The Steam Packet Hotel. born 1863.
The Steam Packet Hotel has always been one of the leading hotels in the city and had a strong association with the thriving nineteenth century port of Williamstown. It is currently one the oldest licensed venues in Victoria.
The two-storey building was built in 1863 to replace an 1839 original building called the Ship Inn. On 7th January 1839, James Fawns took out a license for the Ship Inn which became Williamstown’s first hotel. In the mid 1940’s, the Ship Inn was serving as a boarding house and a bakery run by Mr Jennings. It was then in 1850 that Mr Jennings took out a license for the building, originally wanting to call it the Governor Arthur after the paddle steamer which provided a passenger and goods service between Melbourne and Williamstown. Rumour has it that Jennings changed his mind as another Governor Arthur was quite unpopular in Victoria at the time therefore keeping the original name.
In 1861, a fire destroyed several shops and the Old Ship Inn. Two years later in 1863, the new building was completed and the current Steam Packet Hotel was born.
The Crews family took over the hotel in the 1920's and remained in their possession until 1978, when on the death of Dick, the pub was sold for $256,000. In 1981 plans were drawn up to convert the pub into six story hotel complex, this was met with strong resistance from locals and the plans were scrapped. Eventually an alternate plan to build apartments where the beer garden and drive through bottle shop were approved and they were subsequently built.
Architecturally, the Steam Packet Hotel is in the conservative Classical style and is notable for its detailing. Constructed on stone plinth, the stuccoed structure has a string course and parapet with cornice. Other distinctive features include the angled corner, window and door frames and the prominent chimneys. The oldest part of the building is the cellar which dates from the times of the original Ship inn and therefore outdates the rest of the building by almost 20 years.
The Packet is still going strong, more than 150 years after it was built. It has a strong presence in the local community and is also a destination for good food and drink for any visitors to Williamstown. Come in and ask our staff about our resident ghost or look at some of the pictures around the walls (See if you can spot the donkey).
Still the place to be in 2017 from a culinary point of view
During his younger days The Dear Luncher used to frequent The Packet quite a bit, but not for food. It was the place to be for young folk Willy/Altona folk back in the day. Well it’s still the place to be in 2017 from a culinary point of view, says The Dear Luncher. It’s been decked out rather nicely, plenty of variety on the menu. The Packet Burger was rather nice, and the paella was tremendous. Kid friendly, great live music in the background and an excellent range of beer. The Dear Luncher’s eyes lit up when he saw Hawkers Pale Ale on tap.
Rating: 4 / 5
Just a short walk off the main strip of Williamstown, we found the oldest pub in Willy. Plasmas with Foxtel made it an enjoyable lunch watching the cricket.
Food quality was very good. Steak was tender, parma was huge!! Price was a bit cheaper than i expected for the location and the quality. Well worth a second visit..
via Trip Advisor
“Good Pub Food”
We have been here many times and have not been disappointed on any occasion. There is a great Menu selection with lots to choose from. Highly recommended for groups or couples.
Children are very welcomed. This is a place we will go back to again and again.
via Trip Advisor
Went here with the family of for dinner. Pub has a front bar and then a meals area and what looks like a private dining room.
Service was good and place was full. Meals were great and kids loved theirs. Kids drawing materials were provided and placed on wall. Steak was superb. All meals coming out looked good size.
3AW Pub of the week
The Steam Packet, after 122 years, kicks over as strongly as it ever has…… The Steam Packet Hotel rolls on neatly and after a long absence, the pub’s interior is still whipsmart and welcoming.
Front bar and dining room present a place of community and while the competition in Williamstown is plentiful, the truth is (in my opinion) there are few ‘must get to’ pubs and experience this beautiful and historic suburb.
Pricing for food and drink is about the mark, and there is sufficient diversity to appeal to all. I liked it again.
via Trip Advisor
Have visited the ‘Packet’ after work and for dinner a few times recently and found it to be quite delightful.
Food and drink menu are interesting and varied. Fave meals so far are lamb blackstrap and roast duck. Apple and rhubarb crumble for sweets ‘brilliant’! Mates rave about the steaks as well.
Live music on Friday night as well. Great tunes yours truly even got up and had a dance!
The owners come along most evenings and are delightful hosts…
Great little pub and well worth a visit or two or three
via Trip Advisor
“Lunch in Willy”
The Steampacket hotel restaurant is located a short distance from Nelson place where the majority of eateries are found. I would never have known it was there except that I was looking online for eating options in Williamstown. Glad to have found it. A lovely little hotel with a very stylish dining room.
Good varied menu, fast and pleasant service and good quality food. Will return.