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Historic Dunstan House Brought Back To Life As The Heart Of Clyde

The small town of Clyde has had its historic heart brought back to life, as iconic Dunstan House gets ready to welcome new custodians.

Owned for the past five years by Meredith and Ian Kerrisk, the hotel, cafe and accommodation is once again a thriving community hub, frequented by locals and visitors and proudly showcasing not only its history and hospitality but the best of local produce too. Now it is ready for new owners to continue its legacy.

The beautiful old schist building was constructed in Georgian style by local craftsmen in 1900, on the site of the previous Dunstan Hotel, which was founded in 1862 as part of the Central Otago goldrush, but burned down in 1898. The original cellar beneath the building remains to this day. It has always played an important part in Clyde’s history, and in the early years was a meeting place for miners who lived out on distant parts of the goldfields, as well as shelter and accommodation for travellers on long journeys in the region. The town itself was formerly called Dunstan, giving the hotel its name.

The original building had a dining, drawing and smoking room as well as a theatre, brass band and dancing girls. It was also the booking office and stop for Cobb&Co coaches that were transporting travellers around the country at that time, with a typical journey from Dunedin to Clyde taking three days.

Dunstan House was continuously used as a hotel before it was converted into flats and then fell into disrepair. It was restored back into a business in the 1960s and has had several iterations and owners before being purchased by the Kerrisks.

Meredith Kerrisk, who grew up in Clyde, says she always loved the old building but hadn’t actually set foot in it before it came onto the market.

“I always thought it would be fantastic to see it as a hub for the community as well as somewhere visitors can enjoy. We’ve worked to bring it back to being that heart for Clyde,” she says.

The hotel, which has a Grade 2 listing with the Historic Places Trust, has been restored to its full heritage glory, with the addition of sympathetically-designed modern conveniences. Its rooms are each decorated in a different style and named after renowned locals or people of note to the region. Dunstan House Cafe serves fresh, seasonal and local produce and wines from the Central Otago basin, making the most of the abundance to be found on its doorstep, and is a popular place for locals, travellers, cyclists on the Otago cycle trails and tourists.