Dunstan House, which is a grade 2 Historic Places Trust listed building, has been maintained in its original form, with the sympathetic addition of modern conveniences.
This historic accommodation venue has its origins dating back to 1863 when the original Dunstan Hotel known then as "The Dunstan" was erected on this site. Built from weatherboard with arched windows and wooden quoins on the corners, it included a dining, drawing and smoking room as well as a theatre for Saturday night entertainment complete with brass band and dancing girls.
It also functioned as the booking office for Cobb & Co's horse drawn coaches laden with passengers. Accommodation, stabling and meals were provided for the 3-day trip to Dunedin or the tough journey up to Arrowtown or Queenstown.
This building, the present Dunstan House, was rebuilt on the original site after fire destroyed the old hotel. It was completed in 1900 and was known as the new Dunstan Hotel. The contractor George Holloway used stone mason Thomas Wilkinson to work with schist stone quarried from the gorge end of Clyde. Albert Fountain the staircase builder and joiner, sourced native hardwood kauri timber from the Upper Wanaka region which he used to handcraft the beautiful central stairway on site.
While originally built with just a small "Juliet" balcony above the front doors, it quickly became apparent that with the harsh summer heat guests needed somewhere comfortable and shaded to sit and enjoy the views, so a full-length veranda was added and remains today.
The imposing Georgian style 2 story building was the first of its kind in Central Otago and continued its important role as the social gathering point for the thousands of miners and early settlers working and frequenting the new Clyde district.
Accommodation, meals, refreshments and entertainment were provided throughout the gold rush days, until the doors of the Hotel closed in 1937. The numbers of patrons had dwindled by that time as the gold rush was over and Clyde had become a small rural town.
The name "Dunstan Hotel" was then sold to the owners of the Commercial Hotel which is nearby on the corner of Matau and Sunderland Street, and still uses the name Dunstan Hotel today.
The building went through a period of neglect until the 1960's when it was purchased by Fleur Sullivan and partially restored for use as a back packers and antique store, now using the name Dunstan House.
It was then sold on and over the following decades it was both a private home and a B&B Lodge with various owners until it was purchased by Will Keely in the 1990's. It was then modernised with ensuites fitted and a restaurant opened in the old bar and billiard room area downstairs.
This work was instrumental in ensuring Dunstan House was brought back to its original grandeur, providing wonderful heritage accommodation with an ambiance of yesteryear. It now includes WiFi, central heating and modern bathrooms for all the comforts today's travellers expect.
John and Maree Davidson purchased Dunstan House in 2005 and played host to thousands of guests and visitors, while maintaining the elegance. They also continued to ensure the buildings future by completing earthquake strengthening work.
Meredith and Ian Kerrisk, the current owners, purchased Dunstan House in 2018. They have taken on the responsibility of ensuring this grand historic building hosts many more travellers and guests with comfort and elegance, combined with a unique historic experience.
Meredith is a "local" girl having grown up in Clyde, living in Miners Lane just a short distance away from Dunstan House. She remembers walking past it each day on her way to and from school and loving its grandeur. Having an extensive background in hospitality, Meredith's family have owned a bakery and restaurant as well as a successful catering business. She worked throughout New Zealand in hospitality management before she and Ian returned to Central Otago. Owning Dunstan House and being back in Clyde is a dream come true for Meredith.
Ian is originally from Taranaki and a proud "Naki boy" but was brought to Central Otago by Meredith and fell in love with the area and lifestyle. Ian spent 37 years working as a Police officer latterly as the Senior Sergeant in charge of Central Otago, before retiring to take over Dunstan House. Ian, who describes himself as a "people person" is loving the life change, meeting and hosting guests from all around the world and is firmly settled in Clyde.