The Commercial Hotel at Woods Point Victoria (better known as the Woods Point Hotel), is one of Victoria’s most iconic pubs (especially for those who venture to these parts), though by no means the oldest, and is located in a remote valley through which the Goulburn River runs and which became a mecca for gold prospectors in the mid-1800s. Woods Point reportedly had over 30 hotels in its heyday; but today, only one remains. Hopefully the current facilities can keep running, as it would be a shame if a part of history such as this were to fade away.
Moreover, Woods Point itself has been in major decline, not just since the late 1800s, but more recently with the closure of the oft photographed service station and local store, though I believe that some services have been resurrected to a minor degree (but I didn’t see these when going through). Bush fires have had a major impact on the township, but this is nothing new, as bush fires have always been a fact of life in the area. That said, Woods Point has been a sort of mecca for trail bike riders and 4WDrivers, who visit the locality all year round and I’ve even stayed overnight at the hotel many years ago, while on one of our 4WD trips, and had an absolute ball that night at the bar. The following morning’s breakfast was absolutely one of the best I’ve ever had. It’s certainly a place worth revisiting for an overnight stay.
Now I used to have a photo of the Woods Point servo from years back, but I couldn’t find it, possibly lost in the great computer crash of 2000 or thereabouts; however, I remembered that we had a biscuit tin that had a photo of that very same servo (what a coincidence). So this is the best I can do of years gone by.
And this is what it looks like as of Mar 2015.
The Kevington Hotel at Kevington, shares a similar history to that of Woods Point, arising out of the gold rush era in the mid-1800s. While the exterior of the hotel looks pretty much the same as it was the first time that I saw it some 40 years ago, the interior has changed in many ways (notwithstanding my usual fallible memory for things over a week old). Gone are the hundreds, if not thousands, of business cards pinned to the front of the bar (as seemed to be the tradition those many years past), replaced by slick paint and a clean outlook. Thankfully, the more important pieces of history remain around the bar.
The Kevington Hotel has long been called the ‘Kevington Hilton’ because of its salubrious accommodation and we had the pleasure of experiencing the ‘Hilton’ first hand with some friends 25 or so years ago. I asked the current owner whether the accommodation was still the same and it appears that even this part of history has been retained (for the uninitiated, less than level floors and ‘interesting’ beds). The Kevington Hotel was a regular Easter Weekend venue for bikers many years ago (before the current owner purchased the hotel) and there was still a burnout stain evident on the bar floor, from one of those earlier years of exuberance. That said, the Kevington Hilton provided one great night out those 25+ years ago, one that we still talk about fondly.
As a footnote, the area from Matlock (high above and south of Woods Point) to Jamieson (north of Kevington) hosted many pubs over the years, such as the Golden Age at Knockwood, the Ten Mile Hotel at Ten Mile and the Gaffneys Creek Pub at Gaffneys Creek. But all (as well as entire townships) were destroyed by bushfires in the devastating 1939 Black Friday bushfires, and other fires, over the last 100 years.