96 MERCER STREET GEELONG, Greater Geelong City

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Victorian Heritage Register (VHR) Number


Heritage Overlay Number


Level of Significance



Extent of Registration

Historic Building No. 1162:
Terminus Hotel, 96 Mercer Street, Geelong, City of Greater Geelong.
To the extent of:
1. All of the building known as the Terminus Hotel marked B-1 on Plan 605998 endorsed by the Chairperson, Historic Buildings Council and held by the Director, Historic Buildings Council.
2. All of the land described in Memorial No. 264 Book 814 and Memorial No. 192 Book 897 marked L-1 on Plan 605998 endorsed by the Chairperson, Historic Buildings Council and held by the Director, Historic Buildings Council.
[Victoria Government Gazette No. G15 18 April 1996 p.964]

Statement of Significance

The Terminus Hotel was built in 1853-54 to a design by the architectural firm Snell & Kawerau. The building is a wedge-shaped, three storey stuccoed brick structure with a rounded corner.

The Terminus Hotel is of architectural, historical and social significance to Victoria.

The Terminus Hotel has architectural importance as an unusually sophisticated architectural style for a hotel of this period. The building, believed to be the first of Geelong's distinctive round-cornered hotels and demonstrating an early use of decorative brickwork, represents the more substantial hotels of the gold rush. The severity of the smoothly stuccoed surface is relieved by subtle detailing, including a decorative brick parapet wall, heavy bracketed cornice and the dentillated cornice moulding around the main entrance.

The Terminus Hotel has an important historical association with the Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company, established in 1850 to build a railway line from Geelong to Melbourne. The hotel, a large three storey building originally comprising 46 bedrooms and a ballroom, is symbolic of the importance of the railway in Victorian history. Its construction coincided with the commencement of the construction of the railway line and Edward Snell, engineer and architect for the Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company, was involved with both projects.

The first two hotel owners, Alfred Napoleon Gilbert and Edwin Hooper, were also shareholders of the company. The hotel's name, its prominent siting and its impressive scale and design are all hallmarks of the railway era.

The building is also historically significant for its association with the gold rush era when Geelong, an important port for the gold fields, witnessed a boom in its population and its commercial activity. The substantial building demonstrates the emergence of a more ambitious and sophisticated architectural design characteristic of the gold rush period.

Year Construction Started 1853
Architectural Style Victorian Period (1851-1901) Regency
Heritage Act Categories Registered place

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