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swampey last won the day on August 30 2016

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About swampey

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  • Birthday 11/11/1978

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  1. swampey

    Bouncing back to Australia???

    Is it affordable with a family of three kids 8 -12?
  2. swampey

    Bouncing back to Australia???

    Thank you for that...I have images of Kath and Kim
  3. swampey

    Bouncing back to Australia???

    So having migrated to Sydney in early 2015, my family and I (Wife and 3 kids) found the cost of living in Sydney and the sheer humidity too much and we returned to the UK in January 2017. The company I work for are UK based with an Australian office, so they were really accomodating, paid for all of us and our belongings to go both ways and we moved back into our own house that was being rented out. The cost of living menat we spent all of our savings, but we had a lot of fun and don't regret it. However, that was 18 months ago; with everything that is going on with Brexit and a bit of career stagnation, we are probing a return to Australia. Melbourne (or the wider Melbourne area, particularly the West) have come up as an option as being a bit cooler, a bit less humid and a bit less expensive. What do you think, is this the case? would you recommend it for our personal circumstances? Note I have a 189 Permanent Residents Visa that is valid until November 2019 (after which time I have to apply for a returning residents visa - no big deal).
  4. swampey

    Realistic advice on Sydney

    Just wanted to add my perspective, having moved to the North Shore 2 years ago with a wife and 3 kids from Milton Keynes in the UK. We are currently considering returning to the UK in January for reasons I won't go into here. Due to the large volume of low density housing, it is now all very expensive to buy. We've found that most of the people that emigrated here 5-10 years ago could afford to buy; those that arrive <5 years ago can barely afford to rent, including us. We have a combined salary of $160k, we pay $1000 in rent per week so that we can live near a train line to commute into Sydney. You can get cheaper places but you would be commuting for over an hour, possibly by Bus (e.g. North West Sydney or the Northern Beaches). My wife is a teacher and despises the education system. We have 6, 8 and 10 year children, the youngest are doing well but the eldest is struggling big time (more than in the UK). Depending on your aspirations, how many Universities can you name in the UK and how many can you name in Australia? Also bare in mind that if you come out with a 457 visa you need to pay $5000 per year per child for public (not private) education. However, some schools (ours included) also ask for a 'voluntary' contribution each term! Yes the lifestyle is better, its rains a lot less and there are the beaches etc. However, if you think the beaches are a good idea for the weekend, you can guarantee the rest of Sydney is thinking the same! Our kids have ended up hating the beach (sunscreen, hot, tired, thirsty etc). The roads are not great in Sydney so traffic jams are aplenty. Trains are exceptionally slow and stop everywhere (the train system is more like the London Overground) and the only one that goes near a beach is Cronulla to the south. One thing people don't consider in Sydney is the humidity - not as bad as Singapore but stifling. The expensive properties (rent or buy) are on the coast, as the sea breeze keeps the places comfortable. As you move further inland (Paramatta say) humidity and temperature rises and so the cost of housing goes down (surprise surprise). If houses have air con, electricity bills can be astronomical (the air con can be used in winter to heat the house). If they don't have air con, they typically have damp or dry rot but cheaper electricity bills. The poor housing results in Winters being far more depressing than the UK. There is nothing worse after a cold day than coming back to a cold house. So apologies for being a bit gloom and doom, but felt my opinion may come in useful.
  5. swampey

    Been back a month and I think we made a mistake!

    Excellent thread! My feeling is that it depends what you left in the UK and what you gained in Australia. If you left a relatively low standard of living in the UK, then you are bound to prefer Australia. Returning to a lower standard of living is always going to be hard. My employer paid for my family and I to emigrate out here (I still own and rent my house out in Milton Keynes). However, having rented in KuRingGai for a year, we have already made the decision to return to the UK around August 2017, so that the kids can start school at the beginning of the school year. My job required me to work in Sydney CBD so, compared to MK, the housing is more expensive (I pay twice as much as what I charge in the UK for a house of a similar size), housing is a lower quality, there are fewer teaching jobs for my wife (A bit of supply, a bit of Multilit), education quality is worse (personal opinion), and as the housing is so poor in Australia winters are a nightmare (I have never been as cold as I was in my first winter in Australia). However, we found the cost of transport is great (trains, fuel all cheaper), beaches are better (if you like that sort of thing), weather better, scuba diving better, thunderstorms better etc. In an ideal world we would love to move to the outskirts of Sydney and commute in, as the properties are more affordable. However, to do this would leave me commuting for two hours which, on top of 4 weeks holiday a year, isn't what I left the UK for. Family all have Permanent Visa's so we may return in the future. As it is, I look forward to cycling to work without the risk of getting swiped on the Pacific Highway, warm cuddly houses in the middle of winter, holidaying in Europe, larger choice of employers and more opportunities for my kids (Cambridge / Oxford / London / Birmingham)
  6. swampey

    Sydney Opal Card

  7. swampey

    Is this the right decision?

    So my family and I moved from Milton Keynes UK to Sydney in January 2015; we have already decided we are returning to the UK in August 2017, for a number of reasons: We still own a property in the UK; it is currently rented out and profitable. Unable to buy a house; We currently rent on the North Shore in Warrawee. We had no idea about the area and how expensive it was, it was recommended by my boss. However, refuse to pay silly money for houses that are cold, drafty and are expensive to heat / cool. School education; the North Shore schools are constantly held up as 'good schools'. However, with no inspection regime (as in the UK), there is no means of measuring performance except through NAPLAN tests. Without any proof, I am convinced that this is due to parental pressure, rather than any school effort on its own. Further Education prospects; I struggle to see what opportunities an Australian education offers compared to that in the UK. There are barely any Universities and an extremely small number of 'good' ones when compared to the UK and Europe. Work opportunities; if we stay in Australia I struggle to see how they could make a living in such a small (And without mining, shrinking) jobs market. My family have access to the EU jobs market, which is huge. My wife is a fully qualified but unemployed teacher; having jumped through multiple hoops to teach in Primary education, there are no jobs near where we live. She gets the odd supply job, works for MultiLit, but other than that we are struggling. Although I have a permanent visa, I only have a temporary contract with the company I work for (I am still employed in the UK and seconded to Australia). Although I am seconded for 3 years, I plan to use a clause in the contract to go back 6 months early. The company will pay for me to return A lot of the above sounds very negative. However, having been hear a year I can see that the experience has been great! However, it has only every felt like an 'experience', not a life. Hence the plan to return to our life in the UK. The question I try and ask myself is, if I was Australian and had the chance to live and work in Europe permanently, would I take it? I work in the railway sector as a consultant;
  8. swampey

    6 week review

    We live in Warrawee, although we are actually closer to the centre of Turramurra. We reckon we are going to stay where we are for a year and then head up to North Turramurra, as I can cycle to the train station to commute into Sydney. Depending on availability we reckon we should be able to save around $100 rent a week.
  9. swampey

    Is Anyone Happy?

    I may not be happy but my wife calls me a grumpy sod anyway! Certainly happier than if I stayed in the UK.
  10. swampey

    6 week review

    Apologies for confusion; I was comparing UK housing to Australian housing. I've lived in various places throughout the UK including renting and purchasing. The closest I lived to London was a 5-year old house in Milton Keynes. So to clarify what I meant by poor value for money - I pay $1000 per week (£500) and for that I get a house with no double glazing, no insulation, no heating and no air con. Very expensive to run in Autumn / Winter (need to use portable electric heaters) and very cold / uncomfortable. In summer, the house was baking hot for reasons mentioned previously (no air con, no insulation etc). The benefit is I have a swimming pool that the kids loved in summer, but the landlord did not provide a cover to keep it clean / warm. For Summer I intend to buy a liquid cover that should at least keep it warm and also prevent as much evaporation. The other big issue is damp. It is a lot more humid than the UK and it is not unusual for properties to smell 'foisty'. Things like damp proof coursing don't appear to be common, although our house has it. Its easy to say 'why didn't you shop around'? We shopped around all over the north shore (which is notoriously expensive anyway) and this was the best we could find for the money. Some properties were practically derelict for the same money, but they were in a good school area so the landlords felt they could charge the money they did. Its also easy to say 'if you don't like it go home'. The fact is we are willing to forego all of the above to experience something we thought we never would. I grew up in a council estate in West Yorkshire and I now live in a house with a pool in Sydney Australia! If I get sick of it, I'm in the position where I could easily go back to the UK (my property is currently being leased out).
  11. swampey

    6 week review

    I had a job lined up, my wife didn't. She is a primary school teacher and is having a load of bother getting the stat to recognise her qualifications. About three different institutions are involved, none of which speak to each other. With regards to deposit, it is one month up front with 2 weeks deposit (I think). We had some savings from the sale of our car in the UK so used this. Rent tends to get paid fortnightly, so that wasn't too bad. Basically fuel is cheaper, housing is more expensive (in Sydney) but everything else is about the same. As I think I posted previously, housing quality is absolutely rubbish for the money you pay, but that is the price of living in a relatively congested city where demand outstrips supply. I suspect a lot of new migrants are sick of the poor housing so move into new flats near the cbd. If you have the money you buy a derelict house on the outskirts, demolish it and build a new one.
  12. My family and I moved to Turramurra in January, which is a door-to-door commute to my work in the CBD of 1 hour. We pay $1050 a week (£525) and house prices are around 1-1.5 million minimum! We are in the same boat as you and need a 4 bedroom house (couple with three kids). Australia is generally as expensive as the UK (I'm from West Yorkshire, my wife is from Liverpool), except for the housing. As suggested above, I have been advised by a number of people that South of Sydney is far cheaper and just as attractive. We would move but we don't want to move our kids again so soon so we are pretty much tied in. The West of Sydney is cheaper but is not as attractive and also hotter / more humid, which being from the North of England has been a problem to say the least! Hope this helps. One area that is allegedly pretty cheap and may be worth looking into is the North West of Sydney. Currently there is no train line and you can only commute in by slow bus or car; however, the North West Rail Link is being built which should make this area much more accessible in the future. I've heard good and bad things about this area but having never been myself I would do your own research.
  13. swampey

    6 week review

    Just thought I would share some of our experiences of emigrating to Australia. We had a 189 visa that we applied for in August, granted in November and arrived in Sydney on the 2nd January. Bad experiences Rented housing in Sydney is shockingly bad. We looked on the North shore (all over) and had to pay $1000 a week for something semi liveable (married with 3 young kids). The limited number of houses and large number of migrants makes it a landlords market. Be warned! Not everywhere appears to have damp proof coursing so I know a number of established migrants who have suffered. Also, earthing electrical wiring seems to be optional so strongly suggest you buy extension leads with surge protection (friend of mine suffered when a nearby telegraph post got hit by lightning; surge travelled down telephone, through internet hub and into his computer via Ethernet lead. Computer fried). Schools take the piss. First they charge you extortionate prices for the uniforms, then they ask for volunteers to help out with everything (school dinner supervision, tuck shop, uniform shop etc). They also ask for a voluntary contribution every term, stationary etc. Still waiting on our belongings. They were collected from the UK at the beginning of December and are due to arrive this week. Luckily we packed a load of camping gear in the airfreight so at least we have the basics. However, the basics are wearing a bit thin after a months use! All credit cards have fees as well as interest. Plus they demand all evidence to be certified which mans finding a JP somewhere to do it for you. Would strongly recommend steering clear of them and simply using debit cards. Mosquitoes! Probably area-specific, but my wife and I came out in MASSIVE hives from being bitten at night. Mesh on the screens, anti-histamines, plug in repellent have just about kept them at bay. Internet. generally there are two cable internet provides; Optus and Telstra. Telstra offer tv packages with Foxtel, Optus offer something similar to Freeview+ (i.e. free to air channels plus some internet services such as recordable tv etc). Other internet providers suppler ADSL2+ only. We asked for Optus internet at the beginning of February - still waiting. As expensive as it is, they make no attempt to save money / energy. Petrol is the equivalent of 60p per litre, I have seen very few solar panels, very few solar cells, very little water conservation (i.e. water butts), fluorescent bulbs / leds are limited etc. When you are renting, you are very restricted how you can reduce your outgoings. Weather forecasting is rubbish. You might as well look out of your window and guess. Generally, however, sunny all day with rain at night (possibly but its dark so you don't know). Beer and LAger are expensive. Had to switch to Aussie wine, which is far cheaper. Good Experiences Applying for things such Tax File Number, Driving License, Family Tax Benefits and medicare have been a doddle. Medical insurance was a bit of a nightmare to start with (choice overload); however once you realise that everyone covers the basics (hospital and ambulance) and all the others are 'extras', you soon realise what is and isn't important. Took about a week to buy a brand new car (Prius V). We got the equivalent of Hire Purchase (Toyota advantage) which may be a bit of a rip off; however, my contract lasts three years and if I have to return to the UK I'd rather just hand the car back rather than sell it at a massive loss. Trains are dirt cheap. get an oyster card, travel 20km by train, equivalent of £2.50. Unfortunately they are also dead slow (same journey takes 35mins). Sydney is a hidden gem. surrounded by national parks with Illawara to South, Katoomba to West and Kur Ring Gai to north. Can't wait to get my bike and go cycling. Parks everywhere, plus city centre is pretty vibrant (however expensive but same as all other major cities). Wine is dirt cheap. Bought a 4L box of red wine, cost about £5. Still glad I made the move but do not expect to make any money from it (or lose money). However, its a once in a lifetime experience, how many other people get to see the other side of the world?
  14. swampey

    189 visa lodged August 2014

    No, direct grant this evening. Suspect lots of people will be contacted tonight.
  15. swampey

    189 visa lodged August 2014

    Just a quick update - status has changed from 'processing' to 'processing - please wait for the department to contact you'. What does it all mean????