Olivers was established in 1869 by merchant Benjamin Naylor, and is recognised as one of Otago’s most significant heritage buildings, reinforced by its New Zealand Historic Places Trust category one classification.
Naylor saw the opportunity in the 1860s to open a store providing provisions to the many miners who flocked to the nearby goldfield. Called The Victoria Store, it was housed in what is now Olivers Restaurant and the Victoria Store Brewery.
Over the years and through a series of subsequent owners the complex expanded to form a group of eight stone buildings and structures, built in the vernacular style and spread over half a hectare of land on the corner of Sunderland and Naylor Streets, in the centre of Clyde.
With the support of NZ Historic Places Trust the current owners Andrea and David Ritchie have faithfully restored the traditional schist buildings. The homestead, built by Naylor for his family of seven children, along with the stables, coach and smoke houses have been restored and now offer boutique guest accommodation.
Benjamin Naylor made his mark in Clyde for his business acumen and became a significant local figure and property owner. Following his death the property was sold in 1909 by his wife Mary to another merchant, James Horn of Bannockburn. Naylor’s Victoria Store continued as a general store and drapery until the late 1960s when it was converted to a vet clinic by veterinary surgeon Ron Jackson.
The property passed through the hands of several owners but it was Fleur Sullivan who launched it into national prominence in 1977 when she opened a highly successful restaurant in Benjamin Naylor’s store, naming it Olivers. A prominent business and tourism identity, Fleur had earlier restored the old Dunstan Hotel in Clyde’s main street, and re-opened it as Dunstan House. She also created Olivers Lodge accommodation in the existing outbuildings and homestead and is credited with revitalising boutique tourism in the area.
The vision is to once again attain the national and international profile enjoyed by Olivers during the Sullivan years. Its integral part in the development of Clyde, combined with its architectural significance and notable tourism role, ensures the complex is well placed to make a substantial contribution during the next phase of its captivating story.