A City of Pubs and Churches

Nelson Place 1881

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 theatre restaurant telling the story of the Titanic), 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, a short walk from Nelson Place, was one of the few Welsh Calvinist churches to be built in Australia.