Town by town snapshot: Lorne

July 29, 2021 BY

This is the spectacular view from a recently sold apartment in Smith Street that went for $3,050,000.

The size of Lorne is approximately 104.7 square kilometres with the population of Lorne recorded at 1,393 in 2011 and by the 2016 Census the population was 1,120 showing a population decline of 19.6 per cent in the area during that time.

Lorne has been, and is more than ever, the great escape destination for Melbourne families who have a holiday home in this popular resort town.

Traditionally the town was also very popular place for Western District pastoralists to have their holiday home, with some families still holding properties here after generations.

Pre-COVID, numbers could swell to over 10,000 people during the summer holiday season and the Easter period, placing a lot of pressure on infrastructure but great for local businesses.

As Barwon Heads is to the Bellarine, so is Lorne to the Surf Coast, both the jewel in their crown when it comes to premium beachside living and a holiday destination.

Although Lorne has seen a declining permanent population there has been an increase in housing stock as every inch of the landlocked town is put to use.

Many old beach houses have been replaced with grandiose holiday homes pushing property prices through the roof in this popular resort town.

Lorne’s origins began with a small pastoral holding being established there in 1852 when the Mountjoy family acquired the run in 1874 and built a permanent homestead.

Known as Loutitt Bay, the area had the appeal of tree fern gullies, the Erskine River and falls, the river estuary and a beach.

In 1868 the Mountjoys opened a guest house for the increasing numbers of visitors.

The following year a town was surveyed and named Lorne in honour of the Marquis of Lorne, the husband of Princess Louise, a daughter of Queen Victoria.

A road from Deans Marsh to Lorne was built in 1872 and Erskine House, the grand Pacific Hotel and the Lorne Hotel were built by 1878.

Lorne’s census population doubled between the mid-1930s and 1947 and the provision of camping and caravan grounds brought different crowds.

By the 1980s seven guest houses were closed, leaving only Erskine House and the Chalet.

In 1984 a Colac property developer, David Marriner, acquired the Cumberland guest house.

Multi-storey time share units were built on the Cumberland and adjoining sites, despite local resistance which considered the development an intrusion in the tree-lined amphitheatre.

CoreLogic data indicates that predominant age group in Lorne is 60-69 years with households in Lorne being primarily childless couples and are likely to be repaying $1,800 – $2,399 per month on mortgage repayments, and in general, people in Lorne work in a managers occupation.

In 2011, 69.4 per cent of the homes in Lorne were owner-occupied compared with 65 per cent in 2016.



In 1846, surveyor George Smythe had the name Louttit Bay registered at Superintendent Latrobe’s office in Melbourne

Population: 1,120

Male: 48.8%

Female: 51.2%

Median age: 53

5 year population change: -19.6%

House median value: $1,570,000

Change in median price: (5yrs) is 50%

Median asking rent per week: $480

Average length of ownership: 13 years

Owner occupiers: 67%

Renters: 33%


House median sale price:

March 2021: $1,495,000

March 2020: $1,537,500

March 2019: $1,075,000

March 2018: $1,207,000

March 2017: $1,100,000


House sales per annum:

Period ending March 2021: 52

Period ending March 2020: 42


Land median sale price:

March 2021: $640,000

March 2020: $845,000


Land sales per annum:

Period ending March 2021: 11

Period ending March 2020: 1


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