Talk to me about Melbourne!

(36 Posts)
swimmerforlife Sat 15-Dec-18 21:19:59

Have been offered a job in central Melbourne by an old contact, I am currently in the UK. Which I am really tempted to take because I am a NZ citizen (although my DH is British) so I have automatic right to work in Australia. We will have a 7 year old in February and also a just turned 4 year old.

I will be earning just over 100kAU, need a lot of help on suburbs - we really want a variety of cultures, link to tram / train route and reasonably close to CBD, fairly decent primary schools (not private or religious). I have been to East Brunswick before so was thinking that or maybe Coburg or Bentleigh? Only planning on being in Melbourne for 3ish years so looking at renting and not bothered about secondary school.

And talk to me about school enrolment, because if this move happens it will be pretty quick so we could technically be in Melbourne by the end of January in time for the new school year?

DH most likely will not work for the first year because is childcare really expensive (I assume?) and he has low qualifications so will probably not break even.

Lots of questions, help needed!

OP’s posts: |
chatwoo Sun 16-Dec-18 10:02:30

Thus wasn't one of your questions, so I am going to be off topic and point it out: you will need to look at the visa options for your husband. I assume he would apply for a partner visa, assuming as NZ citizen, you can sponsor him in the same an Aus citizen could.

That would be my first step in all this.

Rainbowqueeen Sun 16-Dec-18 10:08:56

I would go to and ask your questions on the Victoria forum. You could also do a search on past posts, also for Sydney as lots of people tend to move there and have similar questions

You need to work out your visa status and your DH and children’s visa status. In Australia overseas workers can be required to pay several thousand for state school education depending on their visa status. If you have the right kind of visa it’s free.

Google education department of Victoria for information on school enrolment but I think that there are school catchments and schools have to take anyone in their catchment.

A good site for rentals and idea on prices is

Good luck!

justilou1 Sun 16-Dec-18 10:15:47

I am from Melbourne and have a lot of friends who are international and expats from everywhere. I have recently moved to Brisbane and am not really digging it. I lived in North Melbourne, which is not far from Brunswick. Can highly recommend both areas. Feel free to PM me if you wish. (Melbourne is great. Yes, it is expensive, but there are more cheap and free things to do there than any other city in Aus, plus it is a city which offers a sense of community like no other.) Take it and run!

justilou1 Sun 16-Dec-18 10:16:50

Also look at for what’s on in Melbourne and even be specific for suburbs. Might be inspiring.

Racecardriver Sun 16-Dec-18 10:25:07

In Australia you really have to privately educate if you want your children to get a decent education. There are very few good state schools, like ten in the whole of Melbourne at primary level. Even then. Top Australian schools don’t compete with top British public schools. There is also more of an expectation of social responsibility here. On a salary like yours really don’t have an excuse to be using state services.

justilou1 Sun 16-Dec-18 10:39:04

No.... but class sizes are much smaller in private schools and teaching is hit or miss at state schools. The accountability is much higher at private schools. The smaller inner-city public schools in Melbourne tend to be great. Ours was totally over-crowded and had a principal with obvious political aspirations. She was a total pill and nothing much achieved but hot air, big words and lots of grinning photos in the paper while the kids didn’t have enough seats and tried to write while lying on the carpet.


swimmerforlife Sun 16-Dec-18 20:26:43

Thanks guys.

Yup I am pretty sure as a Kiwi DH is entitled to live and work in the UK for five years (we'll be gone in less than 5 years) as he is the spouse of a Kiwi.

Quite shocked about schools, if I am honest I am quite opposed to private schools but I might have to be a hypocrite. Although my expectations of state schools are probably lower than you Brits as the Oz ones sound similar to the ones I attended in NZ.

@Justilou My mum's best mate lives in Brunswick so I've been there a few times as a kid / teenager and I really like it imo, so probably definitely considering somewhere in the northern area. I do love Melbourne, the culture, different activities on offer and the Aussie Open, looking forward to exploring more of Victoria too. Yeah I like Brisbane but it's a bit bland, I only like the river grin

OP’s posts: |
swimmerforlife Sun 16-Dec-18 20:31:33

Also re schools, does Victoria / Australia not have a standard curriculum that they have to follow (or is it just a poor curriculum!), or is the teachers?

How much is private schools per year? (as a rough estimate)

OP’s posts: |
IClavdivs Mon 17-Dec-18 05:00:42

@Racecardriver: In Australia you really have to privately educate if you want your children to get a decent education.

Does Melbourne have not have OC/GATS (Opportunity/Gifted and Talented) classes in the state system? My teaching experience was in Sydney at a state school with extremely highly regarded OC classes in Yrs 5 & 6, and each year all but a couple of the 60 children in those Yr 6 classes would get into selective (state) high schools - in most cases their preferred option - or would get full scholarships to one of the nearby private schools.

Having said that, I did just look to see where the other GATS classes are now located and I also worked at a couple of those schools, and would not send a child to there, unless things have changed enormously in the intervening years.

Additionally, @OP, be aware that there is a clear difference between Catholic systemic schools and private schools.

AllThreeWays Mon 17-Dec-18 05:09:04

I'm Australian and a teacher. Racecardrivers comments are utter garbage. If anything, using private schools is considered elitist and public education is, in the main, excellent.

AllThreeWays Mon 17-Dec-18 05:11:25

Private schools cost between around $8000 and $30000 per year. Then add uniforms, camps and co curricular fees.

knittedjest Mon 17-Dec-18 05:20:23

In my experience Australian schools are much better than British. Less time wasted on getting ready for various tests and exams, more time on learning. And much more active and nurturing. You also typically have your choice of school, you don't just get assigned to a school and tough shit. If you want a specific school three towns away for a mid term start you can probably get your child in there right away without much issue because even small towns typically have two or three primary schools so overcrowding isn't that big of an issue.

swimmerforlife Mon 17-Dec-18 05:46:36

Oh good these comments are making me feel better that there are perfectly good state schools, thanks @AllThreeWays a teacher opinion is very much appreciated.

@Knittedjest sounds similar to my rural primary school in NZ, very active and pretty much no tests, much prefer that to the rigid state school that DS1 is attending here in the UK!. And a choice of schools would be fantastic.

OP’s posts: |
SD1978 Mon 17-Dec-18 05:58:31

@Racecardriver- seriously? On that I can't afford a private education and can barely afford mortgage, car repayments & life! The cost of living over here is astronomical- to maintain a decent quality of life on an income of $100000 pre tax, depending on mortgage takes work. A 'cheap' mortgage, in a not great area is minimum $400000. And that's a crap house.

Racecardriver Mon 17-Dec-18 06:10:36

@iclavdivs I have friends who went through OC and have a very low opinion of it. Apparently individual needs were ignored and the way it was implemented resulted in gaps in knowledge in some instances. I didn’t go through the system myself but wouldn’t choose it for my children based on what I have heard.

I second what you say about stressing the distinction between catholic schools and private schools in general. Also worth highlighting that some private schools operate in chains. The private system in Australia is very different. Don’t assume a school will be good because it is private.

Racecardriver Mon 17-Dec-18 06:12:48

@SD OP isn’t single so there should be two incomes. But even then 400k is so far removed from reality it’s a bit ridiculous. The quality of life in Australia isn’t what it once was but if you can’t afford to educate one child on 100k you have your priorities wrong.

Racecardriver Mon 17-Dec-18 06:14:53

@SD my mistake, I thought you meant 400 p/a. But naturally one would live in a crap house to afford children. You can’t choose a nice house at the cost of the tax payer. That’s what happened in Britain and that’s why Britain is so screwed up.

knittedjest Mon 17-Dec-18 06:21:15


Australian schools are a lot less regulated than British schools are. There isn't an ofstead scoring system. Every school is run differently. So your friend might have had a bad experience but like I said before one of the great things about the Australian education system is choice. Every school deals with their own enrollments and enrollment criteria so if you don't like the school you are at you can very easily move to pretty much any other of your own picking at the drop of a hat. Even if that school is two hours away if that's where you want them to go then they can probably go there.

RumerGodden Mon 17-Dec-18 06:30:26

plenty of excellent public schools in Melbourne. Agree with other posters, visa issues most critcal, bear in mind Kiwis can work in Aus, but have trouble being allowed to access other things welfare, so just be aware you can be there, but still be locked out of a lot of things. the aus/kiwi governments are struggling over this, want to make it fully reciprocal, but understandably, Australia is pushing back as there are over half a million kiwis in oz and a few thousand in NZ!

Madeline88 Mon 17-Dec-18 06:33:31

Melbourne is great but some things to consider. As a NZ citizen you won’t be entitled to a sickness benefit, unemployment benefit, your children won’t be entitled to student loans for university etc etc, they would have to go to NZ or back to the uk unless you all became citizens which they make really difficult for New Zealanders. Ironically British people on visas have more access to social services.

Schools are great, you don’t need to go private but if you want Brighton is a great suburb to live in with great private schools.

WhingyWombat Mon 17-Dec-18 06:56:03

I've lived in the northern suburbs of Melbourne for 10 yrs and now have DD6. Its a great place to live and we have much better quality of life and career opportunities than in London.
One thing to consider is that kids need to be 5 before the end of either March or April (not sure) before they start school, which depending on your 4 yr olds birthday might mean they don't get to school until quite a lot later than in the UK- DD was 5yrs 8 months when she started. So you might need DH at home or childcare for longer than you think. As a kiwi you might be eligible for childcare subsidies though which make it much cheaper, and maybe worth DH working.
We are more than happy with our local public primary school though! I don't know anyone who goes private for primary (other than the Catholic system which is not always better quality by any means).
And yes $100k is not a particularly high household income for Melbourne. Manageable, but not flash by any means.

AllThreeWays Mon 17-Dec-18 07:02:09

State schools are for all in Australia, not just as a welfare benefit for those who cannot afford private. The system actually needs a broad range of parents enrolling their children as this means the school is better funded by the voluntary contributions and the population is more diverse.

Every child is funded to attend school by the federal and state governments whether they choose private or state. So you don't save the government any money by going private really. It just means the school itself may have nicer facilities. Rowing sheds, swimming pools etc.
All teachers have the same qualifications no matter where they end up working.

AllThreeWays Mon 17-Dec-18 07:06:12

$100000 is a good wage if you don't have a million dollar house and flash cars. Welfare benefits are around $15000 a year and the average wage is around $60000 nationally. The big cities (Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra) are the most expensive and therefore $100000 is just above average for those.

Livinthedream1 Mon 17-Dec-18 07:07:15

@justilou we have recently just moved to Brisbane too. I find the city beautiful with lots to do. What don’t you like? - sorry random questioning on someone else’s thread! 😊

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