In April 2013 the Carter Family purchased The Old Convent from Jamie & Linda Falls who had used the property as their private residence for some years.
Steve & Lee Anne Carter have lived in the district their entire lives, Steve grew up on a farm in Jibberding (East of Wubin) and Lee Anne grew up on a farm East of Dalwallinu. They have been farming in Xantippe since 1986. Together they had 3 children, Kirsty their eldest, who now manages The Old Convent when she isn't on maternity leave, and 2 boys, Gavin & Todd who are now both back working on the farm.
When the opportunity arose to purchase The Old Convent there was a lot of discussion around the need for more accommodation in Dalwallinu, as a family we felt that this business could thrive in our progressive town. I don't think we could have ever imagined just how well it would do.
In August of 2013, after renovations and refurbishments we held a Grand Re-opening of The Old Convent with a Mad Hatters Tea Party. It was a great opportunity for the local people to be able to see what we had done, and in turn we hoped word of mouth would get our name out there. It didn't take long and the first bookings started to come through, luckily we had managed to open just before the main wildflower season so we had a number of tourists come to stay.
In 2013 when we opened, we started with 11 rooms all of which had shared bathrooms and were located on the ground floor of the main building and what we now call the church building. This was a really good way for us to dip our toes into the hospitality industry as we really didn't have any experience in this field. It definitely had its challenges but the guests we had come to stay were all so lovely that it was well worth the hard work it had taken to get to where we were. Within 12 months we realised there was definitely room for us to expand, with that in mind, we started refurbishments to another 5 rooms in the upstairs area of the main building. When this was complete we had a total of 16 rooms.
As time went on, we were hearing more and more from people who were travelling to or through the area that they couldn't get accommodation as everywhere in town was fully booked. This made us wonder whether more accommodation would be a benefit to our business, but also to the town. We decided it would be and started researching what was available.
By the time August 2016 came around, we had purchased 3 x 4 bedroom unit blocks , all rooms with their own ensuite bathrooms and had them installed in the open area between the church building and the old priest's house which was further East on the property. By the start of October 2016, after some landscaping works, the new unit rooms were ready to accommodate guests. This took us to a total of 28 rooms. We also had ensuite bathrooms installed into 2 of our largest rooms in the main building so we now have 14 rooms with private bathrooms and 14 rooms with shared bathrooms - something for everyone.
We really love what we do and meeting all the amazing people who come to stay with us and we hope to continue with our venture for plenty more years to come.