Nathan, Calem, Carrissa , Jazmine, Tristan and Blake Roberts have just taken over the lease to the Jackie Howe Motel, still owned by Justin and Trish Roberts.
Nathan, Calem, Carrissa , Jazmine, Tristan and Blake Roberts have just taken over the lease to the Jackie Howe Motel, still owned by Justin and Trish Roberts. Emma Boughen

Family takes up Jackie Howe Motel lease

FAMILY was the driving force behind the Roberts family's move to Warwick and taking over of the lease for the Jackie Howe Motel.

Just over three weeks ago the family of six traded in their home of almost 12 years at Rosewood for a life as managers of one of Warwick's most iconic motels, which had spent 18 months on the market.

"When Jazmine (14 months) came along Carrissa was either going to have to stay home or we put Jazmine in daycare," said Carrissa's husband Nathan Roberts.

"This allows us to work from home - it's a better environment for the kids."

Mrs Roberts said the family had looked at the Jackie Howe motel some years back but didn't take it up because it wasn't the right time.

"So when we saw it again I thought it must be a sign and my sister and her husband (Wendy and Bernie Ryan) live here," she said.

While in Rosewood Mr Roberts worked for the Governor General's office as a security advisor while Carissa took on a number of projects including a five-year stint owning and managing the Coominya pub and running a confectionary shop in the main street of Rosewood.

"We loved Rosewood but it's just not the town it used to be and there were no opportunities to manage a motel," Mr Roberts said.

Since moving to town Mr and Mrs Roberts said they've started settling into Warwick life, but that it was a matter of finding a routine that fit.

"It's long hours, but after we've done our cleaning on Saturday we've made a rule that we don't do any office work and just spend time together, otherwise you just don't stop," Mr Roberts said.

"You've just got to find that normal life. And we're getting faster at cleaning the rooms.

"What's good though is that even though you start at 6.30am and don't finish until 8pm there's breaks in that time where you've still spent time with the kids."

The couple's youngest two boys Tristan (14) and Calem (12) are both taking to life on the Southern Downs as Tristan finished Year 9 at Warwick State High School and Calem is looking forward to starting at the WSHS in the new year.

"And Tristan's already got a job, he just finished his first shift at KFC (last week)," boasted proud dad Mr Roberts.

Eldest son Blake is still at Rosewood while he studies a Bachelor of Theatre Studies at Griffith University but is often helping Mum and Dad to launch the motel into the 21st century with an updated website and Facebook page.

"The boys were our main concern but they're fitting in just fine; they'll sign up for (Eastern Suburbs) footy next year," Mrs Roberts said.

"We're going to have to buy a membership to WIRAC they're down there so much.

"And Jazmine is just going with the change, she's so young. As long as she's outside she doesn't care where we are."

But while the boys are making the most of town Mr and Mrs Roberts admit they haven't had much time to explore their new hometown just yet.

"We're still unpacking, but the Boxing Day races will be my first day off - I'm looking forward to that," said Mr Roberts.

As for the future of the motel the couple said they don't plan on changing things too much.

"It's affordable accommodation for families and people passing through, that won't change. But we do want to update the rooms eventually and just modernise things," Mrs Roberts said.

Former manager and now owner Trish Roberts said she put the motel on the market because their "time was up".

"We'd been there for 12 years in January which is a long time for someone working seven days a week," she said.

For more check out the Jackie Howe Motel on Facebook, visit www.jackiehowe motel.com.au, or phone 4661 2111.



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