If you’re a sucker for a quaint weatherboard pub with a verandah or a heritage hotel full of character, the region has an abundance of historic haunts at which you can wet your whistle.

From spooky hauntings to bushranger cameos, the Daylesford and Macedon Ranges region has plenty of pubs that have worked their way into the pages of history. Next time you visit, be sure to stop in at these pubs with a past.


Since opening in 1868, the Kyneton Hotel has had many names (including Murphy’s Hotel and Newmarket Hotel) but it’s the name Ned Kelly that many associate with this beloved pub. As a teen, the infamous bushranger stayed on the premises for nine nights after being held for armed robbery at Kyneton lock-up. Just like Ned Kelly, you too can bed down in one of the hotel’s 14 rooms that have recently been refurbished.


Over the years, the rooms within Trentham’s famous weatherboard pub have been home to a general store, butcher, a dental office and accommodation for Cobb & Co travellers on their way to Blackwood. Several tragic deaths befell the early inhabitants of the hotel, giving rise to frequent ghost sightings. Then in 2005, fire ravaged the building. Thankfully, the Cosmo prevailed. Today, its dining room, front bar, gardens, wine cellar and store and function space are flourishing.

The Kyneton Hotel,
The Kyneton Hotel
First known photograph of Ned Kelly taken while on remand in Kyneton lock-up.
First known photograph of Ned Kelly taken while on remand in Kyneton lock-up.

THE 1860

The newest incarnation of this historic pub opened its doors to guests in December 2023, with the numerical name tipping its hat to the year in which this Romsey landmark first opened. In bygone years this building has served as a restaurant, café, tearoom, homewares store and a residence, but The 1860 has now gone back to its roots and is a place to raise a glass and have a feed. Pub classics (steaks, burgers and bangers & mash) are all represented on the menu but there’s also a few surprises, like marinated tofu tacos. Drops from Macedon Ranges wineries like Lyons Will Estate and Hunter Gatherer Winery make this a top place for tasting local wine too.


Since the early days of Woodend, a hotel of some sort has stood at the location of Holgate. When the previous wooden hotel burned down in the late 1890s, the brick building you see today was built. For a long time it was known as Keatings Hotel, until new owners took over in 2002. After slowly renovating the building (and adding a brewhouse, tap room and visitor centre) Natasha and Paul Holgate have managed to keep the legacy of the hotel alive while adding modern touches.

holgate uai
Holgate Brewhouse, Woodend


Known as Mack’s Hotel when it was established by Donald Mackay in 1870, the Lancefield Hotel has a long history of serving the community. While the building has changed over the years, many original features of the front bar and dining room remain. The community focus hasn’t changed either (the pub’s serving boards and cutlery boxes were made by the Lancefield Men’s Shed). There’s even a menu item named after the original publican – the Old Mack Burger.


Whether it’s a dramatic shootout or a vicious knife fight, a lot of action has gone down at Woodend’s historic Victoria Hotel. Built in the 1860s to capitalise on the gold mining boom, it was on New Year’s Eve in 1921 that a man named Edward Allison shot a patron at the hotel. Seven years later, the licensee of the hotel was stabbed by a group of men. Isabella Ames took over ownership in the 1920s, with the hotel being kept in the family for many decades. Her ghost is said to haunt the premises to this day.

The Victoria Hotel, photo by Kim Selby
The Victoria Hotel, photo by Kim Selby


This Chewton fixture known for its eye-catching vine-covered exterior will turn an impressive 170 years old this year. From holding celebratory balls to send-offs for World War One soldiers and industrial meetings for gold miners, the Red Hill Hotel has always been a community gathering place. Much has changed since this timeless beauty first opened, but more than a century and a half later this watering hole still knows how to provide cures for what ails you.


Built in 1865, this Blampied landmark is one of the oldest continuously licensed weatherboard pubs in Victoria. At one stage this quaint pub was known as The Manchester, but its current name is a nod to the Swiss-Italian families who migrated to the area in the late 1800s. While the original pub would have offered simple ales and meals for farmers, gold miners and travellers coming and going from Ballarat, these days you’ll find pasture-fed steaks, craft beer and fine wine on the menu.

Swiss-Mountain Hotel, Blampied
Swiss-Mountain Hotel, Blampied

About the author

Jo Stewart 2
Jo Stewart
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Jo Stewart is a freelance writer and book author who lives in a 100-year-old workers’ cottage in Kyneton. Her work has been published in Monocle, International Traveller, The Age and The Saturday Paper. She is also the author of That’s So 90s, an illustrated book dedicated to the pop cultural wonders of the 1990s. When not writing feature articles about food, music, travel, culture and sustainability, Jo likes listening to live music, spending time in nature, drinking good wine and beer, and hunting for vintage treasures in op shops.