With thanks to Woodend & District Heritage Society. The society meets on Wednesdays, 10am-4pm, at the old courthouse in Forest St, Woodend.
McKenzie’s Hotel sat roughly where Woodend’s BP petrol station and 19th Hole car park stand, and was built by Alfred McKenzie in 1853 as the London & Liverpool Hotel. His son Henry took over and by 1896 the hotel was so popular it had to refuse 187 applications for rooms in December alone, with many of the visitors bringing maids and governesses.
Henry officially changed the name of the hotel to McKenzie’s Hotel. In 1936, Ellis Davis, referred to in the Woodend Star as Melbourne’s leading bookmaker, took over and added counter lunches and gambling. By the 1950s, Nellie Dowling ran the hotel, arranging every Christmas for busloads of old-aged pensioners to be brought from Melbourne for a lavish dinner.
Ted Rippon, a well-known footballer, renamed it the 19th Hole Hotel to attract the golfing crowd, and renowned golfers such as Joe Kirkwood and Peter Thomson were among the visitors. Delicensed, the hotel burned down in November 1960.
✍️ Jannyse Williams, author of Time Gentlemen, Please! Hotels of Woodend and the Surrounding District.
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