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The Stags Hotel: The Heart of Williamstown’s Football Tradition

In the charming suburb of Williamstown, Victoria, Australia, a unique tradition pulses at the heart of its community spirit. This tradition centres around The Stags Hotel, a local establishment that has become more than just a place for a pint. It’s where the soul of Williamstown’s football culture beats most vibrantly, especially on game days for the VFL Williamstown Football Club.

Pre-Game Rituals and The Short Walk

On weekends during the football season, an almost ceremonial gathering unfolds at The Stags Hotel. Here, locals and visiting team supporters alike converge in the early hours before the bounce of the ball. It’s a scene rich with anticipation and camaraderie, where pints and pots are shared, but more importantly, so are pre-game tactics and predictions. This isn’t just idle chatter; it’s a ritualistic sharing of hopes and strategies, a collective psyching-up before the clash to come.

But what truly sets this pre-game tradition apart is “The Short Walk.” This isn’t any ordinary stroll; it’s a communal journey that transforms the path from The Stags to the grounds on Morris Street into something of a pilgrimage. Fans walk shoulder to shoulder, their steps in unison, as they make their way to watch their local heroes battle it out on the field. The air is thick with excitement and unity—a tangible sense of belonging that only sports can foster.

The Game and Beyond

The Williamstown Football Club, affectionately known as ‘The Seagulls,’ has roots that delve deep into the town’s history. On game days, Morris Street becomes alive with passion and pride as fans gather at the stadium to support their team. Win or lose, the energy at these games is infectious, with every tackle cheered and every goal celebrated as if it were scored by each spectator themselves.

Post-Match Traditions

After the final whistle blows, regardless of the outcome on the field, “The Short Walk” reconvenes. This time, the journey back to The Stags Hotel carries with it the weight of the match—joyous strides for a win or contemplative steps in defeat. Yet, irrespective of the result, this walk back is emblematic of sportsmanship and community resilience.

Back at The Stags Hotel, fans gather once again to celebrate or commiserate. This post-match ritual is as much a part of the day as the game itself. Victories are toasted with jubilation while losses are met with consoling pats on the back and optimistic talk of “next time.” It’s here that you see the true spirit of Williamstown—a community united by love for their team and each other.

A Tradition That Endures

What makes these traditions surrounding The Stags Hotel so special is their testament to community spirit and love for local football. It goes beyond just watching a game; it’s about shared experiences, creating memories, and fostering a sense of belonging among all who participate.

For anyone looking to experience Australian rules football in its purest form—where passion for the game meets community spirit—Williamstown’s tradition of “The Short Walk” from The Stags Hotel to Morris Street is an experience not to be missed. It encapsulates not just a love for football but also showcases how sport can bring people together in meaningful ways.

So, whether you’re there to cheer on ‘The Seagulls,’ soak up local culture, or simply enjoy good company over a pint or pot at The Stags Hotel post-match, you’re participating in something far greater than just a game day ritual—you’re becoming part of Williamstown’s living history.

Go the Towners !

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About Us


Stags Head Hotel

One of Williamstown’s oldest watering holes, the Stag’s Head began life as a pub in 1859 when it was originally called the Shamrock Hotel by owners, the Brew family. It became the Stag’s Head Hotel in 1866/7 and has remained a favourite of locals and visitors alike ever since. Current custodians, the Bennett family are delighted to welcome you to the freshly restored “Stags” and aim to provide you with delicious food, excellent service and a great choice of beverages. We sincerely hope you enjoy your time here.

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