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Since 1876 Experience the Life of Lorne

“Loutit Bay, having become so popular a piece of resort by picnic parties and pleasure seekers, Mr. Duncan is about to open an hotel there, most probably on January 1st next. This will add greatly to the attraction of the place, as extra accommodation above that already provided is a want that has long been felt.”

Geelong Advertiser December 9, 1875

lorne history

Built in 1876, the Lorne Hotel has long been the beating heart of Victoria’s glorious Surf Coast.

As the Victorian Gold Rush created unparalleled economic growth in the late 1800s – and Melbourne became the wealthiest city in the world – Victorians looked increasingly for leisure activities befitting their newfound prosperity. Tourism along the Surf Coast expanded exponentially and the town as humming with entrepreneurship.

Foreseeing the tourism boom, Joseph and Elizabeth Duncan publicly announced their plan to build a licensed Hotel in Lorne, overlooking Loutit Bay in early 1975. The Duncan’s were right on track, and in January 1876 the Lorne Hotel opened its doors to the newly minted public.

Four decades and one World War later, the hotel burned to the ground in November 1919. A catastrophic fire started during the night and eventually ignited the entire hotel. Fortuitously, it was slow moving ensuring all residents and furniture was saved however, due to the lack of water pressure, the building itself was devastated.

Rebuilding of the hotel started in earnest in 1920, when a brand-new two-story brick building rose from the ashes to meet the needs of increasingly affluent and sociable guests of the burgeoning Roaring Twenties. It included 40 bedrooms, smoking rooms, dining hall, kitchen, electric lights, tennis courts, croquet lawns and a bowling green. Another luxurious feature was the motor garage, which held up to 12 vehicles.

The historic building erected in 1920s remains the grand centrepiece of Lorne Hotel’s façade, bringing old world charm to its main entrance on Mountjoy Parade.

As the construction of the world-renowned Great Ocean Road reached Lorne in 1922, the village expanded rapidly once again and tourism finally surpassed forestry and fisheries to become the epicentre of the local economy just as it is today.

The Lorne Hotel continues to evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of visitors to Lorne just as the Duncan family did over 140 years ago.