Charli Steele is a typical seven-year-old girl who loves everything “with gills, fur or feathers” according to her mum Cherie Steele.
“If she’s not playing in the dirt, riding her horse, playing with our two dogs or catching fish, she’s out and about on her motorbike,” Cherie said.
But over the October long weekend, Charli cast aside the dirt and her farm working clothes and headed for the glitz and glamour of the Somerton Hotel Sunday Markets – the first ever held by the popular watering hole.
“She had money in her pocket and was determined to spend it on brightening herself up with a bit of colour. She purchased a tie-dye hat, a shirt, shoes and a very colourful horse print. She really decked herself out,” her mother joked.
Charli could be considered a temporary resident of Somerton. Her parents Jason and Cherie Steele, who also own a property at Barraba and live down the Hawkesbury area, purchased the Somerton Hotel back in January, with Annette Mackley as its manager. With Hawkesbury being in lockdown, the family has been living between Somerton and the Barraba property, according to Cherie.
“Charli has had her schooling packages delivered to Somerton since the lockdown, but we’ll probably be heading back home in a couple of weeks now that restrictions have been lifted.”
The Steeles purchased the hotel with plenty of good ideas in mind.
“It’s on 10 acres so there’s plenty of room, both inside and outside to work on. And Somerton has a big area of patrons who can come down and catch up with each other. The new kitchen will be completed soon, we have a great play area for the kids, and down the track, we hope to expand on our accommodation facilities. It’s all getting done slowly, but should liven up a bit now that Covid restrictions have been lifted.
“And our market day was amazing, we had a lot of positive feedback, so much so that we’re hoping to hold them monthly. One longtime resident told me she had never seen so many cars in Somerton.” By Vinnie Todd