Committee for Lorne: Unsung, perhaps … but not un-noticed

May 24, 2024 BY

As the sun’s arc slowly narrows towards the northern horizon and the shadows of its daily zenith lengthen at the approaching winter solstice, Lorne settles back into a slower rhythm. These are lazy days when friendly chats and dog sniffs on empty beaches, long and languorous lunches at local eateries, or cheese, bikkies, and a glass of wine by the fire, wrap and comfort our lives like a familiar, well-worn coat. They are days that permit a ‘breather’ after a frenetic summer … an opportunity to reflect and thank the town we love for being—well—just Lorne.

It is also a time to feel gratitude toward the townsfolk who help make Lorne such a special place and who have helped pull us through another year. While our business owners and operators, hospitality workers, happy-go-lucky surf-after-work tradies, and local service providers all deserve a warm pat on the back, so do the many other townsfolk who silently ‘put in’, year in and year out. Unnoticed, they quietly grease the community wheels to help a town of ~1,300 souls service the annual heaving crowds of holiday-makers, day-trippers, and tourists that swell our summer population as much as twenty-fold.

Sure, we grumble when the usually adequate waste disposal systems—storage, collection, or both—are overwhelmed. We moan at the gridlocked traffic, the lack of parking spaces near the post office, pharmacy, or supermarket, and grizzle as yet another car pulls up and ‘parks’ on the DMR/GOR roundabout while the driver ‘consults’ his map upside-down.

The slower pace of winter allows us to rejig our perspectives and reflect that, for all the petty annoyances and angst visited upon residents by the summer hordes, those are the very same residents whose work behind the scenes enhances and enriches perceptions of the town maximising the visitor experience. These are our volunteers … our unsung heroes.

There are risks when writing in praise of volunteers: someone may feel left out, appear less valued than another, or misinterpret the random ordering within this article to signify some hidden ranking of importance. Please take no umbrage at such minor things, for it is impossible to thank all, and no ranking is implicit. If you volunteer but have been unintentionally overlooked, know that you are valued, and the town needs you and your enthusiasm.

Among those who give of their time to help the community include:

  • The ‘firies’ who guard and protect us in the hot, fire-prone months of summer. Coming from both local families and neighbouring districts https://tinyurl.com/4b22a959, they put their lives on the line for us.
  • The police and emergency services—the ambos and the SES—who daily attend accidents and emergencies—sadly, this past year has included several road deaths and drownings in rips.
  • The ‘vollies’ at the hospital—an unbeatable group from our community who, along with our wonderful nurses, make life for our aged citizens just a little more special.
  • The army of remarkable women and men who give so freely of their time and drive to run our highly prized and successful Lorne Op Shop—without which our community would be the poorer. Each year, the Op Shop donates tens of thousands of dollars to the Lorne Hospital [aka Great Ocean Road Health—Lorne], making it one of the best-equipped local hospitals in the land.
  • Unique to Lorne, the Lorne Aquatic and Anglers Club [variously aka ‘the Aquatic’, ‘the A-team’, or ‘the Anglers’] has become an institution on the coast. It is driven entirely by volunteers [apart from the inimitable ‘Hutch and Co’], provides its beverages at low cost … plus offers free music in the summer and free snags from the barbie on Friday evenings [courtesy, the volunteerism of ‘Ric and Co’]. Beloved of its community, the Aquatic whispers a warning: ‘Fiddle with me at the fiddler’s peril’.
  • The volunteer beach patrols from the Lorne Surf Lifesaving Club bolster the services provided by the professional lifeguards and help make the beach as safe as possible. To them, our thanks. Meanwhile, the mums and dads of the Surf Club run the Little Nippers program, which teaches our kids surf know-how, enhances their physical fitness, and kindles friendships that will last a lifetime. The same mums, dads, and club members also volunteer to underpin the spectacular Pier-to-Pub swim [the world’s largest open-water swim event] and its twin, the Mountain-to-Surf 8km fun run.
  • For this event and others [like Amy’s Gran Fondo], the men of the Men’s Shed volunteer to help with traffic management and parking … yet they do so much more: making community seats [like those on the path in front of the hospital, building the façades for the Historical Society building, and myriad [yes, myriad] other community projects and events—the annual Easter Erskine Model Yacht Regatta being just one.
  • At the heart of every vibrant and thriving community are its clubs. In ours, the three most prominent are the Lorne Football and Netball Club, the Lorne Cricket Club, the Lorne Country Club [golf and tennis], and the Lorne Bowls Club. All are driven by volunteer committees and by ‘members-who-do-stuff’—unasked, unpaid, un-heralded stuff—yet they do it willingly!
  • Underpinning these more ‘visible’ community organisations are the smaller, yet no less important niche-interest clubs—all of which boast volunteer support: the several art and craft groups, the book clubs, the Quilters, the Bridge club, the church groups, the Lorne Historical Society, and the junior soccer club—among too many others to mention.
  • Special recognition should be accorded to the efforts of Lorne Care and the Beach Rubbish Patrol—both of which help nurture and preserve the micro- and macro- environments of a town that, in 1975, was designated ‘of Special Significance’ and an area ‘of Natural Beauty’… the first town to be thus identified.
  • To assist a small core of professionals, the Lorne Sculpture Biennale is an event almost entirely driven by an arts-passionate group of volunteers. Their fantastic effort has elevated this stunning bienniale onto the national stage.
  • All communities need coordinating community oversight, and Lorne is richly rewarded in this by several groups of volunteers. These include the Committee for Lorne [https://tinyurl.com/bdn25nwf], the Lorne Business and Tourism Association, the Stribling Reserve Committee, the Friends of Lorne, a passionate band committed to Lorne’s natural beauty [https://friendsoflorne.org.au/], plus a range of school support groups drawn from local parents and others too numerous to mention.

This winter reflection concludes that we all live in a blessed town—a fact sometimes underappreciated by distant administrations and their middle managers. So many of our townsfolk ‘put in’… some in quiet, little ways, others far above and beyond … but the fact that so many do—without complaint, without seeking plaudits—is what makes the communal life of Lorne so very special.

One very interesting statistic in both the 2016 and 2021 Census data shows that the level of volunteerism in Lorne is twice the State and National average!

If such a thing as a whole-of-community award existed, Lorne would be … “Lorne: AO”.

John Agar
Feature Writer

A word from the chairman


The Doug and Mary Stirling Cup is a community award to honour outstanding service and leadership in the Lorne Community. It was first awarded to Doug and Mary Stirling at a community dinner in 2013.
The Award was an initiative of the Lorne Lions Club, championed by the then President Stephen Hishon. Stephen sourced the Cup in an antique shop in Geelong. It was forged in the 1920s and was last used as a doorstop in a Scottish ancestral home. As is befitting, the cup is made of Sterling silver. The Cup is now the symbol of Lorne’s leadership and service award, by far a more worthy use.
The Cup is now awarded by the Committee for Lorne on behalf of the participating community organisations. The committee aims to make the award every two years. As such, there has been a significant change to the process of determining the successful person(s). The committee has asked the community to put forward nominations for its consideration. Naturally, the final decision rests with the committee. The nomination form details guidelines to assist the nomination process.

Past Recipients

  • 2013 Doug and Mary Stirling
  • 2015 Henry Love
  • 2017 Jan and Peter Spring
  • 2019 Carly Enticott
  • 2022 Lorraine Griffiths

The nomination process is now open to the community, with the process widely circulated.
To nominate a person(s) please read the guidelines and complete the online nomination form on the Committee for Lorne website. The form is easy to access and understand and is also available in a hard-copy.
The hard-copy of the guidelines and application form may be obtained from: Lorne Community Connect, the Lorne P-12 College, the Lorne Post Office and the Lorne Visitors Information Centre. You can download the form here – https://tinyurl.com/2p8bxp29 or scan the following QR code:

The nominations close on Sunday the 30th of June

The Cup will be presented at a community luncheon at the Stribling Community Pavilion in September this year. This event will recognise and celebrate the achievements of the successful person(s). We do ask that people who make the nomination, do so confidentially. The last thing that the committee would want, is for very worthy nominees to be disappointed if they are not selected,

Gary Allen.

Lorne Ward Events Calendar


25th – Lorne Dolphins Football and Netball V Birregurra, at Stribling Reserve, juniors match from 9am, seniors at 2pm



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.

Surf Coast Times – Free local news in your inbox

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