From the very early gold mining days, the village of Great Western has had an extensive association with hotels and wineries.   Affectionately known as the Wine Village, many hotels also existed.Even though only one hotel is still remaining, old Stawell newspapers dating as far back as 1857 indicate a reference to 23 hotels and inns.   We have knowledge of where six of these premises were located, but we believe that 17 of the 23 premises may have just been set up as hotels in tents on the goldfields. Some of the names that we have come across are: Duke of Wellington Hotel, Hotel de Paris, Pilot Boat Hotel, Prince of Wales Hotel, Star Hotel, Ship Inn, The Bridge Inn, Masonic Hotel, Dunolly Hotel, Salingers Inn and the Western Turf Hotel.   The hotels that we have knowledge of their location are the current Great Western Hotel, which has variously been known as the Shakespeare/Exchange/Royal Exchange Hotel.   Also the Royal Mail Hotel in Main Street, the Bulls Head Hotel and the Half Way House in Stephenson Street, Raymonds Wine Shop on the Western Highway at Briggs Lane turn off and Harris' Bridge Inn in Red Bend Road (now Bests Road)Many wineries and vineyards have also existed in Great Western over the years, but only two remain: B.Seppelt & Sons and Bests vineyard.  

In recent years, all production has ceased at Seppelts. The cellar door is still operating, as well as tours of the underground drives, while weddings and receptions are still being carried out in the old cellars.   A more recent cellar door has been the establishment of Grampians Estate on the site of the old Salingers “Hocheim" winery. Grampians Estate purchased part of Seppelts vineyard and the grapes are processed off site. Bests are now the only operating winery/vineyard in Great Western.Our records also indicate the existence of many wineries and vineyards over the years, some of them being: the Perseverance vineyard, St George’s winery and vineyard, Coby's vineyard and wine cellar, St Nicholas vineyard and winery, Swiss vineyard, Daly's cellar, St Ethels vineyard, St Patricks winery, Salingers winery and vineyard, Hocheim vineyard and St Peter’s vineyard and winery.Among the better-known names associated with the wine industry in Great Western are Best, Seppelt, Irvine, Thomson, Preece, Blampied, Daly, Duscher, Grellet, Headdey, Hurley, Lloyd, Pierlot, Salinger, Skyrme, Trouette and Tschampion.

Thanks to the Stawell Historical Society for putting this information together. The Stawell Historical Society  is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10am-4pm. Contact 5358 3789 or email stawhist@bigpond.comCollage