Friends and family, that’s what life is all about for Gail and Graham Wilesmith.
The couple run the Best Western Motel Farrington in Tumut, a “beautiful country town” perched on the northern edge of the spectacular Snowy Mountains, southwest NSW.
How they came to be in Tumut – famous for its autumn colour – is all about family.
“My husband and I were originally on the land – we had a wheat and sheep farm – but then moved into hospitality. We ran a motel for five years and learned the trade before we decided to buy one.
“Because we’re from Temora and have friends and family there we drew a 200km circle around the town and started to look for a motel we could buy and run.”
The rest is history as they say. They saw an opportunity in Tumut and haven’t looked back.
“We have been here for 20 years. It’s very hands on. Seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Now instead of sheep we have people.” Thankfully, Gail says she prefers people.
“Tumut’s a beautiful country town. We are really happy here, it’s a lovely community.
“When we arrived, we were surprised at how multi-cultural Tumut was for a country town.”
She attributes that to the fact that many of the migrants who worked on the Snowy Mountains Scheme in the 1950s and 60s were based in Tumut and decided to stay.
Gail and Graham raised two kids in the town and now have “four beautiful grandchildren (one grandson, 9, and three little girls aged 6, 4 and 3).
“They are our life really, they are very special and we spend as much time as possible with them.”
It makes sense then that the couple – who have now been working together for 30 years – run a “family oriented hotel.
“Stay here three or four times and you’re part of the family.
“Let’s face it in this industry you don’t have much of a social life because you’re working all the time so regular customers can become our friends.”