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A City of Pubs and Churches

Williamstown was a naval centre, and the point of disembarkation for many diggers bound for the Victorian goldfields. In this case, the old expression ‘a pub on every corner’ was very close to the truth. Today many of the old pubs still stand, although not all are used as hotels. 

The Steam Packet, the Prince of Wales (now a mock-up of the ‘Titanic’, for those with an interest in that dreadful tragedy), the Stag’s Head, the Morning Star, the Rifle Club Hotel, the Rose Of Australia, and a number of others still serve draughts of colonial ale to the thirsty heritage walker. The maximum number of hotels at any one time was 40 hotels. 

Churches too abound in Williamstown, many built from the local bluestone which was quarried by prisoners at Point Gellibrand. St Mary’s Catholic Church, Holy Trinity Church of England, and a real rarity: in Electra Street, not far from the Historical Society Museum, was one of the few Welsh Calvinist churches to be built in Australia.

The Williamstown Primary School can be mentioned here. It is a glorious, bluestone neo-Gothic edifice which was completed in 1878. Prior to this the school was at the Mechanics Institute where the museum is housed today.

A model of the school was sent to the 1878 Paris Exhibition, and it was cited as the best school in the Australian colonies.

For feedback and comments please contact the Tourism Officer at Hobsons Bay City Council on (03) 9932 1000 email visitorinformation@hobsonsbay.vic.gov.au