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Published May 1st 2017
Escape to the Valley for some luxury
Dotted throughout our fair country, seemingly not very far apart, are buildings of community, buildings that once had lives as churches or schools which have now become victims of urbanisation and transportation leaving them derelict, desolate and devoid of the character that they once held. Well, that is unless they happen to be the White Hut Chapel in South Australia's own Clare Valley.
The White Hut Methodist Church was built in 1860 to serve a new community that had settled at White Hut, about 5km northeast of the township of Clare. White Hut was too close to Clare to think about building shops, but a church, which doubled as the local school while the real school was being built, a hall and a cemetery seemed to be enough to meet the initial needs to this farming community.
Roll forward a few years, and small schools and churches are closed across SA, with many falling to rack and ruin as original owners sought to relieve themselves of operating and maintenance expenses. However before falling into total disrepair, some, like the White Hut Methodist Church, made their ways into more caring hands, hands in this case that would convert the once popular church into award winning self-contained semi-luxurious accommodation that is now known as the White Hut Chapel.
Today's White Hut Chapel consists of the restored original building which houses the main part of the accommodation with the king size bed complete with luxury linen featuring near the former double-doored entrance, and a large TV, surround sound system, and period furniture holding firm at the other end of the building.
An extension to the building adds some amenities including a kitchen / dining room complete with large fridge, stove and microwave, a large laundry and a toilet / shower with luxury towels and heated towel rails. Both rooms come complete with reverse cycle air-conditioning, a near necessity in the depths of a Clare Valley winter.
Outside the chapel lies a Weber BBQ, a comfortable outdoor table and chairs, and a large paved area which is suitable for any range of activities including a game of chess using the giant outdoor chess pieces or just relaxing an enjoying the serenity alongside the quiet country lane that is home to the White Hut Chapel.
At the rear of the chapel, with access from the side road, is the White Hut Cemetery, a cemetery which has around 50 headstones, many of them from the late 1800's, with the most recent one being in 2016. A quick tour of the cemetery sees the names Pascoe and Roach, both early pioneers of this land feature strongly, while the sole war grave on the site commemorates the war service given to Australia by AR Hyde.
The White Hut Chapel belongs to Clare Valley Cabins, a business set on 52 acres of natural bushland and featuring 8 self-contained cabins, and the romantic Chapel. Each of the accommodation houses are pet friendly, and are spread across part of the property in order to ensure neighbours are rarely heard, while the remainder of the property features a 2km perimeter walk which passes many old gum trees, a creek and a number of items of discarded farmland machinery.
The White Hut Chapel and Clare Valley Cabins are located on Hubbe Road at Stanley Flat, 500 metres away from the Riesling Trail and the Mawson Trail, and just a few kilometres away from some of the best wineries, cellar doors and scenic drives in South Australia. Accommodation at White Hut Chapel starts at $140 per weeknight, with weekday and weekend packages available, and discounts on offer for those who book direct. For further details, give Erica a call on 61 8 8842 1155 or check out their website or Facebook page.
An interesting find Steve. I love this area and have realatives living near by at Riverton. Restored buildings certainly make an interesting place to stay althoug I admit to some trepidation at staying so close to a cemetary.