Lorne Historical Society is planning a new exhibition
The current exhibition presented by the Lorne Historical Society, “Fishy Tales – The Story of Lorne’s Fishing Industry” will finish in the next few weeks.
Planning is already underway for a new exhibition “Lorne – Then and Now” which will contrast various aspects of life in Lorne and its environment, focussing on what life was like in a previous era with the Lorne we know today.
Marilyn Mackenzie, Secretary of the Society, has written this recollection of beach life in Lorne. This is an example of the recollections we want to capture and present.
“In the 19th century the upper classes viewed bathing as medicinal not pleasurable. Bathing consisted of a short immersion in cold water. Men frequently bathed nude in the early morning and the neck to knee costumes were transparent when wet. It was therefore not surprising that complaints were made to the Winchelsea Shire Council about indiscreet bathing. This led to the 1882 construction of the Lorne Sea Baths, an 80 metre timber jetty on the main beach near where the pool is now. You can clearly see the baths in the photograph. Swimmers were partitioned from each other for privacy. Men swam in the morning and women in the afternoon. The baths were destroyed by strong easterlies after only a few years. It was not until 1903 that the regulation forbidding mixed bathing was repealed.
Swimming gained in popularity and from the 1880s, guesthouses and private families built bathing boxes along the bay for privacy and convenience. They were used as changing rooms, for storage and for entertaining. You can imagine the parties that would have been held in them. There were still about 50 bathing boxes in 1970, but all were removed in 1973 largely due to vandalism and poorly regulated leasing.
The beach is constantly changing. Sand is built up and washed away by storms, tides and longshore drift. We have built and removed groynes, constructed a sea wall and replanted the dunes in an effort to protect her.
The foreshore area, once known as the Flats, has been a cow paddock, a football ground, an airstrip, a car park and the home to tennis courts, a bowling green, dodgems, bounceball, a roller skating rink, a theatre and bathing boxes.
We have fished, sailed, swum, surfed, skiffle boarded, snorkelled, built sand castles, flirted and just plain had fun on the foreshore. The equipment and clothing might have changed but the joy the beach brings has remained the same.”
The Society welcomes your contribution to the “Then and Now” exhibition. We will be arrange material for presentation under various themes such as; accommodation, shops, entertainment transport etc. Our goal is to contrast the eras of then and now under these themes. If you would like to lend us some photographs for us to scan, or drop in and talk to us about your recollections we would be grateful. You might even like to write a short piece on your particular recollections. The Society’s rooms are open every Friday and Sunday from 10am until midday. You can also send material to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lorne Historical Society