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Kalkallo Hotel

Home > Melbourne > Accommodation | Food and Wine | Hotels | Pubs
by CassandraJoy (subscribe)
I write for Weekend Notes and I take photographs, usually sunsets and sunrises. Occasionally I include my photos in my articles. I like to promote Geelong, and activities around Geelong.
Published November 15th 2015
I often do a road trip up the Hume Highway and I always promise myself that I am going to stop in for a meal at the Kalkallo Hotel. I finally stopped in on my way back to Geelong a few weeks ago.
Front Verandah, Kalkallo Hotel
Front Entrance to Kalkallo Hotel

I had an ice cold pot of beer while I waited for my meal. I wandered through the pub, taking photos of different sections of the pub. Then I went outside to the beer garden to enjoy my cold beer. The hotel has a funtion room at the back, a bar, a small bottle shop (entrance from the highway) and a bistro / dining area, plus the beer garden. The owners have just built the outdoor beer garden and were starting to do renovations to the hotel when I dropped in. I was there on the weekend of October 24th / 25th 2015.
The beer garden
Beer Garden beside the Kalkallo Hotel

I ordered a chicken schnitzel with salad and chips. It was a big meal and I couldn't eat it all. My chicken was very tasty as was the salad. The chips were crisp, just the way I like them. All up it was a lovely meal, very filling, and it did me for the journey home to Geelong.
Lunch at the Kalkallo Hotel

Touted as the most visible pub in Victoria, the Kalkallo Hotel is on the Hume Highway, just before you hit the outer suburbs of Melbourne. It relies on passing trade as people head up and down the Hume Highway.
Another view of the Bar
The Bar, Kalkallo Hotel

History of the Kalkallo Hotel

The Kalkallo Hotel (originally named the Donnybrook Hotel) is located at 1324 Hume Highway, Kalkallo. It is the last hotel surviving from the group of hotels which once served the pedestrian and horse drawn traffic on the Sydney Road between Beveridge and Campbellfield. The Kalkallo hotel - present day - is built on the same site of an earlier building (circa 1860).

The Kalkallo Hotel is historically important as it has associations with the important overland route - the Sydney Road. It is the most substantial building remaining in Kalkallo and the only continuing commercial property. It has been in its present state, on the current site, for the past 70 years.

The Kalkallo Hotel has its origin in the nineteenth century, and was rebuilt in the 1920s or 1930s. The original 1920s outline has been retained, with some English elements to the building: half timbering in the gables, tall, narrow, small paned windows at the rear of the building. There are four prominent brick chimneys above the roof line - they have been rendered. The bull-nosed verandah at the front of the building was reconstructed. The previous verandah was low-pitched and had large rendered brick pillars and balustrades.
The Function Room, Kalkallo Hotel
The Huge Function Room

History of Donnybrook / Kalkallo

In 1838, as part of an original survey, the Donnybrook Village Reserve was set aside, and the street pattern was set by about 1850.
The Cafe Style Chairs and Tables
Old Style Cafe Chairs, Front of the Hotel

By the mid 1870s most of the land was well established agricultural and pastoral freehold. Village settlements had formed at the railway line at Donnybrook and on the main north and south roads.
Dining Room, Kalkallo Hotel
The Dining Room of the Kalkallo Hotel

One of the first hotels to be built was The Fountain Inn in 1841. It provided accomodation for travellers and for their horses. The Fountain Inn was located in Kalkallo.

Other hotels erected during this time were Rocky Waterholes Hotel, Thane's Hotel, the Happy Home and the Old Happy Home.
The Bar of the Kalkallo Hotel
The Bar at the Kalkallo Hotel

The name Donnybrook is an Irish term for a drunken all-in brawl. The name perhaps reflects the character of the hotels in Donnybrook and Kalkallo at the time.

The Donnybrook Hotel was opened by John Johnston before 1863. (The first rate records were available in 1863.) When John Johnston moved to Wallan in 1865, Loughlinm McLean and John Abbott ran the Donnybrook Hotel for short periods of time. From 1870 to 1890 the Donnybrook Hotel was run by the Stevens family. In 1890 the licensee of the Donnybrook Hotel was Celia Phillips.

The Donnybrook Hotel went through a few rebuilds and alterations. Peter Crichton (possibly about 1930) built a store and post office beside the hotel. His son James ran the business after Peter Crichton, and Peter's granddaugher Mrs Olsen also ran the business.

Other owners were Jock and Margaret Congram. The hotel was sold to Paulos after Jock's death. Paulos replaced the old building with a modern café. The hotel's name was changed during the 1970s to the Kalkallo Hotel, to avoid confusion with the hotel at Donnybrook.

The hotel is in good condition, although there is not much of the original 19th century building left to be seen. It is a significant feature of the village of Kalkallo, as not much else remains standing, and the Kalkallo Hotel is possibly the only commercial building still remaining in Kalkallo.

Kalkallo is an example of an early rural town settlement. It has many cultural heritage sites of significance including churches, hotels, monuments, bridges, waterways and grasslands.

In 1948, after requests for a post office from residents, the Kinlochewe Post Office opened on 1st November 1850. It was located in the Robert Burns Inn on Summerhill Road and Sydney Road.

The post office was moved and renamed Donnybrook Post Office in 1854. Then it was renamed Kalkallo in 1874. The post office closed in 1971.

The town of Kalkallo boomed during the gold rush years as travellers made their way up Sydney Road. Kalkallo had seventeen accomodation houses, a police station, a jail and a court house. The duplication of the Hume Highway and the opening of the north-east railway created a huge decline in the population.
In the beer garden, Kalkallo Hotel
Sitting in the Beer Garden, Kalkallo Hotel

The current township of Kalkallo was originally named Donnybrook. The town of Donnybrook is now located near Merri Creek and the railway line. Even before the current Kalkallo (getting confused yet?) was called Donnybrook, the site of Kalkallo and the Kalkallo Hotel was called Rocky Water Holes. The place was first settled in 1840, and the inn was built in 1841. A church was opened in 1848 and a school was built in 1855. Rocky Water Holes became Donnybrook in 1853.

In 1872, the railway line opened a station close to the Kalkallo site. The railway station and the new village were named Donnybrook. The original town was named Kalkallo two years later.

The St John's Presbyterian Church at Kalkallo and a bridge over the Merri Creek between Kalkallo and Donnybrook are both on the Register of the National Estate.
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Why? Great food, great service, cold beer, breaks up your drive, rest, eat, drink
When: Monday to Sunday 10.30am til late
Phone: (03)9745 2206
Where: 1324 Hume Hwy Kalkallo Vic 3064
Cost: cost of meals and drinks
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