Now this is no ordinary gathering outside the hotel in Duvauchelles, but the wedding of my ancestor, Edward Joyce, storekeeper of Duvauchelles, previously from Congleton, Cheshire and Mary Elizabeth Fitton, adopted daughter of the Cooper family, who are the local publicans in at the time in Duvauchelles.

There is a full account of the wedding (over a column in length) from The Akaroa Mail, Tuesday, November 5, 1889. It even details the gifts given by the guests.

Duvauchelles Bay

Coach stop at Duvauchelles Bay on way to Akaroa.
Hilltop Hotel about 1886.

Hilltop Hotel.

Hilltop Hotel
Postcard sent 1908.

This page was last updated: March 2, 2016

Hilltop Hotel looking towards Akaroa.
Looking at the group of photos and the surrounding pines, this one must be pre 1900.

Onawe Penninsula in Akaroa Harbour.

At Hilltop Hotel.

Onawe Penninsula.

Onawe Penninsula in Akaroa Harbour.
Postcard sent 1910.

Overlooking Little River township
(for more Little River Photos)

Akaroa Harbour
(for more Akaroa Photos)

The tavern lies just below Barry’s Pass, which was named after a shepherd who settled in the bay at the foot of the hill in 1847. In those days Banks Peninsula was largely covered in stands of native timber, but by the turn of the century it had been virtually clear-felled and milled, mainly to supply lumber for the buildings of Lyttleton and Christchurch. But what we’ve never seen we can’t miss and I love the peninsula the way it is; one of New Zealand’s magic places with its secret valleys, remote bays and the old stock routes that trace the contours of its scoria hills.

The coach road from Christchurch to Akaroa, completed in 1871, was opened the next year to Cobb & Co’s coach service which soon added Hilltop Hotel to the string of other coaching inns along the route. Then the railway came to Little River in 1886 and that boosted the hotel’s business further, bringing many travellers to the peninsula settlements. I’ve seen a historic photograph which marks the decline of the stage coach era. It was taken in 1910 and shows a coach with its horse outside the old Hilltop Hotel (a pretty building, I should have loved to have painted it). The first motorized transport service over Barry’s Pass started that year.

First built in 1872 by James Garwood. Burned down April 7th, 1931. The hotel was a stopover in the coach and horse days. Then the drovers stayed when they brought stock out to the rail at Little River. Joy Tarling's grandfather, Harry Bell, bought the licence on 15th November 1920. The freehold has remained in the family ever since.

Prior to 1920 there had been eight owners. Joy Tarling's parents lived here until 1951 then it was leased out. She have been there since 1990 and her children are the fourth generation to live there.

Akaroa Mail 28 Mar 1893

Akaroa Mail 16 Nov 1920

Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, 14 April 1931

The Hill Top Hotel, totally destroyed by fire last week, was an
accommodation house which has been a welcome harbour for horsemen and travellers for over sixty years. It was first built in about 1870 by Mr Garwood at one time a store-keeper in Akaroa. Mr Garwood did not occupy the hotel and the first licencee was Mr Haines, father of Mr Edward Haines of Barry's Bay. The next licensee was Mr Brookes, who also owned the Duvauchelle hotel, which was burned down during his ownership. Later Mr
Robert Paton took over the Hill Top and he was followed by Messrs W. Newton, W. Coombs, J. Vial, H. Bell, J. Bisman, and J. Petty. The hotel was built before the Main Road was formed right through, Little River to Akaroa and when it was only a riding track. When the coaches ran between Christchurch
and Akaroa, before the Little River railway was completed, the Hill Top was one of the stops for change of horses, another being at Wascoels, Birdlings Flat and another Tai Tapu. During Mr Paton's time the hotel was considerably improved and added to and during his time it ceased to be a changing place for horses.

Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, 9 June 1899
Transfer Hill-Top Hotel, R. Paton to S. Mulhern

Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, 18 April 1902

Hill Top Hotel, I BEG to notify that I have taken the Hill Top Hotel,
Barry's Pass, from Mrs Mulhearn, and intend to make it as comfortable and convenient a house of call as possible. During my long service as guard on the Little River train I have thoroughly learnt the wants of the Travelling Public; ARTHUR JONES, Proprietor Hill Top Hotel.

Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, 29 June
Mr W. NEWTON Hill Top Hotel, Barry's Pass.

Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, 9 June 1911

Applications for licensee as under, were granted  - Hill Top Hotel, Barry's Bay. W. Newton

Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, 18 October 1918

Mr W. COOMBS, Hill Top Hotel, Barry's Pass

Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, 12 June
Transfers were granted in respect to the Hill-top Hotel (Akaroa) from J James Bell to James Smith Vial (Mr Sargent). Accommodation license, Hill-top Hotel, James Smith Vial.

Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, 1 June 1928

Two recent changes in licenses of the Hill Top hotel, and the Hotel Metropole, Akaroa, have taken place. Mr G. Petty has taken over the Hill Top hotel from Mr J. Bisman, who has held the license for three or four years. Mr Quested, of Timaru, has taken over the Metropole Hotel, Akaroa, from Mrs Wedderell, who has held the license for about two years. Both new licensees have taken possession.

Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, 4 September 1931

An application adjourned from the annual meeting was received for a renewal, of the accommodation ; license for the Hill-top Hotel, Barry's Bay. G. M. Petty, said his client wished to complain of the delay on the part of the owner of the premises in erecting a building to replace the one destroyed by fire on April 7th. At present a temporary license was granted in respect of a building which, contained only a bar and a sleeping place for the licensee and his wife. There was no accommodation whatever for the travelling public. The new building had been commenced but the work was proceeding very slowly, only two carpenters being employed. The chairman said the committee had received a letter from a landowner on the Peninsula complaining that there was now no accommodation at the Hill-top for drovers. There would soon be a good deal of stock on the road, and drovers would require accommodation at night. The chairman added that the loss of the hotel was causing a good deal of inconvenience to the travelling public.