An “exotic beverage known as the Cappuccino” was served in Lorne way back in the 1950’s and it says a lot about what the beach town was like back in those days. Lorne’s bohemian scene during the 1950’s and 60’s was underground and progressive, and its inhabitants were indie music and caffeine fiends long before the rest of us.
We sat down with long-term local Murray Walding to learn about a pretty little inlet on Victoria’s coast that’s ruled by thieving Cockatoos.
It [Lorne] attracted beatniks and later jet-setters, as well as surfers…so it was a unique and exciting blend. That scene has changed; the town is a little more sedate and mannered. That hip vibe was here until around the late nineties when there was still some pretty wild night spots. Nowadays you’d get locked up for the kind of behavior that was common in the fifties and sixties.
I met the girl who would become my wife when I was here surfing…I was 17; she was 15. Then ended up as a teacher…and moved here in 71. I taught along the coast for over twenty years before changing direction. We also ran a surf shop while I was teaching.
I was asked to pen a piece about Lorne for a surf magazine, which they liked. I sent them more stuff, then got into writing more seriously, which led to books, mags and newspaper features. The archiving came as a result of my interest in poster art and beach/pop culture. I’d had a brief career in surf movie distribution that gave me the initial stock of posters, but I ‘d been gathering pop posters off walls since I was a kid.
Later we went on to Noosa to write a book that we planned on being an eighteen-month spell. It turned into five years then we came back to Lorne and opened [retail store] Wild on the Beach.
I used to tell people in Queensland that I grew up in Melbourne, that I lived in Noosa, but my home is Lorne. When it comes to surf, I’d rather be in Noosa but Lorne is more hip and prettier. You can’t go past Melbourne for the overall vibe, I’m completely relaxed in Melbourne and feel at home there.
There used to be a time when people would equate surfing with art, but that ideal has gone out the window now. Self-expression at most surf spots is compromised by crowds and attitudes. Great art, like great music and great surfing, is most compelling when its original, innovative and forward thinking. When that happens, it uplifts your soul, and all three pursuits are capable of that.
[On Australia’s unique creative culture] We’ve always had a unique surf culture, and it was strong and vibrant decades before California surfdom and Gidget hit here in 1959. I’m not a music critic so can’t comment on that, I can only talk with expertise about poster art.
Like most Australian creative pursuits, it [poster art] borrowed heavily from overseas influences, but the thirties work of James Northfield, Gert Selheim, and Percy Trompf is the equal and often better than anything else anywhere, at that time. Similarly, our contemporary poster designers like James Bellesini, Reg Mombassa, Jeff Raglus and Mr. Frumpy are world class designers.
[An average work day] Check the surf in the morning then plan around that. No surf means up to the gym to burn up some calories. We open the shop until 5 pm and then go home and watch the footy, listen to music or write.
[Dream Office] I was going to say that it would have a great view but that would be torture, and I’d never get any work done. Big desk, club furniture, bookcase with the collected works of Chaucer, Joan Collins and Stephen King, lots of big drawers and shelves, nice stereo…and a private secretary (a George Brandis kind of thing).
THE LOCAL TOPS
Wild on the Beach, of course.
Find the little-known tracks paths and detours around the town…they are the roads less travelled.
There’s a few shipwrecks under the sand in the main beach.
Best Road Trip
Surfing our way to Byron Bay in 1968.
Dream Road Trip
The princess and I in a black 68 Camaro; boards on top, hammering up the Hume on an all-night drive, on the way to catch a cyclone swell in Noosa…listening to Running Down A Dream by Tom Petty on the eight-track stereo.
Wild On The Beach AKA beach pad paradise specialises in vintage posters and homewares. Check em out: