When I moved over to Australia I knew I was going to miss things I had become used to in Eastbourne; The Ashoka Indian restaurant, my beautiful running group, Décor...
BBC wanted down under participants
Our First story from series 1 – the first BBC family wanted down under!
Ages: Gary age 44 Cal age 38
Occupation: Mobile mechanic and Gym instructor
Visa Class: 136 skilled (now 175)
From Uk: Tottington, Lancashire To: Flagstone Jimboomba Brisbane
Filmed on Wanted Down Under: March 2006
Cal and Gary were on the first ever BBC wanted down under (WDU) programme – series 1. I caught up with them 5 years down the track to see how life in Australia is suiting the family and what it was like to be on the BBC WDU programme!
• What was the application process like for the WDU show?
Our experience will probably differ to other families as we made the Pilot episode so had no format to follow; it was a little trial and error!! Originally we were approached by our visa agent who asked if we would be interested in helping make a TV show. A week later we received a call from a lovely lady at the BBC and we had a brief phone interview, whilst on the phone we made arrangements for them to visit us at home for some trail filming a week or two later. There did seem to be lots of forms to fill in but I think lots of these were to do with the film crew wanting to follow me on the school run. The film crew were fab and really made you feel at ease, they asked various questions about our lifestyle and what we wanted from ‘our new lives’ should we make the move to Australia.
• Why do you think the BBC chose you?
Maybe we were the only family brave enough at the time! Lol,,although I think our down to earth nature and realistic expectations had a part to play along with the children being such young ages (2 and 6 at the time).
• What was the filming process like? (highs and lows)
I can honestly say after a while you do forget the cameras are there. We found the film crew and presenters both on WDU and WDU Revisited really nice, relaxed guys, this ultimately helps you relax and enjoy the experience. Whilst in Brisbane (and unlike other shows we had 12 days here) we didn’t know what we were doing from day to day so it made everything quite exciting. We received a text message every evening telling us what to pack for the following day’s adventure!
• Did being on the programme help you decide about your move to Australia? And in what way?
I’m not sure it helped but it did re-enforce our determination to make migrating work. We couldn’t financially afford a reccie out here so our sneak peek with the BBC proved very valuable to someone who had never set foot on Aussie soil. We found it helpful as originally the plan was to pair families up with a similar Aussie family, so this is what we did on our programme, Hubby went to work with the guy, I stayed home playing mum with the wife. Just experiencing ‘normal everyday’ life and being able to speak with a family living your dream really helps answer so many questions that fill our heads prior to making such a big move.
• Did the programme represent your family well any areas you felt didn’t?
I think it brought across how having an open mind and being prepared to adapt is really a necessity when migrating so far from home. It was also good how the film crew had managed ‘secret’ interviews with my eldest, it was good to hear your child’s point of view without you having any input into their reply’s.
• What are you up to now?
We are now Australian Citizens and have been living here just over 5 years. Gary has his own mobile mechanics business called ‘Diesel Diagnostics’ covering the Gold Coast and Brisbane he spends most of his days down on the Gold Coast, (not sure why he needs a surf board in his van for work?). After running a relocation company for a few years, I decided to take a complete change and become a qualified gymnastics coach working around the kids and school times. I found a great opportunity for me at Jimboomba Gym club teaching women artistic gymnastics – which I really enjoy. I also moderate for http://www.pomsinoz.com/
• How are things working out for you in Australia?
All is good. It’s a massive learning curve and even now 5 years on you learn something new about the country every day. It’s hard leaving friends and family behind but it’s worth it.
• What have been your biggest surprises?
There are a lot of differences here, some good ,some bad. Trade licencing and council regulations can be a nightmare to get to grips with, but I think my biggest surprise was how cold it feels in winter!
• What has it been like for you leaving people / places behind?
It’s tough leaving everyone and everything behind. You do have wobbly days and wonder what you’ve done but getting out and meeting people is great as the aussies are so friendly. Just don’t expect to replace the good friends you left behind overnight and keep your expectations real.
•Please sum up why you have decided to settle in Australia?
Both we and the children have adapted really well. We spend lots more time together doing activities that the weather prevented us doing in the UK and the area we live is pretty safe in comparison to what we left behind, allowing the children to have more of an 80’s upbringing. To us gaining citizenship was ‘the icing on the cake’ . We are now proud to call Australia home!