A century of rooms for let

Ryan HadjiGeraldton Guardian

The Foreshore Backpackers on Marine Terrace is getting ready to celebrate its 100th birthday.

Built in 1895, the building was first used as a general store called Mr Grey’s Store, before being used for accommodation in 1915.

It has since become one of the longest continuing accommodation providers in Geraldton.

Following her desire to work in hospitality, Glenys Maddren, with husband Terry, bought the iconic accommodation in March 2011.

Mrs Maddren, who was previously a dental nurse, said she wanted a career change and loved people — making hospitality the perfect industry for her.

She said working in the field was “like being on holidays 365 days a year, and you’re surrounded by foreign-speaking people”.

“I’d been trying to get into hospitality for many years, and had been strongly resisted by somebody,” she laughs.

“This one came up and the timing was right for me.

“I enjoy meeting new and different people all the time.”

Mr Maddren, who was the CEO of ATC Geraldton, said his wife spent close to 20 years trying to convince him to work in hospitality, which he resisted until the end of 2010.

“Glenys was very ready for a change, (and) I was probably getting ready for a change,” he said.

“We just happened to be right place, right time.

“It’s been a good fit so far.”

The couple are high school sweethearts, and have been together since 1976 after meeting at Geraldton Senior College. They celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary this year, and have three kids and two grandchildren.

Despite being married and working together, the couple say it hasn’t taken a toll on their marriage.

“I was a bit worried because he’s a very opinionated person, so I was a bit concerned when we started working together, but it’s been fine, ” Mrs Maddren said.

“Interestingly it’s been much easier than one would expect,” Mr Maddren added.

“We seem to get on pretty well.”

The couple said they’d never feared for their safety in the four years they’d run the hostel, and said they hoped to continue running it until they stopped enjoying it.

“At the moment that seems like a long way away,” Mrs Maddren said.

“We’ll do it for as long as we enjoy it.

“Because once you lose your passion for something, business, everything, can become a negative.”

The Maddrens are in the process of collating memorabilia for the milestone, and have asked the public to get in touch if they have any.

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