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We Emigrated to Queensland, Australia

Updated on March 4, 2011

Living in Queensland

We emigrated from the UK in May 2007 and set off for the sunny skies of Queensland, Australia. When we first left the UK, I have to say that I was completely unsure of whether or not we would be going to Australia for good, but we were prepared to 'give it a go'. We had a few reasons for wanting to leave, but also a few reasons why we wanted to remain in the UK too.

One of the main reasons that we were emigrating was for my youngest son, Sam's health. He suffered with asthma from an early age. At six months old he was rushed into hospital with a severe asthma attack, followed by lots more hospital visits for asthma. At one point I asked the doctor at the hospital if there was anything that I could do, to which she replied, "no, unless you want to move to a warmer climate and even that may not help". Her response sent thoughts through my head, maybe there was something that we could at least try to make his asthma better.

Sam also had eczema, from head to toe. He used to scratch himself until he bled. It was impossible for him to take a bath as the chlorine would set his eczema off terribly. We tried every cream and potion available to cure eczema, it was a nightmare ! We did learn that the natural creams worked better than the steroids and kept the eczema under control, but it was still a nightmare. (I have spoken more about the eczema in another lens, which you can find below.) I did read that sea water could be good for eczema. Again, this set thoughts running through my head.

Another thing, that I think played a part in the move, was that my husband had an accident whilst at work in 2003, where he was knocked down by a drunk driver. This nearly cost him his life and the road of recovery was a long one. This also added up for us wanting a whole new life, new start.

I think all of the above things played a part in us moving to Australia. The main draw to stay in the UK was family. How could we leave our family and emigrate to the other side of the world ? This is a question, I am still after nearly four years unable to answer, I don't know how we did it, but we did.

The Visa

We came over to Australia on a student visa. This was our only option for getting into the country. My husband had to study a trade at TAFE (college) for two years and after that he would be able to apply for a permanent visa. It was a bit of a risky visa to emigrate with, but it was our only option. The trade my husband chose was Bricklaying. If bricklaying was taken from the MODL list then we would not be granted permanent residency and could even be sent home. We decided to take the risk, with the mind that if it did come off the list, we would have had a huge holiday, seen more of the world and would have a better understanding of whether the warmer climate would improve Sam's health.

We did experience a lot of problems with this visa. The recession hit and the laws changed half way through, bricklaying was no longer a priority trade in Australia. This meant we were put to the bottom of the pile. Then in late 2010, it changed again and it was put back towards the top and our visa was granted after a few other issues. (I will save them for another time).

Would you Emigrate for Better Health ?

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Arriving in Brisbane

We took off from Heathrow airport in London, May 2007. This was a whole new adventure for us. Harry was aged three and Sam was eighteen months old. Harry had been so excited about going on a plane, he had talked about it for days. Then when the engines started for take off, I looked over at Harry and started to tell him "this is it, the moment we take off", only to find him fast asleep. Harry's Dad, Buster and I had a good chuckle at this.

The journey from UK to Australia is a long one, but the boys were really good and slept during most of the two flights. When we landed at Brisbane, I can remember feeling a bit like it wasn't really happening, a bit bewildered. The boys were starting to get a bit cranky and restless. We picked up the hire car we had organised and set off to find our hotel. We had purchased maps on the area to help us get around. We could see exactly where we needed to be it was over the river. We looked at the map, then drove round and round in circles, before we gave in, parked the car and headed for the hotel on foot. Luckily we had travelled with the double buggy, so Harry and Sam went in that.

Finally, we arrived at the hotel. I was exhausted, the boys and Buster were ok as they had slept on the journey. I had to go straight to bed, I just couldn't keep my eyes open. Buster had a good look at the map, spoke to the recepton and walked with the boys back to the car and then drove the car to the hotel. He still, to this day says he doesn't know how we drove around in circles !

When it got dark that evening and the skyscrapers on Brisbane River lit up, we had the most amazing view from our apartment. It was breathtaking. I was hooked on that view from that moment. We went out and caught the City Cat into the centre of Brisbane and had some dinner and came back to sleep.

We had three lovely days at Brisbane and then travelled upto the Sunshine Coast where Buster's TAFE course was going to be.

(The image was taken within the first two days of arriving in Australia.)

On to the Sunshine Coast

I had organized us a hotel in Twin Waters for two weeks, thinking we would have another couple of weeks holiday and sort a few things out. I couldn't have been more wrong. It was such a busy two weeks. We sorted out driving licences, car seats, a car and spent the rest of the time looking for a rental property. We settled on a beautiful house in Twin Waters. Then we went out and purchased a fridge, freezer, bed, lounge and other furniture. I think in that two weeks we spent two days at the beach, it was not much of a holiday.

Our furniture, kids toys, clothes and personal belongings were all on a container, having left the UK and on their way to us in Australia. There were delays and we had 4 weeks in Australia with just what we had managed to bring in our suitcases. We went to see Buster's family in Toowoomba for a week whilst the container was on the way to make things a bit easier.

(The image was taken on the first day we went to the beach on the Sunshine Coast.)

I am Always nice to Telemarketers

Buster's course at TAFE started in July 2007 so this left the kids and I on our own. I made the decision that if I wanted to meet people I needed to get myself out there. I joined playgroups, but many of the women at them had their own little groups and seemed to look down their noses at us. I did however find a good few friends this way who I am still in touch with. A couple of the families have gone to live in Perth now though to try things out there, but we still keep in touch.

On the student visa Buster was only allowed to work twenty hours a week, but I was also allowed to work twenty hours. I had to go out and get myself a job. I got a job in a Call Centre, selling holidays over the phone. That's right, I was one of those annoying people who get you just as you are about to eat dinner or bath the kids and try to talk you into buying a holiday. Some people were really abusive on the phone towards me and at times I did find this quite soul destroying. After six months of being there, I had really had enough, but I had no choice but to carry on until the end of Buster's course. We needed the money. I hasten to add, I am always more polite to telemarketers now.

Schools on the Sunshine Coast

When Harry turned four I got him into Kindy which he loved from day one. It was good for him and helped him to get more settled. The year after Sam started Kindy and Harry was at Prep, meaning I had a lot more free time on my hands. Isn't it amazing how quick this free time goes ? By the time I have done the house chores, created a Squidoo lens on here and had a coffee, it's time to collect them.

I love the school that they go to here. The teachers here seem to really go the extra mile and listen to the child. I am able to go in to the classroom once a week aswell and help out with the children. I love being a part of their schooling.

Sam's Health Now

The asthma is so much better. He probably get's it about once a year and, touch wood, he has never needed to go to hospital because of it. When he does get it, it can be easily managed at home. This means that Sam can run about, climb trees and do all the normal stuff that boys his age do.

His eczema rarely is a problem now too. When we first arrived we bought some big containers and Buster would go to the beach and fill them up. Then we would boil the sea water up on the stove and bath Sam in the water. He was able to sit in that bath as long as he wanted. He loved it ! About six months after arriving in Australia Sam's eczema was gone. Only every now and again does he get a bit on the crevices of his arms or legs. If he does, I put on a bit of cream and it goes.

Sam is able to have a normal life here in Australia, his health is not an issue. It could have gone either way and made his health worse, but it didn't. The move was the right thing to do, for Sam.

Do you think we made the right choice ?

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Will we stay in Australia ?

I miss my family so much. It is so hard being away from them. I still can't believe that I took the plunge and moved out here. Everyone in the UK understand why we did it and are happy that Sam's health is much better. Our parents visit at least once a year and when they are here we have such an amazing time, it's brilliant.

There are times when I get really down and want to go home, but then I look at the kids having body boarding at the beach or having fun at school. Sam no longer in hospital, having his inhaler or scratching. For the moment this is the right thing for us as a family, it really is. My children have a good life. I have some good friends and my husband is finally in a decent job, even though it means him working away from home a lot.

I am going back to the UK in June for a visit so it will be interesting to see if this makes me want to move back there or even confirms that I should remain in Australia. I will let you know.


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    • Risha Linda profile image

      Risha Linda Mateos 3 years ago from Florida


      I very much enjoyed reading your story since my family did the same thing in 1982. We were a young family with two children living in Florida U.S.A. We also wanted a healthier life for our children, away from Nuclear power plants, pollution and over-crowding. Queensland, Australia seemed like the perfect location. It took us two years to fill all the requirements, medical checks, police background checks and a meeting with the vice-counsel. Once we acquired our resident visas we flew Quantas Airlines to Brisbane and stayed at Yungaba migrant center on Kangaroo point for 8 weeks while my husband attended job interviews with the local electricity board. After 8 weeks we moved to Kingaroy about 70 miles inland from Brisbane and lived there for two and a half years until my husband was very seriously injured at his work and put on disability. At that point I became very uneasy with the idea of him nearly being killed and all our relatives being so far away. I am afraid I let that fear taint my desire to remain in Australia and within 4 months of his injury we packed our bags and returned to the U.S.A. In hindsight I deeply regret leaving Australia as my children would certainly have been better off living there. Although it is nice having them spend time with their grand parents and aunts and other relatives here I often feel guilty that I let my nostalgia for family and my fear of being alone if something happened to my husband ruin our new life in Queensland, but life moves on and I have made the best of it. My husband ran off with a younger woman since our return, two out of three grand parents died and the aunts became estranged. Funny how things work. My advice; If you are happy and well adjusted in Australia and your children are healthy and thriving, then stay. Your extended family can always come see you some day and there is the internet to keep close if they don't. Australia has so much wide open space and much cleaner air and water. No nuclear pollution, a good education system and standard of living and from my own personal experience the people there are wonderful. I wish you all the best. I hope you will be very happy.

    • redroses lm profile image

      Jenny Campbell 4 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      I'm glad your immigration turned out.

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      I'm glad you will be able to see your family. It was nearly 7 years before I was able to go home. Enjoy your time with your loved ones.

    • profile image

      travelandworkinasutralia 6 years ago

      Great Lens!

    • profile image

      GiftsBonanza 6 years ago

      It sounds like you made the right decision, although not the easiest :)

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

      Wow! What an amazing story! I was thrilled to hear the your son's health has actually improved so much because of your move. Just Amazing!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 6 years ago from Central Florida

      Hang in there. It takes quite awhile to feel really at home in a new place. I enjoyed reading about your family's move to Australia.

    • JanieceTobey profile image

      JanieceTobey 6 years ago

      That is so wonderful that your son is doing better in Australia!!

    • profile image

      ohcaroline 6 years ago

      Great story Hayley. Glad your son is doing well there.

    • rlivermore profile image

      rlivermore 6 years ago

      I really enjoyed reading your story. It takes a lot of guts to move to a different country, so I commend you for doing so, particularly since you did it for your sweet son!

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Sounds like a wonderful place.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 6 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I'm glad you came! I know you're a long way from your family back home but how wonderful it is here for the boys, especially Sam. We have the internet these days, with fast emails and chat programmes. as well as video phones, making it easier to keep in touch. With your courage, you're an asset to Australia.

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 6 years ago from Concord VA

      Great lens! :)

    • Grandma-Marilyn profile image

      Grandma-Marilyn 6 years ago

      Great lens. Sounds wonderful.

    • LisaAuch1 profile image

      Lisa Auch 6 years ago from Scotland

      How fantastic, you gave everything up for the health of a child, my brother had suffered severe asthma attacks all his life, a move to a warmer climate was indeed suggested, unfortunately after several comas, he suffered major heart attack. there is no way my brother could climb trees, or body board like all the other kids. Your Sam is extremely lucky! a lot of our friends have emigrated, and we are hoping to visit for a month, to be able to see everyone for a while at least. exciting, so you never know you might end up with a neighbour!

    • JackieM293 profile image

      JackieM293 6 years ago

      Hi Hayley, great lens. we emigrated from the UK to Melbourne in June 2009. We've already made the trip back to the UK and for me it just confirmed that Aus is a great place to bring up children and will definitely be home forever. Will be interested to hear how you get on. J

    • Elle-Dee-Esse profile image

      Lynne Schroeder 6 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

      I didn't realise you were such a recent arrival! You may find a pull to go back in the next year or so. I lived in London for three years before feeling the desire to return to Australia.

    • LissaKlar LM profile image

      LissaKlar LM 6 years ago

      Very brave to move so far away from your entire family. Don't think I could do it.