Last drinks at the pubs of Williamstown

Michael Sneddon in the Prince Albert Hotel in Williamstown. Photo: Damjan Janevski. 206923_01

Goya Dmytryshchak

It’s a waiting game for everyone, says Michael Sneddon, as he stands in his shuttered Prince Albert Hotel.

The Williamstown publican also holds the lease on the Stags Head Hotel, both establishments among Williamstown’s original pubs and entwined in the suburb’s history.

Named after King William IV, the ’Sailor King, Williamstown already had three hotels by 1840, according to late historian Bruce Tait’s historical guide, Pubs of Williamstown.

The Prince Albert, trading since 1856, like the Stags built in 1887, has survived through war and depressions.

“They’ve both sat there for over a hundred years so hopefully can stay for another hundred,“ Mr Sneddon says.

“But, you know, we’ll have to see how everyone can get out of what’s going on at the moment.

“All staff have been stood down because nobody knows the time frame on it, and the sooner that all the staff can have that, the sooner they can hopefully be able to get some type of government assistance.

“You can plan for some things but something of this scale is a bit difficult to plan for.“

The pubs don’t have adjoining bottle shops to pick up the slack.

“The stock that we would hold is basically kegs … and a few wines,“ Mr Sneddon says.

“I don’t know how fully it’s sunk in but obviously there’s that many businesses impacted on such a large scale.

“You just think a bit wider and go, there’s so many people impacted.

“It’s just a waiting game at the moment. You’re just sort of walking around the venue and it’s a bit weird.“