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Australia to live?

(35 Posts)
pingu2 Thu 27-Feb-03 13:40:07

DH has just lob his job as company been bought out, not too scarey as he will get a years salary anyway. First job he has been head hunted for is in Australia though! He is really keen on the idea and is going for interview. Obviously he may well not get it anyway but I would be keen on any advice anyway, in case we need to make decision. I have never even been there, he has, on business and loved it. I think he is having a bit of a mid life crisis and wants a real change. He seems keen on selling up, me selling my business and having "An Adventure". Thing is we have 3 kids under 10 so have to think about schools etc. Personally would be up for a challenge but to me kids come first. Anyone know anything about schools etc in Australia?

musica Thu 27-Feb-03 13:41:42

I've heard that Australia is a fab place to bring up kids - I'd love to do it, but dh wouldn't even consider it, and all our commitments are here. But I think the schools are really good there.

eidsvold Thu 27-Feb-03 18:55:56

being an aussie who now resides in the UK - I will try and put aside my bias. However - having spent most of my life living and working in Queensland and in the Education system of queensland, I can tell you Australia is the best place to live. Just in pure quality of life it wins hands down - the weather and lifestyle is so much healthier for kids. What a life experience for your children to live in another country. In terms of education - Australia's education systems ( vary from state to state) are excellent. There is so much more choice available to parents with regards to where your children go to school and what sort of education you want them to have.

Having worked in Education in the UK I was shocked at the style of education available and the restrictions on parental choice. I feel children here are not educated to a certain degree but coached to do well in a series of exams that they need to undertake throughout their schooling. It just seemed so much more restricted - particularly when it came to secondary education - very restrictive.

And yes - my dh and I and dd are heading back to live there soon.

Hope that helps a little

sueanna Thu 27-Feb-03 20:39:09

From a Brits point of view....
I lived in Oz for 5 years (until may 2002). I agree it's a fabulous country with excellent weather and there's always loads to do, especially for Kids.
If you're into sports, there couldn't be a better place, if you're not... you soon will be, if not participating then spectating (Sport is No.1 in the Aussie priority list).
Education... well my DH & I didn't really have much exposure to the system, however the caretakers hamster had a degree... if you get my drift(... can of worms opened!)
Why did we come back.... purely because of family... both my DH and I are close to our families and we just missed them all too much...ahhhh!
Will we go back? Not in the immediate future, but we're not ruling it out, for sure!
I will say one thing, in order to make it work for you, you have to live like an Aussie otherwise you'll always feel like and ex-pat.
If you want to know more and see what we did, just let me know and I'll give you my website address.

Holly2 Fri 28-Feb-03 11:36:39

Pingu2, I guess I'm biased too (!!) but I'm an Aussie and I live in Queensland, Australia. I know there's other Australians on mumsnet too who can probably help, but feel free to ask me any questions you may have. Do you know which city you may end up living in?

Gem13 Fri 28-Feb-03 11:49:47

Don't have anything to offer I'm afraid but I wish it was us. We visited Australia briefly 18 months ago and loved it. Spent a few days in Sydney which I thought was great didn't 'love' like I feared I would (DH was worried we'd get there and not come home!). Did love Northern Queensland though.

If we had the opportunity we'd be off like a shot. I haven't got children in school yet but I hope that I won't get caught up in the whole school thing when I do. I'm not belittling the big decision it would be but IME friends who went abroad for a few years when they were children didn't miss anything by way of education here, usually had better schooling in the 'new' country and had a great experience too.

valleygirl Fri 28-Feb-03 12:04:15


I too lived in Oz for a while and travelled pretty extensively throughpout the country in that time. I thought the way of life was really relaxed, the weather generally great for most of the year, the outdoors lifestyle excellent, people were friendly and most had a pretty good sense of humour (see above for reasons!). Outside of the major cities I thought a lot of the people fairly conservative in their attitudes to a whole lot of issues - i doubt you'll be moving to the outback of NT thought!! The main disadvantage I thought was the distance from Europe - and I was surprised how "un-British" it was, and found it much more like my experiences of living in California. Probably knowing where in Australia you would be based would help - Sydney good - Darwin, not so good, maybe?!!

If you were selling a house in the UK the money you would make from the sale would provide you with an absolute palace in Australia with the current exchange rate.

Big move, but VERY exciting!

tilba Fri 28-Feb-03 12:19:44

Pingu2 I am an Aussie too so also totally biased but I think it is the most wonderful country to live in, especially with a family. It all seems so much easier than Europe too and I do think you get a lot of choice despite the small population. The outdoor life is fantastic and I really thrived on the "can do" attitude which I think is really prevalent.
I live in Hong Kong which I love but am constantly guilt ridden knowing that the girls are missing out on such a carefree, healthy childhood as we could go back. Saying that we will go back in 12 months when DD turns 5 and is due to start school.
Anyway I am with your DH on this one, I would def. be having an adventure with the kids and as a family.It's what most people dream of...just escaping somewhere beautiful all together....and being paid for it.

Oh and I also think the education is brilliant . What State are you considering?

anais Fri 28-Feb-03 12:38:33

Well there's me all jealous. I've been once, and at one point was going to go to uni out there - and then ds arrived

I spent yesterday seeing my friend for the first time since she's got back from being out there for a year.

It is my dream to go and live out there and I would be out there like a shot if I had the chance. It seems like a wonderful place to bring up kids. You'll love it

pingu2 Fri 28-Feb-03 12:44:42

Thanks so much for all the advice, feel much more positive now and can encourage DH to go for it! would be based in Sydney. Dont know if would sell house here straight away, I think lots of people rent there (?) and might rent out house here and rent there. lovely to have first hand experience, have browsed websites but not as good.will let you know what happens!

Jzee Fri 28-Feb-03 13:03:51

Although I have lived in London for the past 17 years I was born in Sydney and lived there until I was 17. I can honestly say that there are good and bad things about the Uk and Oz. If you are however looking for a complete change, fancy some sunshine, in a place where the cost of living is cheaper and the quality of life is better then Australia is the place to head for. I went to a public school and a private school and like anywhere these vary. I wouldn't worry about your children liking Australia as once they are able to go to the beach before and after school they won't look back! I'd say go for it even if it's only for the experience!

eidsvold Fri 28-Feb-03 19:06:35


I am originally from Queensland Aus? Brisbane but have lived in Mackay, Rockhampton and a small country town west of Bundaberg. Now living east of London for now. Off to Brisbane in about 5 weeks for my mum to see dd for the first time and to catch up with family and friends. can't wait.

lorne Fri 28-Feb-03 19:30:16

I have never been to Australia but our friends emigrated out there last September. They have one ds who will be 6 this October. They absolutely love it.I think she said that children out there don't start school until they are 6 so their ds is at nursery until he is 6. They say the house prices are far cheaper and they have a far better standard of living. Best of luck.

katierocket Fri 28-Feb-03 19:33:13

my sister and her DP emigrated 3 years ago to melbourne and they absolutely loves it. Gorgeous house with lots of land (would never be able to afford that here) - 5 mins from beach. Totally different, laid back lifestyle, fantastic climate - she has never regretted it.

SueW Fri 28-Feb-03 22:06:16

We spent 9 mos in Melbourne during 2001.

I loved it but wouldn't say it was good value. DH's rate (he is an IT contractor) was lousy compared to the UK and Europe. The house we lived in was a good size with a swimming pool, five minutes walk from the beach. It cost us A$450/week IIRC.

There were loads of lovely places to eat, the weather was lovely - I still think of bright winter days over here e.g. the weather we've been having this week as Ozzie days. We had regular walks along the beach, etc.

Like most places Australian accommodation varies in price depending on where you live. When we initially looked at going out there, we figured we could get a fab house for minimum money but once we were there we realised how far from the centre of the city those places were.

Our friends who went on a 2-4 year business visa have chosen to stay out there. They had their children in a private school but have now moved from Melbourne to Perth and put their children into the state system as they lost their tax concession once they applied for residency IIRC.

And yep, once you're there it seems a long way to get out again.

It's never simple - but it's a brilliant experience!

eidsvold Sat 01-Mar-03 12:56:45

pingu I was looking for something else on the aussie high commission website and came across some information regarding schooling.

If you go here it then directs you to the different states... might give you some information

mollipops Tue 04-Mar-03 06:08:27

Hi pingu2, how did the inteview go? Good luck to your dh, I think it would be an amazing experience. I'm assuming the company would pay your airfares and relocation costs?!

Sydney is great, (I live in Perth, which of course I think is much prettier, friendlier and cheaper as well!) can be expensive, depends how far out of the city you live, but the public transport system is pretty good. One of the best things about Sydney is it is so close to other major centres, like Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, and your holiday options are endless! Yes great lifestyle and weather, good community spirit, lots to do and see, and I think the school system is excellent - affordable private education as well as good government schools. Go for it!

bloss Tue 04-Mar-03 22:51:40

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bloss Tue 04-Mar-03 22:51:40

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bells2 Wed 05-Mar-03 09:01:38

I have to agree with SueW on this one. A lot of my friends who have returned to Melbourne from the UK find that they are no better off financially. Wages are lower, taxes can be higher and items like clothing and cars are more expensive. And holidays can be a lot more expensive given the availability of cheap flights in Europe.

Of course it depends on where you are coming from in the UK and where you are going to in OZ, but I certainly wouldn't go with the expectation that you will necessarily be hugely better off.

NQWWW Wed 05-Mar-03 10:10:38

One thing that's definitely cheaper and infinitely superior is eating out. We lived in Sydney for 3 years and found that anybody on a half decent wage didn't cook much at all. In our rented house which was otherwise very well equipped we had no oven and only 2 rings. Still we learned to live with it somehow.

It is a truly fantastic country and we wouldn't have come back if it hadn't been for our families back here.

pingu2 Wed 05-Mar-03 18:23:52

no interview yet as hes still in the states, back end of week. Will let you know. He emailed the head hunters and said he was really keen now because his wife was convinced following advice from mumsnet! We are coming from West Sussex and kids currently at private school so am hoping that financially would be about the same- even though will have to factor in eating out a lot (that sounds like such a hardship!). Only thing that worries me a bit is that we are a completely nonsporty family, DS2 likes to play football but thats about it. seems to be very sporty in australia. My parents who currently look after kids while I work , are up for coming with us, and they are the only family I would miss in the short term. Other thing that worries me a bit is that I work 3d a week, would have no job there, just at point where youngest goes to school-would feel a bit odd.

eidsvold Wed 05-Mar-03 20:46:37

I wouldn't worry about the eating out - you also have such a variety of foods available all year round that you can cook such a variety. You could be a parent volunteer at your children's school if you are not able to work.

Don't worry about being non sporty there is just so much to get out and about and be involved in that is not necessarily sporting.

bloss Thu 06-Mar-03 02:20:29

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bells2 Thu 06-Mar-03 07:45:25

It's funny but possibly the two major reasons why I do not want to return to live in OZ are the sports culture and the abundance of things to see and do for children in the UK and Europe!. I am from Melbourne and utterly and completely uninterested in football and cricket. Our male group of friends' obsession with almost constantly talking about and watching sport used to really get me down (I left when I was 24). Last trip back, DH was dragged off to constant matches (he is even less interested than me) and was fairly flabbergasted by the macho culture of it all, especially the fact that women weren't involved. I'm afraid to say that I still think back to when Oz won the America's cup and cringe!. As I say though, this is urban Melbourne and so at the extreme end of things.

As for things to do in winter in the UK. Living in London, I find the plethora of things to do for children incredible. Most of the major galleries and museums are free as are the amazing range and variety of parks. I take my two on an outing every single Friday without fail, always by public transport and we rarely spend much money. After 2 years or so of doing this, I still feel I have barely scratched the surface.

I do of course though still long for the weather, wide open spaces, friendliness and fab food of Australia though and would love to be able to spend more time there.

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