Friends of Lorne Heritage Group
A heritage group is being formed within Friends of Lorne with the objectives:
To become familiar with major items of historical interest in Lorne and the surrounding area.
To work with the Lorne Historical Society in documenting their historical significance
To assess the wider community support for the retention/restoration of particular objects artefacts
To facilitate the retention/restoration of such items deemed by the Society and the community to
To cooperate with the appropriate authorities and organizations in the above facilitation.
To coopt to the group individuals having special interest/expertise in a particular project,
independent of their membership status with Friends of Lorne
The formation of the group was initiated by the demolition of the crane that stood on the end of the old
pier and was being temporally stored on shore.
The restoration of the crane will be the first project for the Heritage Group.
At its height the fishing industry in Lorne had about 36 fishing
boats providing a ton of couta each day to be processed by the
Fishing Co-op. Cranes were used to lift the boats onto the
safety of the deck at the end of each day because seas could be
rough. There was only room for 25 on deck, however, the rest
had to face the weather on moorings. Several different cranes
were used in the life of the pier.
Logging activities at the pier ceased about 1935 and the fishing
industry also declined to such an extent that only 3 fishing
boats remained about 10 years ago. The final blow was dealt
when the crane was condemned as unsafe and the fishing
industry in Lorne disappeared overnight.
Around this time consultants also reported that the pier itself
was unsafe and the decision was taken to build a new pier to
service tourism and recreational fishing needs. Construction of
a new pier commenced on the 1st March 2006 using the old pier
as a working platform. At the end of construction the old pier
was demolished except for a short section at the shore end.
The reasons for this were to save money, to preserve part of
Lorne’s history, and to provide a possible site for relocation of
the now unused crane.
Friends of Lorne had consistently over 5 years made known its
desire for the crane to be retained as an icon of Lorne’s past.
In 2005, as part of preliminary discussions on the new pier, they
circulated 700 survey forms to members and randomly in the
general community. Of the 222 forms completed, 76% were in
favour of the crane being kept on the end of the new pier and
also 83% were against it being relocated to the shore. At a
public meeting called after the design had been completed it
was clear that the fin tailed design at the end of the pier made it impossible for the crane to be placed
at the end of the new pier. The meeting gave very strong support to the crane being placed on the
timber deck of the section of the old pier that was not to be demolished. This was followed by another
survey. Of the 149 forms returned 78% were strongly in favour of this solution.
The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee (GORCC) was not committed to placing the crane on the section
of the old pier and stored it temporarily on the shore while a decision was made. However, Friends of
Lorne was given an assurance in writing that a decision on the future of the crane would not be made
until the master plan process for the future development of the Point Grey (the pier precinct) had been
To the dismay and anger of a large section of the wider community, with only a few days warning, the
crane was cut up and delivered to the wreckers in late November 2009.This was despite Friends of
Lorne’s previous offer to contribute to costs of relocation.
Some members of Friends of Lorne visited the wreckers and obtained their cooperation in putting aside
some of the pieces of the crane for return to Lorne. GORCC agreed to transport these sections back to
the quarry at Lorne for storage.
The formation of a heritage group within Friends of Lorne is now well advanced. Its aim is to reassemble
the saved portions of the crane into a simple realistic copy to be placed on the remaining section of the
old pier. This can be done in such a manner as to overcome all the reasons given by GORCC for its
The group will work with GORCC to achieve its aim.