Lorne Historical Society to get a Facelift

Earlier this week, there was a meeting at the Lorne Historical Society building, which is part of Lorne Community House to discuss plans and timeline for installing a new façade on the building.  This meeting was attended by members of the Historical Society, local architects Bob Sinclair and Chris Wood, local builder Lachie Pinda and a representative of the Surf Coast Shire.

There has been almost two years of activity in the background leading to this meeting.  It’s a story of collaboration, generosity, community commitment and sharp focus on the final goal.  In early 2017, the committee of Lorne Historical Society initiated discussions with the Surf Coast Shire regarding an upgrade to the façade of the Historical Society’s building.  The current façade facing traffic entering Lorne across the Erskine Bridge, is a drab rudimentary structure.  The Society request that Shire consider an upgrade to both enhance the amenity of the entrance to town and to provide more prominent exposure for the Society.  

Council subsequently agreed and proposed a joint approach to the project.  Council would provide up to $50K in cash to match whatever contributions, both cash and in-kind, that the Society could secure.  It is at times like this that the true spirit of collaboration comes forward in Lorne.  Local architects, Bob Sinclair and Chris Wood came up with a concept design for the new façade which enhanced the visual amenity of the building while at the same time being cost effective.  Bob and Chris achieved that by proposing that the new façade comprise panels of battens which could be prefabricated and fixed to the existing structure.  A uniquely designed window would be installed into the façade providing a look into the main display room of the Society and a view of the contents of exhibitions.  As Chris said at the time, “it’s not a huge construction project, it’s an exercise in carpentry”.  

Once this proposed design was agreed, it was up to the Society to do its bit and come up with the required cash and in-kind support.  The Society held a fundraising dinner and the proceeds from that, together with some generous cash donations, saw us well on the way to generating our matching $50K.  Barwon Timber agreed to donate ALL the timber for the panels.  This was a very generous donation of over 1,000 meters of timber without which it is questionable whether the project could have proceeded.

So, to this point we have concept design by local architects, support from the Shire, cash donations from community and material donated by Barwon Timber.  A concept design and a pile of timber.  And then along comes Lorne Men’s Shed.  Under the watchful eye of Bob and Chris, a team at the Men’s Shed built the jigs in which the panels could be fabricated ensuring each one was uniform and then the Men’s Shed team stained all the timber and built the panels to be installed on the façade.

Recently, Surf Coast Shire issued a tender for the job to install this new façade including the window.  There was a shortfall between the Council’s budgeted contribution and the tender responses.  To their credit, Surf Coast Shire agreed to fund the shortfall in view of the value of support generated by the Historical Society.

And so, we have a project.  Work will commence during February and is expected to be completed by mid-March.  The project will greatly enhance the vista at the entrance to the main street and provide the Lorne Historical Society with a much-needed facelift to its premises which is timely when considering the growing level of interest in the Society and is collection.

The Surf Coast Shire produced a short video about this project focussing upon the extent of community contribution into making the project a reality.  Here is a link where you can view the video – https://tinyurl.com/lhsfacade

So many organisations and individuals have contributed materials, expertise and effort to make this project a reality.  The new look building will be testament to the generosity of spirit that is such an essential component of the fabric of the Lorne community.

During construction the Lorne Historical Society’s rooms will be closed.  The Society’s exhibition, “Fishy Tales”, telling the stories of Lorne’s Fishing industry is still open each Saturday and Sunday between 12.30pm and 2.30pm at the old Co-op building at the Pier.  A new exhibition showcasing the history of the Timber industry in Lorne will be staged once the construction project is complete.

Peter Spring
Lorne Historical Society