How we started

The sand and gravel pits in Plenty Road were not a promising site for a hotel. Preston Council had used the pits for road making, and by the 1960s all that was left was a large hole. The site had been abandoned for many years, seemingly with little prospect of redevelopment. Then along came John Stoddart. When the Housing Commission’s Summerhill estate began, Stoddart saw a business opportunity, and more importantly thought the pit site would provide the perfect location for a hotel. Preston Council was probably relieved that the otherwise unusable site would be utilised.

Stoddart built the Summerhill Hotel and invested thousands of dollars in landscaping the surrounding area. In 1968, further extensions added reception facilities to the hotel. The 1960s were to see many of Darebin’s hotels undergo change. The rise in popularity of drive-in bottle shops forced many of the older hotels to renovate, including the Junction Hotel and the Croxton Park Hotel.

In contrast, the owners of the Council Club Hotel simply demolished the old hotel and built a new one in Cramer Street. With the craze for all things modern and disdain for the old, the newer hotels such as the Summerhill Hotel, the Olympic and the Reservoir Hotel enjoyed instant popularity over their ageing competitors.

By the 1970s many hotels were suffering a downturn. The Summerhill was beginning to look dated; worse than this, it was slowly subsiding into the unstable ground. The instability may have damaged utilities such as gas and electricity, which in turn may have contributed to the fire which destroyed the hotel. The Target Hotels Company considered that the site had further potential, and in 1996 received a liquor licence and rebuilt the Summerhill Hotel. It includes a bistro, public bar and entertainment facilities.


12/830 Plenty Road Reservoir 3073
(03) 9471 3255


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© The Summerhill Hotel 2016. All Rights Reserved.

The Summerhill encourages Responsible Gambling.

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