The cherry harvest is nearly upon us and accommodation in the small towns of Alexandra and Clyde are already quickly filling up. For South Islanders, these small towns are a popular summer destination to bring their camper-vans, go boating, and spend the days in the sun. So, if you are wanting a spot in a campground you should hurry!
Dunstan Hills Blog
Views from Lilly
From this most inland region comes fruit full of intense flavours that are widely regarded as among the best in the world, and possibly among the southern most regions where stone and pip fruit can be successfully grown.
The combination of soil and climate means that Central Otago is especially suited to the growing of apricots and cherries. The quality of these certainly matches fruit from anywhere else.
GENERATIONS OF EXPERIENCE
Feraud, an immigrant from France, planted the first fruit tress in the district. In 1864 he established a small orchard near Clyde. Unfortunately, as the only means of access to the market at Dunedin was via bullock wagon over 210 kilometres of marginal track, his business and the industry did not thrive at this time.
However, with the advent of improved transport (road and rail) and the use of irrigation the growing of horticultural crops became a profitable proposition. In 2007 there are 1375 ha. planted in horticultural crops, predominantly stone fruit such as cherry and apricot. Pipfruit, such as apples and pears, has progressively become less profitable and planted areas and the number of growers and people employed has declined.
Yet growing fruit in Central Otago is not for the faint-hearted, they have to be exceptional growers to grow good fruit or they simply won’t succeed.
YOU WON’T FIND IDLENESS AMONG THEM
Spend time with any fruit grower in Central Otago and you will discover they are a hard working breed who have chosen to carve out a living from this earth. Their heritage of toughness comes from the solidarity of surviving this harsh climate together. Each season they dice with nature knowing their trees need precious care to help them survive.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
Due to its harsh cold winters and warm dry summers Central Otago is best placed of all areas in New Zealand to produce fruit with the minimal amount of chemical assistance. Low residue and organic production systems and marketing programmes that emphasis the quality rather than quantity of Central’s fruit will enable a niche industry to maintain and increase its viability.
Here is a very nice and interesting website page with the main historic building in Clyde. Click HERE
Below are two main building example for Clyde; Dunstan Hotel and Benjamin Naylor’s store which is now a very popular refined restaurant (Olivers).
The hotel is built on a site which was occupied by one of Clyde’s earliest tent hotels, the Hotel United States. It was built by the Buckingham family who shortly after moved to Arrowtown when gold was found there in 1862. In 1868 Mr Cox built a handsome wooden hotel on the site and named it the Port Phillip. It was destroyed by fire in 1903 but was rebuilt in stone and renamed the Commercial Hotel. A few days later a fire gutted the interior but because the town was booming and the stone structure was undamaged, it was rebuilt. Over the years the hotel changed hands many times but its exterior remained the same. In the 1960s, an impressive stone building next door, Bell’s Biscuit Factory, was demolished and replaced by a concrete block building as a new bar. In 1987 when the main street was used as a set for the film Illustrious Energy the stone and mud brick facades were added, using materials from the old part of Cromwell that was to be flooded by Lake Dunstan.
This large complex has survived almost intact. In 1862 Benjamin Naylor arrived in Upper Dunstan bringing a wagon load of supplies and on this site, erected a tent as a store for the thousands of miners flooding into Clyde.
He was born at Worksop, Nottinghamshire, England, in 1830 and trained as a blacksmith. In 1851 he sailed to the Victorian gold fields in Australia. He was lured to Otago when Gabriel Read discovered the huge gold field in Lawrence in 1861 where he set up a store before shifting to the Dunstan gold fields.
In 1863 the tent store was replaced by a wood and corrugated iron building, the Victoria Store, with accommodation attached. The existing stone building dates from 1870. Eventually Naylor purchased the land from the store to the corner (Naylor Street) and built stables, coach sheds, a smoke house, a large store for timber and iron and a gracious home. The home, complete with conservatory, servants quarters and a large underground coal and food storage cellar is still in its original condition – apart from the front of the house which was altered in 1929. The walls surrounding the property were built from stones salvaged from derelict buildings.
Naylor served four years as Mayor of the Clyde Borough and often entertained the then New Zealand Prime Minister, Richard Seddon (King Dick).
In 1925 the property was sold to Joseph and Sarah Davidson who partitioned the store with half remaining as a general store and the other as a drapery. The property remained in the Davidson family until the mid- 1960s. In 1977 it was bought by Fleur Sullivan and re-opened as Olivers Restaurant and Lodge. During the restoration many old treasures were found, including the day books dating back to 1864.