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I have been accepted for a post grad masters in Early Years Education at Darwin University, starting this August, so off shore for the moment and going on shore hopefully next Feb.  We come from Cornwall and have 2 girls 5 and 7. My husband is mid 50's, he is a self employed builder here. I am 43 and so any permanent visa for us, as a family, would be down to sponsored employment. In my mind, we would most likely have 4 years in Australia,  while I study and then on the graduate visa. For us it seems like a great opportunity to study  and gain a qualification and for the kids to experience a new country. If it works out  it might lead to more, but we are realistic that it might not lead to anything permanent. We have savings to pay for the course and income from the Uk that will pay for  the majority of the rent and day to day whilst we are in Australia,

But......Are we crazy to have come up with this plan?

My husband will have full work rights under my visa, so I'd like to know if there's jobs available for him (part time) - he's one of those people that can do everything - he built our house so he plumbs, builds, fully trained carpenter, fits kitchens, bathrooms, roofs, digger and dumper driver (the list is endless) - ideally it would be great if he could work part time on a self employed basis as that's what we're used to here.

I'd also like thoughts on Darwin for kids, areas to move to,  ideas  or thoughts or just any comment you might have!

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At your age, it's a temporary move.  Even employer-sponsored visas cut off at age 45, except in very rare circumstances.  

It's the right time to have an adventure, because once the children start secondary school, you would start running into problems with continuity of education.  The only question would be whether you can really afford it, but it sounds like you've done your sums. 

Your husband could certainly work part-time. Setting up a small business is very easy here, he just needs to get a ABN (Australian Business Number) and off he goes.  There are rules about being licensed for some trades and his UK qualifications wouldn't be recognised for those, but he could advertise himself as a handyman.  

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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You’ve probably already budgeted but just in case you haven’t, don’t forget the international school fees for your kids plus any child care you may need if your DH can pick up work because you won’t  get any subsidies. 

Darwin is one of those vegemite places, you either love it or hate it. Most Aussies would tell you to avoid it like the plague but if you like the hot and the wet you’ll be fine. Just don’t take any good leather stuff, it’ll get mouldy.  
 

Being in education yourself you’ll be in a good position to help your kids catch up when they get back into the U.K. system but reports from returnees suggest that U.K. schools are pretty good with helping catch ups.

Good luck, it’ll be an adventure for sure. 

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7 hours ago, robins_jessica said:

I have been accepted for a post grad masters in Early Years Education at Darwin University, starting this August, so off shore for the moment and going on shore hopefully next Feb.  We come from Cornwall and have 2 girls 5 and 7. My husband is mid 50's, he is a self employed builder here. I am 43 and so any permanent visa for us, as a family, would be down to sponsored employment. In my mind, we would most likely have 4 years in Australia,  while I study and then on the graduate visa. For us it seems like a great opportunity to study  and gain a qualification and for the kids to experience a new country. If it works out  it might lead to more, but we are realistic that it might not lead to anything permanent. We have savings to pay for the course and income from the Uk that will pay for  the majority of the rent and day to day whilst we are in Australia,

But......Are we crazy to have come up with this plan?

My husband will have full work rights under my visa, so I'd like to know if there's jobs available for him (part time) - he's one of those people that can do everything - he built our house so he plumbs, builds, fully trained carpenter, fits kitchens, bathrooms, roofs, digger and dumper driver (the list is endless) - ideally it would be great if he could work part time on a self employed basis as that's what we're used to here.

I'd also like thoughts on Darwin for kids, areas to move to,  ideas or thoughts or just any comment you might have!

Darwin is tiny compared with other state capitals, but you'll definitely get to experience the real Australia - it will be on your doorstep. Unless you have a particular affinity to hot and humid weather, it will wear you down in the end. I lived in Cairns for nearly 4 years, which is also hot, but you don't feel cut off from the rest of Australia like you do in Darwin. Your husband sounds useful! He could probably get a well-paid job in the mines. Darwin also has issues with high-unemployment and crime, so it's not the paradise you might see in holiday brochures etc.

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/politics/tough-talk-to-tackle-top-end-crime-wave/news-story/8c4b47ced584877ede2db51ef769ab54

 

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If you can afford it go for it. Darwin is a lively place, I would try to be as close to the City as I could, not the suburbs and definitely not Palmerston.

Weather is great between about June to August, then it gets hot and himid. Just a wet and dry season.

I liked Darwin when I've bee on work trips.

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Hi thank you all for your help all very helpful. We've done the research and we know it's going to cost us with the kids education,  we could get free education in WA but the course in more expensive there so I guess it's swings and roundabouts in that respect.

It's been really helpful re the climate, I knew it was hot and humid there but I've now researched and have read about the build up is that right :-) ...?

I'd also read some news articles about taxi drivers refusing to go to certain areas so I kind of guessed there's issues in places the same as everywhere, I'll just need some help not to end up living in the wrong neck of the woods.

My husband I think is too old to go down the mines (56) and tbh,  he's worked his socks off so I really hope he can avoid the mines (unless of course it would lead to residency ha ha)

We do have alternatives to Darwin, I am still waiting to hear from Adelaide, but I do have an offer from Perth,  we were put off that offer though by the sheer size of the city ...it scares me ...if anyone has comments on any comparison between any of the locations that would also be helpful.

That's great though, at least no ones told us not to do it :-) thank you all

 

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3 hours ago, robins_jessica said:

It's been really helpful re the climate, I knew it was hot and humid there but I've now researched and have read about the build up is that right 🙂 ...?

Yes,  "the build up" really  is a thing in Darwin:  the humidity increases prior to the wet season but without the rain of the later wet season which brings some cooling relief.  Also known as "mango madness" - it coincides with the ripening of the mangoes

.  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-07/mango-madness-mental-illness-tropical-wet-season-build-up/5795852

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4 hours ago, robins_jessica said:

Hi thank you all for your help all very helpful. We've done the research and we know it's going to cost us with the kids education,  we could get free education in WA but the course in more expensive there so I guess it's swings and roundabouts in that respect.

It's been really helpful re the climate, I knew it was hot and humid there but I've now researched and have read about the build up is that right 🙂 ...?

We do have alternatives to Darwin, I am still waiting to hear from Adelaide, but I do have an offer from Perth, 

 

If you have alternatives to Darwin, take one.  Darwin is a place for the adventurous.   It's a vibrant city these days, but it's a harsh climate, and still a frontier city in many ways.  If you can afford a nice apartment in the posh inner suburbs, go for it--you'll enjoy it and you'll have experiences you'll never forget.  

But that's the first hurdle.  If you're on a tight budget, that nice city apartment may not be within your means.   Check realestate.com.au for rental prices, and remember that real estate agents use fisheye lenses to make things look bigger, and shamelessly touch up/selectively photograph places to hide flaws.  Do not even consider places that don't have air conditioning.  If you've never experienced humidity outside Europe, you have no concept of what it's like (on the plus side, you'll love to gorgeous, mild, blue-sky dry season).  

Finally, bugs.  Lots of them.  Mosquito-borne diseases like Murray Valley, Ross River, Kunjin and Barmah Forest viruses, and dengue fever are fairly common.  Some of those diseases are present further south in Australia, but they are much more of a problem in  the NT because there are so many mosquitos and they bite all day as well as evenings.

There are people who love living in Darwin.   There's a great sense of community, as there often is where people live in a challenging environment.  But do bear in mind that most Australian, offered a transfer to Darwin, wouldn't take the job.  

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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5 hours ago, robins_jessica said:

My husband I think is too old to go down the mines (56) and tbh,  he's worked his socks off so I really hope he can avoid the mines (unless of course it would lead to residency ha ha)

I think you're joking but it's worth repeating - your husband would have absolutely no chance of getting permanent residency, because he is way over the maximum age limit.    By the time you've done your course and graduate visa, you'll be over the age limit too.   There are rare exemptions for senior academics and scientists and some high-income earners, but that's not going to be you. 

It's tempting to think that once you get to Australia and get settled, other visa opportunities will appear. I mean, once you've made a home there for four or five years, there must be options, they wouldn't force you to leave, would they?  Well, yes they would, and do. 

It's possible that after your graduate visa, you might get a short employer-sponsored contract, and you might even be able to get that renewed, so you might be able to stretch your Aussie adventure out to ten years or more.  But there is still absolutely no prospect of permanency, and if you stretch it out until your kids are in their late teens, you could screw up their education -- imagine having to move back to the UK in Year 12.  Also, you must be resident in the UK for 3 years before they enter university, otherwise you'll have to pay eye-watering international fees and won't have access to any student loans or other assistance.

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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Marisawright said:

If you have alternatives to Darwin, take one.  Darwin is a place for the adventurous.   It's a vibrant city these days, but it's a harsh climate, and still a frontier city in many ways.  If you can afford a nice apartment in the posh inner suburbs, go for it--you'll enjoy it and you'll have experiences you'll never forget.  

But that's the first hurdle.  If you're on a tight budget, that nice city apartment may not be within your means.   Check realestate.com.au for rental prices, and remember that real estate agents use fisheye lenses to make things look bigger, and shamelessly touch up/selectively photograph places to hide flaws.  Do not even consider places that don't have air conditioning.  If you've never experienced humidity outside Europe, you have no concept of what it's like (on the plus side, you'll love to gorgeous, mild, blue-sky dry season).  

Finally, bugs.  Lots of them.  Mosquito-borne diseases like Murray Valley, Ross River, Kunjin and Barmah Forest viruses, and dengue fever are fairly common.  Some of those diseases are present further south in Australia, but they are much more of a problem in  the NT because there are so many mosquitos and they bite all day as well as evenings.

There are people who love living in Darwin.   There's a great sense of community, as there often is where people live in a challenging environment.  But do bear in mind that most Australian, offered a transfer to Darwin, wouldn't take the job.  

@robins_jessica I totally agree with everything @Marisawright has said above with the exception of referring to Darwin as a 'city'. Politically maybe, but by British standards it's a town - and a fairly average one at that. If you have the option to go to Perth or Adelaide, then take it. They may seem big compared with Truro, but they are so spread out they don't have the hustle and bustle of a European city, unless you're right in the heart of the CBD. Perth is pristine, with fabulous beaches just a stone's throw away, while Adelaide has an almost English feel, with it's lovely parks and gardens. Both cities are quite affordable compared with Sydney and Melbourne. By comparison Darwin is a stinking-hot, mosquito ridden hell-hole. You can't swim in the sea there or you'll be dead in 5 minutes! It's one redeeming feature is that you could fly easily to South East Asia, but clearly that's going to be off the table for a long time to come.

Edited by Wanderer Returns
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21 hours ago, Paul1Perth said:

If you can afford it go for it. Darwin is a lively place, I would try to be as close to the City as I could, not the suburbs and definitely not Palmerston.

Weather is great between about June to August, then it gets hot and humid. Just a wet and dry season.

I liked Darwin when I've bee on work trips.

The weather is great in Chesterfield between June and August, Paul - I don't see you moving back there! 😄 

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Posted (edited)

Perth would be a far better option in my opinion. It’s not a big city and unless you’re loaded, you won’t be living in the city. The suburbs north and south of the city are mainly quiet (some more than others) and not at all like living in a city.  I’ve never been to Darwin but I’ve heard lots about it and what others have said is in line with that. Your husband could do handyman work or look for a permanent job.  I believe Australia can be very ageist so someone well into their 50’’s may not get work as easily but  it’s not impossible.

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Thank you so much, everyone much appreciated.Really helpful information. ...it certainly sounds as though Darwin would give us a radical change and completely different experience which is kind of what we are aiming for. We're still weighing up all of the options available ...there are pros and cons to each one! Thanks again

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17 hours ago, Wanderer Returns said:

The weather is great in Chesterfield between June and August, Paul - I don't see you moving back there! 😄 

Could be, could be crap too. Darwin it's guaranteed.😁

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On 24/04/2021 at 02:30, robins_jessica said:

Hi thank you all for your help all very helpful. We've done the research and we know it's going to cost us with the kids education,  we could get free education in WA but the course in more expensive there so I guess it's swings and roundabouts in that respect.

It's been really helpful re the climate, I knew it was hot and humid there but I've now researched and have read about the build up is that right 🙂 ...?

I'd also read some news articles about taxi drivers refusing to go to certain areas so I kind of guessed there's issues in places the same as everywhere, I'll just need some help not to end up living in the wrong neck of the woods.

My husband I think is too old to go down the mines (56) and tbh,  he's worked his socks off so I really hope he can avoid the mines (unless of course it would lead to residency ha ha)

We do have alternatives to Darwin, I am still waiting to hear from Adelaide, but I do have an offer from Perth,  we were put off that offer though by the sheer size of the city ...it scares me ...if anyone has comments on any comparison between any of the locations that would also be helpful.

That's great though, at least no ones told us not to do it 🙂 thank you all

 

If you have an offer in Perth it would be a no brainer to take that. 

Don't know what scared you about the size of the City, it's really not that big, you could walk round the whole City in a day. It's not busy like UK cities either, easy to walk, free public transport in the City and not even bad to drive into, has the beautiful Kings Park and is a very pretty and clean City. Some fantastic views from Kings Park over the City and rivers.

Much nicer climate than Darwin and you can use the ocean. 

If you really don't like the City there are some great suburbs near fantastic beaches or, if you prefer, river. We live about 30km North, very rarely go into Perth as there's everything we need close by, including a glorious beach 2min by car, 10 min walk away. Great for kids.

Joondalup is only about 15mins away, has every shopping option you could need. Houses are increasing in price at the moment but probably still on par with Darwin and probably Adelaide. Lot cheaper than Sydney or Melbourne, that's for sure. Perth City wouldn't be any bigger than Adelaide, looks a lot more modern though.

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On 24/04/2021 at 07:57, Marisawright said:

I think you're joking but it's worth repeating - your husband would have absolutely no chance of getting permanent residency, because he is way over the maximum age limit.    By the time you've done your course and graduate visa, you'll be over the age limit too.   There are rare exemptions for senior academics and scientists and some high-income earners, but that's not going to be you. 

It's tempting to think that once you get to Australia and get settled, other visa opportunities will appear. I mean, once you've made a home there for four or five years, there must be options, they wouldn't force you to leave, would they?  Well, yes they would, and do. 

It's possible that after your graduate visa, you might get a short employer-sponsored contract, and you might even be able to get that renewed, so you might be able to stretch your Aussie adventure out to ten years or more.  But there is still absolutely no prospect of permanency, and if you stretch it out until your kids are in their late teens, you could screw up their education -- imagine having to move back to the UK in Year 12.  Also, you must be resident in the UK for 3 years before they enter university, otherwise you'll have to pay eye-watering international fees and won't have access to any student loans or other assistance.

Unfortunately spot on. Seen so many stories with whole families crying, not wanting to go back, made a life here, had kids, got a house, but they've never had the right visa. 

Somehow it comes out in the media that it's "un-Australian" for them to have to go back.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, robins_jessica said:

Thank you so much, everyone much appreciated.Really helpful information. ...it certainly sounds as though Darwin would give us a radical change and completely different experience which is kind of what we are aiming for. 

It will be a completely different experience no matter where you choose.   People often think Australia is Britain with sunshine.   There are pockets of Perth which can feel like that, because they're full of British migrants - but the rest of Australlia is as foreign as France or Germany or Spain.  We just happen to speak English.  

And if moving to most Australian cities are as foreign as the continent, then I'd say moving to Darwin reminds me most strongly of living in Africa (which I did for 3 years).  

Edited by Marisawright
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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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11 hours ago, robins_jessica said:

Thank you so much, everyone much appreciated.Really helpful information. ...it certainly sounds as though Darwin would give us a radical change and completely different experience which is kind of what we are aiming for. We're still weighing up all of the options available ...there are pros and cons to each one! Thanks again

It's going to be a radical change wherever you go.

What's made you go back into education? I went back to uni at 30 and did a degree but I wasn't married and didn't have anything to think about but me. If I'd been married I wouldn't have considered it. Massive drain on funds and no guarantee that your going to be better off after.

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12 hours ago, robins_jessica said:

Thank you so much, everyone much appreciated.Really helpful information. ...it certainly sounds as though Darwin would give us a radical change and completely different experience which is kind of what we are aiming for. We're still weighing up all of the options available ...there are pros and cons to each one! Thanks again

Sure, it will give you a really different experience - as the others have said, the culture shock could be enormous.  One of my brothers in law lived in Darwin for a few years and in the end he decided he couldnt hack it one minute more, got one his one speed, back pedal brake bike and rode south.  He got almost as far as Alice Springs before the bike broke down and he hitched the rest of the way LOL.

Seriously, you must be really prepared to spend a load of money on this short term adventure - do you really think that you might get let in permanently or is it really for the adventure? Your DH will be about retirement age here - age discrimination is rampant and at his age he is probably not going to enjoy doing work outside in the heat nor crawling around in small crawl spaces - tradies jobs are for young blokes.  Darwin may offer your kids the sort of education you would probably rather they didnt have (some parts are rough as guts and we have had folk on here telling their stories).  Are you sure you wouldnt get just as good a deal and some adventure from moving elsewhere in UK if you want the change and getting perhaps a better qualification at the end of it?  Perth or Adelaide would be safer but neither of them are like the bucolic British countryside living - on balance maybe Adelaide would be more user friendly.  I'm all for adventure though so if you have pots of money to burn on adventure then go for it.

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On 23/04/2021 at 19:30, robins_jessica said:

Hi thank you all for your help all very helpful. We've done the research and we know it's going to cost us with the kids education,  we could get free education in WA but the course in more expensive there so I guess it's swings and roundabouts in that respect.

It's been really helpful re the climate, I knew it was hot and humid there but I've now researched and have read about the build up is that right 🙂 ...?

I'd also read some news articles about taxi drivers refusing to go to certain areas so I kind of guessed there's issues in places the same as everywhere, I'll just need some help not to end up living in the wrong neck of the woods.

My husband I think is too old to go down the mines (56) and tbh,  he's worked his socks off so I really hope he can avoid the mines (unless of course it would lead to residency ha ha)

We do have alternatives to Darwin, I am still waiting to hear from Adelaide, but I do have an offer from Perth,  we were put off that offer though by the sheer size of the city ...it scares me ...if anyone has comments on any comparison between any of the locations that would also be helpful.

That's great though, at least no ones told us not to do it 🙂 thank you all

 

I would second that the Perth hills are probably as close to UK country living as you can get. 

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Nearly there! Don't drop the ball now guys! Vaccines are weeks away. Stay safe!

 

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 Darwin is not a place for the faint hearted. It has a high crime and these days I understand drug abuse rate. There is a reason so many houses maintain large dogs. I think it would make sound sense to acquire one unless of course living in an apartment, which doesn't appear would e the case. 

Likewise it used to have the name ofLand  of The Broken Jaw. Lots of violence usually alcohol related . Remember NT has the highest murder rate per capita in Australia as well. 

I lived close to the centre in an apartment, so endured no break-in's but certainly know people who did.  I have no idea with regards to the feasibility of living more remote. I suspect it would be an eye opener though. 

Don't get me wrong. Liked very much my time living in Darwin. Certainly different from elsewhere in Australia and is very multi cultural. The beach market had a great vibe during the season . City very Back Packer orientated with loads staying on, giving a further international vibe to what is a pretty much 'real Aussie ambiance' of a place.

A lot of foreigners had thoughts of moving South at some stage though. Various reasons. Professional career advancement. Medical reasons. Education. Safety issues. Perhaps just out grew Darwin and wanted more. 

Probably more a young persons place and stats seem to confirm it being so. Older people tended to return to Adelaide before retirement. (a lot of Adelaide people worked in Darwin in government departments and so on)

I suspect Darwin and the NT in general would be more an adventure than living in suburban Adelaide or Perth for sure. It could be a place to savour for a few years. But with the heat, outside work would likely pose a difficulty for anyone from a temperate climate and not used to humidity. 

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2 hours ago, Paul1Perth said:

Could be, could be crap too. Darwin it's guaranteed.😁

Given the choice of the two, I'd probably go with Darwin - but that's mainly because most of the pubs in Chessie are still shut at the moment! 😆

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2 hours ago, Marisawright said:

And if moving to most Australian cities are as foreign as the continent, then I'd say moving to Darwin reminds me most strongly of living in Africa (which I did for 3 years).  

When I visited Darwin back in 2005, I went on a bus and I was the only white face. Everyone was looking at me like they do when you get on the buses in India!

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@Canada2Australia a forum member lived and worked in Darwin.  He will be able to give you his opinion of life there.

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21 hours ago, Wanderer Returns said:

Given the choice of the two, I'd probably go with Darwin - but that's mainly because most of the pubs in Chessie are still shut at the moment! 😆

I'd go with Darwin too. Good pub vibe in Darwin, lots of live music. Have to get used to being called a "white c***" pretty quick though. I'm sure it's just a term of endearment.😄

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