HISTORY

Speargrass Inn was originally called Speargrass Hotel, after the district in which it was built (Speargrass Flat). The region went on to be named Limerick, Bald Flat and Fruitlands, after an abortive attempt at fruit growing in the frost prone area. This area has now become a well renowned farming district.

The first recorded operation of the hotel was Mr H McKenzie, who began in 1871. In 1879 the hotel was owned by Hugh Crossan, who discovered a gold bearing reef on the Old Man Range and mined it with Frank Cray until the gold ran out. He then returned to the hotel in 1884 and five years later, a fire started in the upstairs part of the building, causing great damage. The stables which are across the road were eventually altered and made into a private residence.

The hotel then passed through various owners during the next 20 years as a store and boarding house. The hotel finally closed in 1909 and the building fell into disrepair after 1954.

In 1986 a large restoration project of the Hotel was undertaken by Jan Rasmussen along with Bert and Annette Kemp. This was a huge undertaking and opened a year later as the Fruitland's Cafe and Gallery. This developed into a thriving business winning both tourism and cuisine awards.

Since 1999, new owners have added B&B accommodation units. The business has since gone through a succession of rebranding: Fruitland Country Lodge, Café & Gallery and later to be known as the Fruitlands Country Lodge.

Local residents Jackie van der Voort & James Russell recently purchased the business (August 2009) and have since upgraded the decor throughout. Speargrass Inn reopened mid October, offering lunch and evening dining, accommodation, a cottage industry along with summer markets. The focus for the business is to create lasting memories with family and friends while enjoying locally grown seasonal cuisine.