Crabtree Country Club
Crabtree is a picturesque valley nestled in the foothills of the West Wellington Range.
These days it’s a sleepy hamlet of farms and residential properties, but there was a time not so long ago when Crabtree boasted a school, a hall, church, and general store.
They have all disappeared with the passing of time. The devastasting fires of 1967 left Crabtree without a central hub; there was no place for people to meet and socialise.
When Russell and Deborah Mitchell first moved to Crabtree they made a few friends but still didn’t know many of their neighbours. When Russell had to leave work due to health issues he saw a counsellor to help him with his recovery. She asked him what he liked doing. He replied, ‘I like making things out of wood.’ So Russell talked to Deborah and the idea of building a bar in the shed began to take hold.
I like making things out of wood.
Russell had other passions as well. He had always enjoyed brewing his own beer, and he wanted to marry Deborah. So he made her an offer no woman could resist. If he built a proper bar and recreation room, they would hold their wedding in it.
Deborah accepted and they were married in 2010.
With such a great venue to offer hospitality Russell and Deborah regularly invited friends over to socialise, enjoying their role as hosts. More and more people began dropping in and neighbours were meeting each other. From there, says Russell, ‘it just snowballed’.
It just snowballed.
The Crabtree Country Club now welcomes people who live in the area to call in, say g’day and sample some of Russell’s excellent home-brew. There is a pool table and a dart board, or you can just relax at the bar and chat with Russell or Deborah, or anyone else who may be about.
The Crabtree Country Club is not a licensed premises and they do not sell alcohol although Russell and Deborah will gratefully accept donations towards buying brewing supplies. They want it to be a place where local people feel free to drop in and meet with friends for a drink on their way home from work or on the weekend.
Russell brews stout, lager, ginger beer, wheat beer and gluten-free beer. His specialty ‘Canadian Blonde’ is a mix between a lager and a draft, and he also makes his own port.
Russell says the club is mostly suited to the over 35s who are looking for quiet conversation and companionship in the Crabtree area. There is a wood fire for those cold winter evenings, a big TV screen and DVD selection. Children are welcome and a relaxed, respectful attitude is expected.
Crabtree Country Club has a Facebook page where they can be contacted or look for the blue shed on the corner of Crabtree and Cross Roads. There are no fixed regular opening hours. Russell sends a text message to patrons when the bar is open. Russell and Deborah both have jobs but can be found there most afternoons after 4pm.