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Home Geelong and District Pot Luck Mack's Hotel [originally the Wool Pack Inn]

Mack's Hotel [originally the Wool Pack Inn]

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Click to view larger imageMack's Hotel, first known as the Wool Pack Inn, was located in Corio Terrace (now Brougham Street) in Geelong.



Mack's hotel is the two-storey building near the centre of the photograph - it has an arched central doorway and arched windows on the ground floor.

The Building

It was designed by architect John GILL and erected in 1846. "GILL was born in Devonshire, England in 1796 or 1797 and arrived in Melbourne with his wife Joanna Apperley GILL in 1843.  He did a number of works in Melbourne including the Baptist Chapel, Collins St (1845), and a bank in Ballarat.  He called for a number of tenders in Geelong but it is not known that he ever lived in the town, although he supervised the building of Christ Church, designed by the Sydney architect, BLACKET.  He died in Melbourne in 1866." [1]

The hotel appears to have been a two-storey bluestone building with a freestone or stuccoed facade, and gabled slate roof. [1]  It appears in many early illustrations of Geelong due to its prominent location in Corio Terrace - facing the bay midway between Moorabool and Yarra Streets.

The original hotel was first known as the Woolpack Inn before becoming Mack's Hotel after it's 1841 owner Joseph Gardner MACK.  Interestingly the license was only in MACK's name in 1841 and 1842, however the name remained with the new building erected in 1846. [2]

The Geelong Club purchased the hotel in 1881, using part of the premises for their members but leasing out the remainder as a hotel.  The Geelong Club moved into their own building in 1889 however in 1888 the "hotel" opened as the Geelong Grand Coffee Palace.  The new owners added the decorative second-storey balcony and verandah.  The temperate coffee palace survived only a few years before the building re-opened as Mack's Hotel in 1891 with only a wine-licence. [2]

In 1895 the hotel was purchased by Mrs STRACHAN of Kyneton and licenced to George Frederick STRACHAN as Mack's Hotel.  The hotel remained in her family until 1949 when, as a run-down hotel, it was purchased by "Strachan and Co, which owned the adjoining woolstore stretching to Moorabool Street."  A clearance sale of all furniture and fittings was held in October 1950, and the hotel was demolished in 1952.  The Strachan woolstores were then extended along Brougham Street. [2]

The building in 1839-1840

A description by George Russell from the Investigator:

"Mack's Hotel [as it was later known] at Geelong was the first house where settlers could put up for the night.  The first building was begun during the year 1838, and was built of rough split slabs.  It consisted of a sitting room or parlour, a bar and three or four very small bedrooms, with a detached kitchen at the back.  There were no stables for some time after this, and the usual practice of persons arriving from the country and stopping for the night was to tether out or hobble their horses on the ground now occupied by the houses in Moorabool street, Ryrie street, and Gheringhap street.  [Russell was writing between 1881 and 1884]" [3]

The building in 1852

"a magnificent ball room, 64 feet by 29 feet, admitted to be the finest room in any of the Australian colonies; supper room, coffee room, eight sitting rooms, bedrooms for 78 beds; brick stabling at the rear for 44 horses, with coach house, loose boxes etc." [3]

The Early Licencees

1841  J G MACK
1842  J G MACK
1844  Abram ATKINS [to 1852-53]

After Patrick MACNAUGHTON left Mack's he had a varied career:

  • incharge of the first lighthouse in Port Phillip
  • 1845-1847 - clerk to Foster FYANS
  • 1851 - visited Scotland
  • returned to Geelong
  • lived in Fiji
  • returned to Geelong working for a butcher in Moorabool Street
  • 1866 - died while undergoing an operation for an infected foot.

Joseph Gardner MACK

  • married to Anna AUSTIN, sister of James and Thomas AUSTIN
  • purchased the Corio Terrace land for £80 [read the Investigator for the interesting story to this purchase!]
  • occupied Berrybank station at Cressy
  • 1868 - died from complications following a broken leg.

John ATKINS and Robert Nalder CLARKE

  • Also opened an inn at Fyansford
  • over-extended financially


  • possibly a relative of John ATKINS
  • came to Geelong with his wife in 1842
  • lowered prices at Mack's Hotel to counter the depression at the time
  • 1846 - hired architect John GILL to design new hotel
  • 1852-53 - sold hotel
  • moved to pastoral estate in Queensland
  • 1867 - died in Queensland, buried at Rockhampton
  • 1875 - his wife died in Geelong


  1. Lorraine Huddle, Architects in Geelong 1840-1860, 1979
  2. Peter Begg, Geelong - The First 150 Years, Geelong Advertiser, 1990
  3. Ian Wynd in 'Mack's Hotel', Investigator vol 8 no 3, Geelong Historical Society 1973
Last Updated on Saturday, 25 July 2020 01:57  

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Home Geelong and District Pot Luck Mack's Hotel [originally the Wool Pack Inn]