Former pub now a family home

The 154-year-old Clarks Junction property which formerly contained a hotel, pub and cafe, is now...
The 154-year-old Clarks Junction property which formerly contained a hotel, pub and cafe, is now a family home. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
Boisterous yarns of local farmers have been swapped for the excited chatter of children, now that the former Clarks Junction hotel, pub and cafe has been sold to a young family as part of a residential lifestyle block.

The 12ha block was bought by Dunedin resident Gary Yates, simply because it was quieter and cheaper to buy than land in Dunedin City itself.

He said he also wanted his young family to grow up in a rural country area, and to have some farm animals to raise.

"It’s for my kids and my wife. I want them to have a better lifestyle."

While some farmers were sad to see the pub closed, Mr Yates raised a glimmer of hope by saying he would not discount turning the place back into a pub in the far future.

"But that won’t happen any time soon. I wouldn’t get your hopes up.

"For now, it will be my family home," he said.

It is the second time the property has changed hands in the past two years.

In January 2019, couple Tony Bennett and Tania Proffit bought what was then the Clarks Junction Hotel on State Highway 87, halfway between Outram and Middlemarch, and renamed it Clarks Junction Cafe Bar.

Before that, it was owned by Adrian and Gillian Bardrick, who sold it when they retired after 21 years behind the bar.

The pub has been closed since lockdown last year.

Earlier this year, neighbour and Mt Gowrie Station owner Jim Macdonald said it was a great loss to the community.

"It’s had an awful lot of stories told in it and a lot of good times — it’s a damn disappointment."

He researched the history of the pub to co-write the book Up The Hill, which was published in 2017.

The pub opened in 1867 and was registered as Clarks Junction Hotel by John Clark at the Taieri Licensing Court in 1878.

The pub burnt down in 1930 and was rebuilt in 1932 and had remained open until lockdown.

The Yates family will now create a new chapter in the site’s history.

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