Living in Eurobodalla: What brings you here

Published: 19 September 2023

The Franklins may be newcomers to the Eurobodalla but they have lovingly taken on one of Moruya’s most historically significant, landmark buildings. They share their story in our regular feature about the shire’s business owners – the entrepreneurs, the risk takers, the visionaries who keep this beautiful shire of ours changing for the better.

Canberra couple Suellen and Michael Franklin moved to Moruya for its community-feel and a dream of running a bed and breakfast. Inspired by Suellen’s parents’ bed and breakfast in Yass, they fell in love with the idea as a retirement plan.

In 2020, they purchased the heritage Post and Telegraph building that corners Page and Campbell streets. The Franklins reside downstairs and offer three rooms upstairs for adult guests.

The building was established in 1887 – during the era of horseback mail services. It was sold to private owners in 1997 and converted to a bed and breakfast. Suellen and Michael fell in love with its charm and set themselves a one-year plan to test the waters.

If they didn’t enjoy being business owners, they’d turn it into a lovely home. “It turns out we absolutely love it,” Michael said.

Living in a building that’s 136 years old has its leaks and creaks. Suellen and Michael knew it would take some effort to get the place how they wanted, so they created a five-year business plan and got stuck into renovations.

A new roof and a whole lot of paint got them started, then came a new kitchen, refurbished hardwood floors, fresh curtains, carpets and interior decoration that pays special attention to local art and heritage.

“An old building takes commitment – it’s a lot of work to maintain it. It has been worth it. It’s lovely to see how important the building is to locals. People walking past have stopped in to tell us their childhood stories from when it was a post office,” Suellen said.

Michael hopes the building stays well after their time. “We’re only temporary custodians of something like this, we feel it belongs to the community,” he said.

Another effort worth the mile for Suellen and Michael is showing off local produce and art to their guests. Michael is the curator and cook of their breakfast menu.

“We’ve found people really buy into local produce. We love to include as many local suppliers as we can,” he said.

Suellen set herself a mission to feature local artists throughout the building. “I like that visitors get the opportunity to see the amazing talent here.”

With a love for art, Suellen found herself volunteering at the Bas and embedding herself in the local SAGE food growing community.

“We wanted to move to a place that was more of a community and Moruya has really ticked that box for us. There’s an atmosphere and community feel where people look you in the eye and say good morning or good afternoon and there’s always something happening – more things to do than we thought,” Suellen said.

Running a business has been a fast learning curve for the couple and after three years hosting guests, they’ve noticed slumps in business as Eurobodalla’s tourism peaks and troughs.

“People don’t seem to be spending as they’re worried about rising costs and interest rates. But we’re hoping to see that change come the start of next year,” Michael said.

Michael said a lot of their guests were people passing through, who are surprised by how much they can see and do in the area.

“They end up coming back to stay for two to three nights. We also get bookings from a lot of medical specialists and people coming to Moruya for a business purpose,” he said.

During the quieter times, Suellen and Michael carry on with landscaping and renovations. The ideas are endless for the couple whose next project is a coffee station, fireplace and beverage area in the guest lounge.

Visit their website or follow @postandtelegraphboutique on Instagram to see what Suellen and Michael get up to.

Don’t miss out on Council news and events, subscribe to our monthly email newsletter.