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Any Sydney mums around?

(451 Posts)
thatsnotmymonster Wed 05-Jan-11 13:00:06

I am getting pretty excited as it is looking increasingly likely that dh is about to be offered a job in Sydney (should know by next week). However, whether we are able to accept or not all depends on the salary package, particularly with th school fee issue- has anyone else moved and had the company pay the school fees?

We live in Scotland and so ds is in P1 but he will be 6 in March and dd1 is due to start school after the summer as she will be 5 in July. I don't know whether they should go into Yr 1 and 2 in Oz from when we move or whether they shoud go into Yr 1 and kindergarten. Do most people wait until the year the dc turns 6 or send them the year they turn 5?

The office is in Pyrmont and we are hoping to rent in a nearby suburb- I have been looking at Lilyfield, Five Dock, Drummoyne...can anyone recommend any other nice suburbs in that area or tell me if there are any to avoid?

Anything else I should know? If this happens we will be moving around April.


lulalullabye Wed 05-Jan-11 14:29:13

See you there!!! We are going back to Melbourne and are not planning on paying school fees and sending to a state school. Don't know if it is different in NSW. DD1 will go straight into school but dd2 will wait till 2013 even though she should have started in September this year.

Good luck with the arrangements. We are using PSS for the removal as we used them last time and found them really good. Congrats on making the decision.


thatsnotmymonster Wed 05-Jan-11 16:23:17

Thanks!! Think I need to facebook you!!

Will bump this later this eveing for the Aussie mums x

thatsnotmymonster Wed 05-Jan-11 16:32:32

you've gone! Is this some sort of New Year's resolution?

Did you realise that you actually did like it better out there after all?

In NSW you have to pay school fees for state schools on a 457 visa- it's a bummer. They have to be paid up front as well so it makes it kinda difficult. When are you heading back out there?

Well we will go as long as dh gets offerred a job!

exexpat Wed 05-Jan-11 16:40:55

Very envy of you moving to Sydney. I used to live in Balmain/Birchgrove, which is closer to Pyrmont than the suburbs you mentioned - great place to live, kind of an arty feel to it, lots of interesting cafes and shops, nice parks, ferries or buses into town. Drummoyne is also nice - a newer suburb, so bigger houses and gardens (Balmain is mainly older terraces, equivalent of late Victorian or Edwardian), so more space for children, but still with harbour views. I like Glebe too, but that's more busy and studenty, so possibly not so good with children.

I lived there pre-DCs so don't know that much about schools, but we were thinking of moving back at one stage and had DS's name down for the International Grammar School in Ultimo (right next to Pyrmont) - very good school, and used to international children coming and going, but there was a bit of a waiting list.

lulalullabye Wed 05-Jan-11 18:11:27

Hi, we are going back because the reasons we came back to the UK are not as strong as we thought. Have had a few issues with facebook with family and stuff but will be re joing under a different name so will add you when I have done it xx

thatsnotmymonster Wed 05-Jan-11 18:37:48

Thanks exexpat! Yes I have also looked at Balmian and like it too. Will get a better feel when we are there I suppose and it will just depend on what houses are available!

Lula- I don't envy you doing that move so many times but seeing as you will be an expert I may have a lot of questions for you! That'd be great re: facebook- when you get it sorted. x

exexpat Wed 05-Jan-11 19:44:15

We got moved to Sydney at fairly short notice, and not really knowing anything about good areas to live, so I just asked a few people for vague suggestions, then spent several days getting on a series of ferries and buses and wandering round various areas (Mosman, Cremorne, Paddington, some of the eastern suburbs etc) to see what they were like.

Balmain was the first one where I walked down the street for five minutes and felt 'at home'. I think it was probably mainly due to passing three bookshops in those five minutes - sadly at least two have since closed down - but there are still plenty of good cafes and restaurants. So we snapped up the first house we could find in the area, and were very happy there. Rather a random method, but it worked for me grin.

thatsnotmymonster Thu 06-Jan-11 09:56:43

Bumping for the sydney evening mums!

thatsnotmymonster Thu 06-Jan-11 13:06:44

no Australians around tonight then?

exexpat Thu 06-Jan-11 13:15:10

Maybe everyone's still off on their summer holidays (not in Queensland, I hope).

thatsnotmymonster Thu 06-Jan-11 15:26:28

Maybe they are! I've heard that pretty much everyone is off work till at least 10th Jan so maybe I'll have more luck next week! Should know more by then anyway.

Pretty bad in QLD at the moment, not much fun at all.

Livinginoz Fri 07-Jan-11 03:24:31

I'm here, but we live in Manly and came on a skilled independent visa, so can't really help too much!
Its lovely here though! grin

thumbwitch Fri 07-Jan-11 03:44:24

Can't help either, sorry! Am in NSW but on spousal visa, DS and DH both Aussie citizens so no school fees required; and not in Sydney itself so no real clue about suburbs (although DH would know more about it).

Bumping it for you in case anyone useful comes along...

Astrophe Fri 07-Jan-11 04:49:02

I'm in Sydney but a native, so I don't know about visas etc sorry.

Re school starting, they have to turn 5 by July 31st in their Kindergarten year (so the youngest starter is 4.5 years), BUT there is a definate trend towards starting them later and parents are able to choose if they have a child with a Feb/March/April/May/June/July birthday whether to send them when they are 4.5 or 5.5 years. They start in Kindergarten either way, but as one of the oldest, or one of the youngest depending on your choice.

Legally, they have to be in school by the time they are 6 (and have to start in Feb really, they don't do staggered entries here).

We are in the northern suburbs. They have a more 'suburban' feel- bigger houses, greener, but fewer cafes and less 'walkable' generally than the inner west suburbs you mention. Northern suburbs like Milsons Point, North Sydney, Neutral Bay, Waverton would all be easy to get to from Pyrmont by public transport I think.

Have a play with this - public transport info site to check out bus train and ferry options, once you have narrowed down the suburb you want.

thatsnotmymonster Fri 07-Jan-11 10:32:13

Thanks for the replies!

Livinginoz- we have friends who live in Manly. How long is the commute to CBD from there? DH not really keen on any commute as he currently drives about 50 miles a day commuting into Glasgow and back and he hates it- mainly due to most of it just being stuck in traffic.

Thanks for the bump, Thumbwitch!

Astrophe, how do you like living in Sydney- anywhere we should really avoid?
So my 3 all have birthdays between Feb and July! What do they do in KG- playing or more formal learning?
So are you saying that some children turn 6 in their KG year? Will the school decide where they should be when we get there?
Thanks for the link I will have a look!

Astrophe Fri 07-Jan-11 11:08:09


I've lived in Sydney all my life apart from 3 years in the UK. I like some things about it and not others. What your home like now and what do you like and not like about it? Are you rural, suburban, inner city? These are the things which should influence your choice of suburb.

I grew up in Neutral Bay and its beautiful with easy city access. Its also very expensive. Now I live in North Ryde, which is furtehr from the city (Dh works out west though), and cheaper, and tbh is not my first choice of location, although there are many, many places in Sydney far worse!

Having lived in a smaller city on the UK, we find it harder to find meaningful community out here in the 'burbs, but then again we have only been here a year, and I do know others who love it.

Kindergarten is formal learning. Of course with some play, but its like reception in the UK. We HE'd DD for Kinder for that reason, and she'll go straight into year 1 in Feb.

DS has a march birthday and (if we don't HE him) we will send him just before he turns 6. He is 5 this march, but will have another year at pre-school (which, confusingly, is also oftern called 'kindergarten').


thatsnotmymonster Fri 07-Jan-11 16:06:13

Thanks, still a bit confused about the schooling, lol. We live in Scotland so no reception year. 1-2 years of nursery from 3rd birthday (all play) then start school (p1) aged 4.5-5.5 where reading/writing etc starts. So ds who will be 6 in March is in P1 and can read and write now. DD who will be 5 in July can not but would be due to start school in August.

We live very rurally atm. Big house, big garden but have to drive everywhere. 2 miles to the school, 1.5miles to nearsest shop, 3 miles to supermarket etc. 25 miles to Edinburgh or Glasgow. Not much public transport- train station is 3 miles away. I would really love to be able to walk/cycle to school easily (we do do it here sometimes but it is a long way with 5, 4 and 2yo and impossible in the snow!)

Would also like to be able to walk to local parks/pools/cafes etc Is this a possibility?

We will be living in a serviced apartment provided by the company for at least 4 weeks during which time we will get a bit of feel for inner city livng. If we find we are not too keen we will have to look a bit further afield but dh is adamant he is not going to commute more than 30mins max- is this realistic?

Thanks for the info. Oh the traffic site is brilliant- have saved it in favourites in our Australia file grin

pepperonipizza Fri 07-Jan-11 16:14:14

Try looking at haberfield and leichardt. Little bit further than five dock but a bit more soul IMHO. All Aussie suburbs around Sydney have nice villagey bit with cafes, shops, etc. I lived in mosman on the north shore for 2 years, beautiful place but v v v expensive if you're looking to buy (not too much to rent though, suprisingly). Also gorgeous beach for kiddies in mosman called balmoral, and a good half way point between northern beaches and city centre.

It's a beautiful place, hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

pepperonipizza Fri 07-Jan-11 16:16:51

Oh, and commute time of 30 mins may be a problem because of sydney traffic more than distance. It's not like London traffic, but it's still congested at peak hours on main routes. Public transport would be better for work in city centre and pyrmont. If you lived north shore or manly you could get ferry to work!!

pepperonipizza Fri 07-Jan-11 16:18:17

Last post - just checking you know about
It's the Aussie equivalent of rightmove, sales and renting.

thatsnotmymonster Fri 07-Jan-11 17:00:03

hi pepperonipizza! Yes I am constantly on and realestate one as well, dh is fed up with me going 'oh look at this!' grin

Leichhardt is a def possibility too as are mosman and neutral bay. How long does the ferry take?

Also what are the opinions on having a house with a pool? Not needed? Too expensive? Def if you can afford it? Total pain the backside with all the maintanence etc?

pepperonipizza Fri 07-Jan-11 19:26:56

Ferry from mosman takes 20 mins to circular quay, stunning journey that you will never get bored of. From neutral bay, bus would be better, you're just a hop across the harbour bridge to the city!

As for pool, I wasn't lucky enough to live somewhere with one in my back garden. There aren't many houses close to the city that have them, only the really posh houses, but most people go to the beach for their swims (there are lots of ocean pools at many beaches, if you don't like the waves). There are also a couple of outdoor pools in Sydney too, i would thoroughly recommend a walk along cremorne point and a visit to the little outdoor pool there. The best views of the city, opera house and bridge.

Haberfield is nice for a family, bit quieter and the original Italian quarter of Sydney (leichardt pretends to be but it's not).

Last tip - make sure you go out for breakfast on a weekend. All the cafes do it, the thing I muss the most about australia!!

thatsnotmymonster Fri 07-Jan-11 22:15:20

thanks again, all very helpful! Will definitely go out for breakfast, sounds amazing!! What would you have typically?

pepperonipizza Sat 08-Jan-11 07:17:20

Eggs benedict is my favourite, with a freshly made banana smoothie. Yum!! They have all types of eggs, healthy fruit salads, toast, muffins, pastries, etc. As well as a proper fry up, but then you would have to postpone your walk along the beach and swim in the sea til you were less full, so lighter options are good sometimes!

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