and surf clubs—and why the name ‘The Dolphins’ was chosen for the Lorne Football and Netball Club [LFNC]. It is hard not to think the name came from the dolphin pods that used to churn Louttit Bay to foam in the 50s and 60s, 100-150 at a time when the couta were running or squid were about.

We have recently marvelled at the Aurora Australis, revelled in [or cursed] our cockatoo plague, and rejoiced in the ‘roos basking on the Mt. St George slopes, but the leap and plunge of a dolphin pod still holds my heart. It is little wonder that our teams are proud ‘Dolphins’ despite their far rarer sightings now. The last pod I recall seeing was about four years ago when countless dolphins and a cloud of diving gannets worked together to ‘herd’ their whitebait prey into circles and then put on a spectacular feeding frenzy.

The two most common Bass Strait dolphins are the common short-beaked [https://tinyurl.com/5n89d6yn] and the bottlenose [https://tinyurl.com/mr279f83], but while both are beautiful mammals, the most breathtaking members of the dolphin family are the so-called ‘killer whales’—the orcas—the black and white behemoths of the sea. Orcas sit firmly astride the ocean food chain and outrank all sharks and true whales in power and ferocity. Branded long ago as ‘killer whales’, orcas are not whales but massive dolphins—the sea’s apex predator. In the SCT [January 2023], I reported that:

“… in early December 2022, a pod of five orcas chased a seal to the rocks near the Sheoak River mouth. A few days later, others were seen off the pier.

Lorne Aquatic Club Commodore Keith Miller says he occasionally sees them out to sea while the NSW water police reported a pod while rescuing a Sydney-Hobart yacht this year.

Though Internet maps record their extensive range, orcas in Bass Strait? … and off Lorne? Perhaps we have a fantastic new addition to our nearby seas!

It is unclear when the name was first used. While it may have coincided with the reorganisation of our regional leagues in 1970/71, our footy club was alive and well long before that. Though the Geelong Advertiser [31-8-1886] recorded Alfred Mountjoy as the Lorne football team captain, it wasn’t till 1896 that they played their first ever game … Deans Marsh [8.10] d. Lorne [4.2].

I thank Tony Stribling for providing parts of the following from his impeccable historical records.

Occasional games were held with Apollo Bay [if the team could cadge a ride by flagging down a passing boat … NB: the Apollo Bay section of the GOR didn’t open till 1932] and with Deans Marsh [if horse-drawn coaches could pass Benwerrin’s winter mud from either side]. Then, the Shire of Winchelsea Football Association was formed in 1919.

The SWFA comprised Winchelsea, Apollo Bay, Deans Marsh, Forrest, Birregurra, the coal miners from Wensleydale, and Lorne. However, due to its geographical remoteness, Lorne could only play sporadically. On one occasion, when their coach and horses became hopelessly bogged at Benwerrin, the Winchelsea team walked the last seven miles and arrived in Lorne at dusk. Abandoning the game, they played pool instead.

The Lorne ‘oval’ was then the now-grassy flat behind the surf beach, but this did present some problems. There was no seawall, the dunes kept encroaching on the ocean wing, the Alsop’s cows and sheep left ‘soupy traps’ for unwary players, and the umpire often had to swim for the ball. After premierships in ’33 and ’36, Lorne seemed a sure bet for the ’37 flag, but the couta started biting! Coach Hector Stribling couldn’t field a team.

During WWII, the competition was sporadic, and team photos were scarce … mainly as several players took the field while ‘AWOL’ from their combat units but craved anonymity.

In 1949, the Polwarth Football League [PFL] was formed. It included Lorne, Winchelsea, Forrest, Corragulac, Birregurra, and Beeac [with an odd application to join from Queenscliff in 1957]. When the PFL disbanded in 1970, Lorne joined the Colac and Districts Football League [CDFL], with the netballers following suit in 1972.

In 1952, the oval moved from the unreliable foreshore to the Stribling Reserve. This was made possible by the foresight, generosity, and hard work of town doyen Hector Stribling, who donated the land and then used his own machinery and staff from the Lorne Hotel and Erskine House to carve out the current oval.

In the 1970s, unifying nicknames became fashionable across all the Victorian country leagues, mimicking the VFL trend to use symbolic names for each team: the Cats, Demons, Magpies, etc. It is unclear who first proposed ‘The Dolphins’ [and when], but it likely dates from the early 70s. Doug Stirling insists that until the 60s, our Louttit Bay dolphins were known as ‘porpoises’, but by the 70s, the word ‘dolphin’ had taken over in the local vernacular. It is likely [my guess] that the nickname ‘The Dolphins’ dates from Lorne’s move to the CDFL, and an emblematic name was required. [On a personal note, I remain grateful for Lorne’s sobriquet: who can ever forget the 1957 movie ‘Boy on a Dolphin’ when Sophia Loren emerged wet from the sea—a seriously stirring sight for any eleven-year-old boy!]

Turning to the guernsey and the club colours, in early photos from Tony Stribling’s collection, Lorne is wearing their earliest known strip in a 1929 team photo—a white jumper, banded in red and blue, with a star on the chest. Sometime in the next four years, the guernsey changed to black and white, as the 1933/36 team photos show a Collingwood-styled vertical black-and-white striped design. Perhaps a Trojan horse [or an influential ‘magpie’] was on the committee. Certainly, many country teams had adopted VFL look-a-like guernseys for ease and cost containment. In 1948-50 another variation appeared – a black jumper with a white “V”.

Then, although in 1947/48, Lorne sported a unique black guernsey with two vertical white bands, one over each shoulder, by the 70s [possibly coincident with the CDFL move], the Collingwood jumper was back! Though it was the jumper I remember as a boy—and as a Cat, I bridled— it eventually gave way to Lorne’s current and unique strip [with a tweak or two along the way]. Indeed, the jumper has had an exciting journey.

But the black-and-white motif does not end with the Dolphins. The Lorne Surf Lifesaving Club has proudly worn black and white on our beach and foreshore for nearly as long. Since it was established in 1947, the LSLC four-quarter black-and-white cap has been known and respected on myriad beaches around Australia. Not only have they been strong and successful competitors in surf carnivals nationwide, but their volunteer members have kept our beach safe for over three-quarters of a century.

Lorne boasts a proud, long, and, at times, challenging sporting history. So, long live the Dolphins, and may your next 128 years be as fine as your last.

John Agar
Feature Writer


A word from the chairman

Happy King’s Birthday long weekend and there is a lot on in Lorne.

On Saturday, there’s the market on the Lorne Foreshore with over 100 stall holders in attendance and the Aireys market on Sunday, Music at the Clam on Monday, movies at the Lorne theatre and restaurants all open.

It’s also a very big weekend of local sport at Stribling Reserve. Enjoy the weekend!!!!

In last week’s read, our Vice Chairman noted the upcoming clash of the only two undefeated sides in the Colac and District Football League going head-to-head.

Alvie hosted the Lorne Dolphins at Red Rock Reserve, Alvie for the bragging rights.

The Dolphins got the win, by only two points, in a hard-fought game to sit atop of the ladder – great win boys.

This King’s Birthday weekend on Saturday, Lorne Football and Netball Club President, Carly Enticott, is hosting the President’s lunch which will feature former Carlton player and Lorne Coach, Ed Curnow and a 50th anniversary celebration of Lorne’s 1974 Premiership winning team.

Speak to anyone close to LFNC, to hear of the enormous impact that the influence and values of Ed and his family are having upon our Club.

Saturday’s events will also feature the return to Stribling Reserve of the 1974 team that was the first to win a flag in the Colac and District Football League (CDFL) after departing the Polwarth League years before.

Upon close inspection of the images circulating social media, it was interesting to observe that 16 of 21 players photographed were local boys which included names like Norton x 3, Ridgeway, Roache, Yates, Tune, Balderas, Tutungi, Trickey, Yates, Grose, Holiday, White and Drury to name a few.

For those that were unaware the Polwarth Football league ran for 21 seasons and in its final year Winchelsea won the last premiership flag in 1970, to go back-to-back before the league folded.

The Polwarth league extended as far afield as Portarlington in the north, Coragulac and Winchelsea in the west and Apollo Bay to the South and included larger townships in between.

Since joining the CDFL the Lorne Dolphins have had outstanding success and are joint leaders of total premierships won with archrival, Alvie Football and Netball Club with both Clubs having won 13 each.

Must also note that Alvie have been in the CDFL since 1937, 31years earlier than the Dolphins.

The Lorne Club also the only team in league history to win four premierships in a row from 1980 to 1983 – A very proud Club indeed!!!!

Ian Stewart

Lorne Ward Events Calendar


8th – Lorne Market, 9-3pm https://www.lornemarkets.com/

8th – Lorne Dolphins Football and Netball V Colac Imperials, at Stribling Reserve, juniors match from 9am, seniors at 2pm

15th – Lorne Dolphins Football and Netball V Otway Districts, at Stribling Reserve, juniors match from 9am, seniors at 2pm

22nd – Deans Marsh Winter Solstice Celebration, 5pm at the Deans Marsh Reserve.



13th – Lorne Dolphins Football and Netball V Irrewarra-Beeac, at Stribling Reserve, juniors match from 9am, seniors at 2pm

27th – Lorne Dolphins Football and Netball V Apollo Bay, at Stribling Reserve, juniors match from 9am, seniors at 2pm



17th – Lorne Dolphins Football and Netball V Alive, at Stribling Reserve, juniors match from 9am, seniors at 2pm

17th – Surfcoast Wonderfalls Trail Run, Starting at Cumberland River/Lorne from Distances: 5km 13km 25km 42km 52km


Surf Coast Times – Free local news in your inbox

Breaking news, community, lifestyle, real estate, and sport.