When Sherry Jones moved from Gippsland to Brisbane in 1980 she needed work.
So, the mother of three applied for a housekeeping role at the Best Western Sunnybank Star Motel, got the job and – almost 40 years and three owners later – is still there, the beating heart of the place.
“I’m in my 70s and not ready to retire yet,” she says. “I’m very happy to be trotting in and out and am here whenever they want me. I’m really just part of the family.”
These days Sherry works in reception, and has done for many years. It suits her friendly, can-do personality.
“I am the one who deals with all the issues. I know the place inside out and am very aware of every little thing about the property.”
Sherry has certainly seen a lot of changes since arriving at Sunnybank, both at the motel and the local neighbourhood.
“When I started here there were 24 rooms, we now have 60.” She even owned a small share of the business at one point in partnership with a previous owner before they sold three years ago.
Sunnybank has also undergone a dramatic transformation, evolving into one of one of Brisbane’s major Chinese and Asian communities.
“It’s very multi-cultural and our guests love it. There’s so many restaurants you can get whatever you want – Japanese, Chinese – you name it.”
The suburb is also well-connected to the Brisbane CBD with dedicated bus lanes cutting the travel time to less than 15 minutes.
Thoughts of slowing down occasionally cross Sherry’s mind but are quickly banished.
“I love it,” she says.
“Every year I think I’ll retire, then I have a couple of days off and think ‘what am I doing, I’m so bored’.”