History of Lorne and The Grand Pacific Hotel

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands and waters upon which our activities are held and pay our respect to Elders both past, present and emerging. 

The Wadawurrung and Gadubanud people have been custodians of the The Surf Coast and Otways region for thousands of years prior to settlement. 


A Brief History

Prior to European settlement, the area was occupied by the Gadubanud people Lorne is situated on a bay named after Captain Louttit, who sought shelter there in 1841 while supervising the retrieval of cargo from a nearby shipwreck. The coast was surveyed five years later in 1846. The first European settler was William Lindsay, a timber-cutter who began felling the area in 1849. The first telegraph arrived in 1859. Subdivision began in 1869 and in 1871 the town was named after the Marquis of Lorne from Argyleshire in Scotland on the occasion of his marriage to one of Queen Victoria's daughters.


Rudyard Kipling
In 1891 the area was visited by Rudyard Kipling who was inspired to write the poem Flowers, which included the line:"Buy my hot-wood clematis, Buy a frond of fern, Gathered where the Erskine leaps Down the road to Lorne."
Kipling was one of the most popular writers in English, in both prose and verse, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Joseph Rudyard Kipling (30 December 1865 – 18 January 1936) was a British author and poet, born in India, and best known today for his children's books

The Great Ocean Road connection
By 1922 the Great Ocean Road was extended to Lorne, making the town much more accessible. The first passenger service to Geelong was established in 1924 and guesthouses began to appear after 1930.
The Great Ocean Road which stretches along the South Eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Geelong, Lorne and Warrnambool is the world's biggest war memorial. It was built between World War I and World War II by returned servicemen in honour of their fallen comrades. The road took 16 years to build and it was all done by hand using picks, shovels and dynamite.

The Grand Pacific Hotel
Built in the 1870’s as one of the first hotels along the Great Ocean Road. Victoria's Lieutenant-Governor declared the Great Ocean Road officially open at a ceremony near Lorne's Grand Pacific Hotel, the site where the project's first survey peg had also been hammered into the ground 14 years before. The Pier became a new focal point for the town’s people, especially after Henry Gwynne built the impressive three-storey Grand Pacific Hotel. Henry Gwynne suffered a serious blow-out of costs during construction and the estimated $12,000 ended up costing $24,000. On opening day, in January,  Cobb and Co Coaches provided a special express services for early guests.
Originally it was accessed only by sea with superb views in one of the most unique settings on the coast, opposite the Lorne pier. It has been fully restored and now offers all modern services in a classic restored building.

Other historic buildings in Lorne

Erskine House
Erskine House is of significant historical importance as the oldest guesthouse in Victoria and has been in continuous operation for 136 years. Today, the guesthouse is known as Mantra Erskine on the Beach.

Cora Lynn
The Cora Lynn Guest House was one of the last early guesthouses still to be seen after crossing the bridge. During 1998 the former Cora Lynn
guest house was developed into 26 units.
The two large statues are named Cora and Lynn. These statues were made by Graeme Wilkie from Qdos. The name Cora-Lynn came from a gentlemen by the name of “Hunt” who had a property in Deans Marsh named Cora-Lynn.