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A u s t r a l i a - tell me about the day to day grudge

(51 Posts)
Qlder Mon 29-Jul-13 15:15:37

After having a lovely DS (now 10 months old), DP and I are at a massive crossroad.

UK or Australia?

I'm actually from Australia but have lived in the UK/London for the last 10 years. I love it here and would be happy to stay... except for the housing and schooling situation (i.e. the fact that a school place is not guaranteed and that you might be forced to go to a less-desired school simply through sheer bad luck). I feel we owe a good start to our DS, so we need to start considering things now.

DP is English and quite fancies removing himself to the other side of the world. He doesn't actually know what it's like, aside from a couple of 3-week holidays which involved a lot of travel/excitement/fun. He's never really discovered the day-to-day grudge and he will not believe me when I say that going to the beach every day before or after work is simply not reality grin.

Obviously a lot will have changed in the last ten years, so I'm not sure on a few things (cos I think my mum might exaggerate). Please tell me/him your experiences of Australia - socially, economically, etc.

What is good and what is bad?

Where is society going wrong? Please do look beyond the old tried and trusted racism comments.

Is it more innocent than the UK? I considered the 10-year-ago version to be much more innocent than the 10-year-ago UK, but not so sure now.

How about kids/teenagers? Are they any good or is it all going to the dogs?

How much does it cost to live in real terms? Do you feel rich/poor? Can you afford to buy a house? Is shopping expensive? Can you afford to eat meat, etc? I realise that Sydney and Melbourne are insane these days, but plan to avoid them as I think that moving there would be akin to moving to a mini London, only with all the problems and very few of the rewards.

What do you do for weekends/holidays? Again DP is incredulous when I tell him that public parks, aside from beach/seaside, are basically deserted.

Thanks for reading. Any advice would be appreciated.

cjdamoo Sun 18-Aug-13 02:23:04

2 Museums now and lots of pop up type Gallerys Coribells. When we first arrived and drove down hunter street I thought we had accidentally arrived in an eastern european bloc country. We started out In Kotara which I didnt Like Gorgeous school But I just hated it. Probably the Westfield or the fact it was quite an Old community or perhaps the fact I had arrived unprepared for suburbia, We are now in Merewether and I love it :D Much more of a mixture of people. Dh spent his teenage years here so he knew which areas to avoid which helped.

What they have done along Honeysuckle drive is Lovely If only they would sort out Hunter street which is still dire. I do have to escape to Sydney on a semi regular basis for a bit of culture which as you point out is NOT a strong point, but hey I can live with that. I still get pangs for London and walking along the embankment and the sheer Mishmash of people but then I go sit at swells on the beach watching dolphins whilst the kids tear up and down and I cant imagine them in London Certainly My baby girl an aussie woudnt be here :D

chloeb2002 Sat 17-Aug-13 20:32:47

Woo hoo giggly come in move up this way!

coribells Sat 17-Aug-13 07:08:37

CJ , I grew up in Newcastle , I live in London now with my 2 DS s. I often wonder whether I should have gone back to Australia. Doubltless I would have a bigger house and more outdoorsy lifestyle. However I think going back to Newcastle would be my idea of personal hell, it is beautiful in parts good beaches ;) and giant Westfields but only ONE art Gallery, ONE Museum and ONE theatre as far as I recall.

LadyMilfordHaven Sat 17-Aug-13 07:00:56

Op. do you mean drudge? As in drudgery?

Mosman Sat 17-Aug-13 05:49:35

I think it does depend what you are coming from as to your expectations. I didn't really appreciate just how lucky I was in the UK tbh

cjdamoo Sat 17-Aug-13 04:45:38

Moved to Australia from Fulham 5 years ago. In the five years I have been here the cost of living has gone up a lot but we are without a doubt better off happier and healthier here. Thats coming from someone who spent the first 2 years wishing for a miracle so I could head back to London. We moved out here because I couldnt face putting my eldest in a state secondry in London. I send the kids public here and am More than happy with the primary education even if I do sometimes find the High school lacking in certain areas from time to time.

We live in Newcastle a "city" haha about 2 hours from Sydney. Historically its quite industrial but has been undergoing a transformation whilst we have lived here and is actually quite nice :D We have more recreational time now and so much is cheap or free that we actually do stuff.

Longdistance Sat 17-Aug-13 04:17:34

We're going back soon. Maybe next month, as dh has been made redundant.

I'm quite surprised the men with the white coats haven't got me yet, as this is my 5th move in 7 years confused

Will be glad to return after feeling very lonely here, and really not settling. Looking forward to a proper Xmas with family and friends, and at least some atmosphere and cold weather.

2 years too long for me!!

giggly Fri 16-Aug-13 15:07:59

OhNOW that's interesting as we are about to move from Perth to Brisbane!

The remoteness and lack of places that we would want to go to are our main reasons and my heart lies in the East. It also helps that there are more work opportunities and slightly cheaper housing options for us there, might move next to Chloeb!

Mosman Fri 16-Aug-13 06:50:23

We're in Nedlands we should get together for a leaving party :-)

ohN0Whatnext Fri 16-Aug-13 03:13:55

We're living in Perth having moved over from Brisbane. There are pros and cons for both sides.

Brisbane - nice countryside/hills to explore however the driving there was terrifying. I've driven for over 20 years but refused to drive in Brisbane. There were lots of very aggressive drivers. That did restrict things for me. Culturally it felt like a desert and you do get the impression that quite a lot of people living in Brisbane have come in from the countryside and don't know how to behave or live in a big city (drivers, service industry workers etc)

Perth - I'm driving again but there's nowhere to drive to. I find there are much more cultural events here and the people are friendlier here.
The big downside for us is that it feels so very remote. You can't jump in the car for a drive in the countryside because there isn't much of interest. There are only so many times you go to Margaret River for a weekend (if Margaret River was in Europe, no-one would go to it)

Costs are exceptionally high. DH is a high earner however we try to put out of our minds how much we are spending on groceries. Eating out is extortionate, the quality is usually average (of course there are exceptions) and the service is quite often rubbish (ie go to a restaurant for a meal costing £80 - £100 for 2 people and sometimes you won't even get table service. You will have to leave your dinner and go up to the bar if you want a drink!

The weather on this side is much better...less humidity and the winters are great. Summers can be very hot and restrictive.

Whoever said that beaches and parks were empty was correct. I think the reason for this is in the summer the beaches are too hot to go on to. We live in Cottesloe and as there is no shade it's very difficult to be out in the full glare of sunshine. In the winter (just now) we sometimes the only ones walking along the beach - that's great but I can never understand why the Australians don't go out in the winter time. Same with the parks.

After 4 years here we are actively planning our return to England. So looking forward to be able to have weekends in Paris or Barcelona etc again.

newbiefrugalgal Thu 15-Aug-13 23:37:40

She's left already!

WhataSook Tue 13-Aug-13 08:21:59

Qlder are you any closer to making a decision after reading all our posts? smile (just being nosey!)

HarrietSchulenberg Fri 09-Aug-13 23:07:03

I have relatives who emigrated to Australia as children, grew up there, then came back to the UK as adults. One of them has settled over here but the other two used to flit back an forth, always thinking the grass was greener on the other side and never staying more than a couple of years in either country.

The last time one of them was in Australia she lived in Sydney. She had a good job but just couldn't afford to live. She hadn't realised how much prices had gone up, in fact we worked out that it would be cheaper for us to buy a pineapple here and post it to her than it was for her to buy one in Sydney. She used to pick them off the trees in public streets on the way home from school in Queensland 20 years before!

She also found healthcare expensive and as she has an ongoing medical condition she needed regular treatment.

She ended up coming home to the UK even though really her heart is in Aus. At least it is this week wink .

kiwidreamer Fri 09-Aug-13 22:14:58

ooops ouchywawa I think I meant to tag lovesewingbee in my post above but got confused, you and I are on the same page... a different book altogether from lovesewingbee

yetanotherworry Fri 09-Aug-13 10:14:11

One thing I learned when living there is that the young Aussies are very much like young Brits. Both countries have similar problems with drugs and teenage pregnancies and all the other things that we want to protect our children from.

Ouchywawa Fri 09-Aug-13 08:46:04

Completely agree with you kiwidreamer. I originally wanted to reply with a generalisation about my experience of young Brits in Oz but thought better of it. I just think it is a ridiculous extrapolation that young Australians on their gap year (or whatever) are indicative of a poor education system. I usually avoid these threads...

kiwidreamer Fri 09-Aug-13 08:32:13

owchywawa it is worth remembering that a lot of those young aussies are doing their equivalent of a 'gap year' type experience, I'm very sure the young Brits in OZ are known to live it up on a week night and be less than ideally responsible in the work place... but IME (having employed many many young aussies / kiwi's directly from advertising on Gumtree) they do step up when they need to and from actually being one of those young travellers a very very long time ago not all of us are like that, its always the loudest in any group of people that make the impressions, not necessarily representative of entire generations.

Ouchywawa Thu 08-Aug-13 12:43:33


Escape the racism generalisation but now all young Australians are uneducated hard drinkers. You are right though LoveSewingBee, you don't know much about Australia.

LoveSewingBee Thu 08-Aug-13 09:30:13

Don't know much about Australia but young Australians Imhave come across in the UK were definitely not better educated and had a hard drinking culture, often arrived at work with a hangover.

So if schools really are your big concern then I would consider moving to another part of London or home counties. There are plenty of good primary schools. Also, never underestimate that a child learns about 80 per cent of what it knows, plus values etc. At home and not at school. This is why schools struggle so much to get disadvantaged kids up to averafe level (everywher, not just in the UK) it is virtually imposaible to achieve if there is no supportive home environment.

If you ar not totally sure about your move, I would wait as it may be very costly and almost irreversible.

Ouchywawa Thu 08-Aug-13 06:56:14

We moved back to Australia after 8 years in London - with a 3yo DD and (now 10 months old) DS on the way. I think the day to day 'grudge' is very much the same as it is in London - work, bills, childcare etc. Whether you will enjoy being back really depends on your motivation for moving. It took us about a year to adjust and now happily admit that we love it!

What is good...proximity to family, weather (although it does get COLD in winter), availability of activities for DC, high standard of education, parks, beaches etc etc. in my experience parks and beaches are not at all deserted on the weekend - quite the opposite! During the week as well.

What is bad...probably the shopping. I miss Waitrose and Boots! It took us a while to adjust to the cost of living, everything seemed much more expensive but our standard of living has not been impacted that greatly. I think it is true that it evens out once you start earning local currency. We buy a lot of stuff online as well. Groceries are a big cost item but I think the produce is so much better - seasonal, yes, but how can that be a bad thing? I actively avoid fruit and veg that are not grown in Australia. No USA peaches for me this week thanks!

I do think that children are 'children' for longer if that makes sense. But Australia is not as innocent as it used to be. There is still some close-mindedness and unnecessary negativity but I find Australians generally still easy going and relaxed. From a work perspective the market is quite small and it took my DH time to adjust to that - now he loves it as he can take advantage by going to the gym or running at lunch every day, as well as being home in time to put the DCs to bed.

The main thing for me is that my DC are very happy. DD is particular has blossomed - she loves being outdoors, close to her grandparents and her lovely school. Arguably you could get the same out of London (apart from the grandparents) which I think it why you really need to think about why you want to come back.

Interesting thread in any case and glad to see racism hasn't taken over...

Grittzio Wed 07-Aug-13 09:34:13

Reading with interest but why compare one city in the UK with others on the other side of the world, you could just move out of London to somewhere else in the UK for a better quality cheaper life. We live on the south coast and with the summer we have had so far this year there is no place I would rather be. We have the beach, the Jurassic coast and New Forest on our doorstep, good schools and no evidence of a gang culture! 2 hour commute to London which we do regularly to see my sister, who I have watched struggle to earn a decent living and bring 3 children up, they have all turned out good kids by the way. I love visiting London but always pleased to come home. Her cost of living is way above mine. My kids do a good variety of sports, the only waiting list we have encountered is for the popular life guarding on beach. They go than excellent primary and are doing very well. We have a lot of ex Londoners already living here, who have done very well after selling their London home. My sisters end of terrace mouse would get her a very large detached with ample garden in a tree lined avenue here.

Bunbaker Wed 07-Aug-13 09:17:44

If it is mainly schools that are the problem would you consider moving out of London to elsewhere in the UK? I read with horror all the tales of people having problems getting a school place in London. We we live it isn't an issue. We have an outstanding primary school in our village and most of the primaries in the area are also outstanding or good. The nearest two secondary schools are good as well, and I didn't even put a second and third choice down on DD's application for high school.

Interestingy, I met a lady yesterday who has recently moved back from New Zealand. They moved back to the UK because they simply couldn't afford to live there. The picture she painted about actually living there as opposed to going on holiday was quite an eye opener. She also said that compared to New Zealand Australia was a much better prospect because the wages are much higher. She also told me that most Australians and New Zealanders worry far more about skin cancer because of the hole in the ozone and the higher incidence of the disease.

yetanotherworry Wed 07-Aug-13 09:07:02

There is an issue with schools accepting anyone in catchment - they don't always have the space. We looked around one school where the head was concerned about how they were going to house everyone. They just didn't have the space (or facilities) for the number of children who were going to be admitted that year - they were expecting 50% extra children.

echt Wed 07-Aug-13 08:58:59

Their rooms were chillier. Or is it far more chilly? Who cares - been marking too many essays.

We were waaay more cool dan dem.grin

echt Wed 07-Aug-13 08:13:24

The bit about the cold winter (and houses) in Australia made me laugh.

We did our research before moving to Melbourne so were able to respond to the question: so you'll be getting rid of your warm clothes? with : No, certainly not. grin

Really, I don't get why folk just don't google the info.

The houses are a different matter, though because we rented at the higher end, it was always fine. When it came time to buy we were very careful to look how/if each room was heated. I'm also aware I wear more clothes than I would have in my English home, but then that's also product of most Aussie houses being detached. Our UK neighbours who had the end of row house had far chiller rooms than we had, though the houses were identical in every other respect.

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