The Lorne Aquatic and Angling club was inaugurated February the 12th 1960.
The first foundations went down in 1961 with Alan Alsop, Len Wilson and Rex Baldy all present and helping with the excavation and these gentlemen can be seen in a photo hanging in the Club house. Over the years all of them were recognised for their contribution to the success of the club by being presented with life memberships.
Initially the club was small in size and had a winch house in front. This was essential for lowering and retrieving boats in the early days, using the Lorne Aquatic & Angling Club ramp. The winch was important to the Couta industry and over the years was employed to rescue several Couta and visitors’ boats – towing them from what could have been a watery grave.
With the lack of use, rising maintenance costs and the disappearance of the Couta industry, the winch was removed. Now on the site there is a “totem” pole with distances to towns displayed with a whale wind vain on top. This has become one of the most photographed displays in town and features as our “byline” for our monthly submission to the Lorne Independent.
The club has doubled in size over the years with extensions, a rudimentary fish cleaning area and a tractor shed which was added in 1998. In 1999 the club built a large BBQ (known as “Bill’s BBQ” named in honour of Bill Castle, a life member who for many years presided over this and previous BBQs). This added attraction enhances the beer garden and has become a very popular place and with live bands makes a great atmosphere in the warmer months. It gets used pretty frequently over the winter period as well!
The club reached 800 in membership at its height when construction sites and renovations were made on the Cumberland, at Mantra, Kalimna and Cora Lyn and later the Lorne pier. It now averages around 660 members and holds 11 fishing competitions a year which run in conjunction with BBQs and sometimes live music.
On 13th February 2010 the Lorne Aquatic and Angling Club celebrated our 50th birthday. A Ball was held at the Grand Pacific Hotel Ballroom in Lorne to celebrate the anniversary.
Fishing Competition prize are awarded for each competition culminating in the end of the year presentation of trophies at the Annual General Meeting in early December. Each monthly competition has an individual sponsor. Fishing at the club has a family flavour with opportunities for both boat and offshore fishing. The club is proud of its fish handicap system allowing for all ages to win a prize. In the early days the bar was only open weekends and on special occasions. When the Fisherman’s Bar at the Pacific Hotel closed in the late 90’s the public and members decided the club needed to be open as a venue to congregate and socialise and now it is open seven days a week most times of the year. Cash prizes and /or vouchers are donated by our sponsors to the winner and runner-up in both Senior and Junior Divisions.
This is our 60th year of the Lorne Aquatic and Angling Club, there will be no celebrations until the COVID restrictions allow it.