Back in 2010 the Wilson family had high hopes of a new life in Australia, and the dream was just within their grasp. But what did they decide to do - stay, or go?
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Back in 2010, the Wilson family had high hopes of a life down under.
We are thinking about Australia because a better lifestyle,
Better living accommodation, just seems to be a lot of betters.
And the dream might have been just within their grasp.
Wow! This is absolutely ideal.
However, husband Chris knew the pressure was on him to deliver.
If I can't get a job, that comes pretty much on a par with what I'm getting at the minute
in the UK, I'll be honest, I can't see... I can't see it actually working.
But could they bear to leave loved ones back home?
Or would it be too painful?
I can't do this, sorry.
It is a lot to think about, yeah. A whole lot to think about.
So, the big question is, where are the Wilsons now?
In the UK or living down under?
Australia's famous laid-back way of life,
sunny climate and almost 50,000 kilometres of coastline have long
made it the favourite destination for Brits looking to move abroad.
But life down under doesn't always deliver the paradise new
arrivals may picture.
The Wilson family wanted to find out if emigration could offer them
a better life.
But a move down under inevitably meant leaving loved ones behind.
And after a trial week in Australia,
they were faced with the huge decision of
whether to stay in the UK or make the move down under for good.
In 2010, the pretty village of Wilberfoss near York was
the home to the Wilson family,
36-year-old Chris, Debs, 35, and their two black labradors,
Beth and Susie.
They were keen to explore the idea of taking their dogs
and making a life-changing move down under.
But this wasn't the first time they'd upped sticks and moved.
Chris has been in the RAF for 16 years.
And was shunted from pillar to post,
so he is used to packing up his boxes and moving on again.
We've moved around a considerable amount.
Something like 12 houses in 14 years.
It is difficult when you are in the forces, you can't get settled down anywhere.
As soon as you get there and settle down, you make friends, you get posted and...
That's it. Boxing up again and we are off.
-I suppose it kind of in my blood now to get itchy feet every three years, so...
Since Chris had left the RAF, they were free to go anywhere
and Chris was set on moving them lock, stock
and barrel to the other side of the world.
Some days I wake up and I'm all excited
and think it's going to be the best thing since sliced bread.
Other days, I wake up and panic and think, oh, God,
it's just too far away.
It's all the way round the other side of the world.
And I don't know, it just seems like such a big step to take.
It's a big decision to make.
Debs and Chris both dreamt of a life in the sun.
And the key to that was work.
Chris loved his job in the UK and he wouldn't settle for second best.
It's critical that I get this kind of work down in Australia,
if we were to go. It's what I've been trained to do.
It's what I've known for pretty much my whole working career.
It's got to be pretty much the same as what I'm doing now
to go down there. If it's not, then I don't know,
it could put a bit of a spanner in the works, so to say.
But would it proved to be just too hard to leave friends
and family behind and jet off into the unknown?
It's a huge decision because I would miss all my family
up in Scotland because I do go and see them quite a few times a year.
So I'd miss all of them. I would miss my friends.
It is a lot to think about, yeah. A whole lot to think about.
It's just such a big decision to make.
The Gold Coast, famed for its Mediterranean climate,
with beaches just minutes away,
could offer the Wilsons the outdoor lifestyle they wanted.
It also had a thriving business community and two local airports,
so there were good job opportunities for both Chris and Debs.
After a journey of 10,000 miles and 21 hours in the air, the Wilsons
arrived jet-lagged and keenly aware of just how far from home they were.
It was probably worth it but it's just such a long time, isn't it?
-It's a long flight.
-You just never think you are going to get off.
You've got short haul, long haul, you can add extremely long haul now.
But the flight hadn't dented their enthusiasm for the coming week.
Yeah, looking forward to being here, seeing everything
and finding out what everything is all about.
And just putting it all together and seeing how it pans out.
The Wilsons were staying in a rented house in Coomera,
a suburb of the Gold Coast.
It was a perfect place to get a taste of what the Australian life could be like.
The style and layout of this property was very
different from what they were used to back in the UK.
So, what would they make of their temporary home?
-This is nice, isn't it?
Yeah. I didn't expect it to go straight into the living room.
-No, straight in...
I don't know if I totally like the open plan all the way from
the kitchen, dining room and living room, all as one big open plan.
I don't know if I like that or not.
Things were not off to a good start and Chris was in for a shock.
There is a lot to think about this next week, isn't there?
Everything has got to compare at minimum,
-compare with what we've got back home.
-Yeah, course, or else it's... There's no point moving.
-So, yeah, there's a lot to think about.
-A lot to think about.
-It's going to be intense, isn't it?
Chris and Debs had high expectations of what Australia had to offer.
If this week left them disappointed,
it could mean an end to their Aussie dream.
Back in the UK, Chris and Debs lived in Wilberfoss, near York.
They had bought this three-bedroom semidetached
house in 2007 for £165,000 and made it their own.
They had wanted to take their dogs
and all their furniture to Australia,
so finding a suitable home down under could have been a struggle.
Yeah, three-bedroom, I think is realistic for us to begin with.
Yes, that's realistic, but what would you like?
Well, I would like a six bedroom house,
but realistically, three-bedroom house would be enough.
Realistically, three bedrooms then, with a double garage.
Bungalow. One floor.
Well, it looked like someone was going to be disappointed.
-Very much agreed on that one then.
-Yeah, we are.
Well, you stay at one end of the street and I'll stay at the other then!
Chris and Debs knew that being 10,000 miles away from loved ones
could be lonely, so it was essential that they find a comfortable home.
Their search started in the suburb of Ormeau.
Property one was on the market for around £214,000.
That was at the top end of their budget,
but with three bedrooms, a double garage and a good size
garden, it seemed like it had everything they wanted.
But what would Chris and Debs make of it?
It's all open plan. You got your kitchen, dining room, living room.
I'm not sure if I 100% like the whole open plan thing.
But... Just because I'm not used to it.
Yeah. I do. I like it.
Debs seemed positive and it looked like she was winning Chris over.
It's quite a nice big living area, isn't it?
It's big, yeah. Plenty of room for the dogs.
Well, the dogs would be fine
but Chris had found some serious concerns about this house.
We would not get our size bed in here and our bedside cabinets.
I just don't think it would be... There wouldn't be enough space.
Attempting to match a house to their existing furniture
looked like a tall order.
This is OK. This bit.
Nice grassed area as well for the dogs.
I think, personally, I'd want something slightly bigger.
Double the size of this.
That was all well and good but if you were at the top
of your budget, a bigger garden was impossible.
What do you think?
-First impressions weren't good.
Don't know why. But outside just seemed a bit shabby.
I'm not sure I like the idea of one of the bedrooms being
straight off the kitchen.
There's only a couple of positives about this. One was a double garage.
-I quite like that. And two, its en suite.
-Now, for me, this property is not for us.
It's too small. And I think that's it. It's not for us.
-Let's go then.
It hadn't been a great start and if they couldn't find a house where
they felt at home, Chris' Australian dream would be a nonstarter.
Was the next property more up his street?
-This looks a bit different, doesn't it?
I can't make out if it's one house or if it's adjoining houses to it.
Property two was a two-storey three-bedroom semidetached
house, in Ormeau.
And it was on the market for £226,000.
That was over budget, but what did they think?
-This is nice.
-It is nice.
-See, I like this because even though it still open plan,
it's still kind of the kitchen, dining room, separate.
I like this better than the previous.
The last house. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, I do.
That was good. And the Aussie layout seemed to have grown on Chris.
-I don't think it's quite big enough for our furniture to get in.
Just how much furniture had they planned on bringing?
-Yeah, it is nice, yeah.
-Nice and airy.
This looks like the master bedroom. We would get a massive bed in here.
-Yeah, with room to spare.
-En suite. Big shower. Like that.
-It is big.
-What you've always wanted.
-It is, an upstairs.
That sounded much more promising.
If they could stretch their budget, was this house for them?
This property is really nice.
Probably because it's very similar to the houses
we have back in the UK, in that it's got an upstairs.
I like the house but I haven't seen the garden yet.
But judging by the size of the house,
I'm assuming that it's got a fairly decent sized garden.
So, that will be good.
So this is like... This is it, here.
-It will go.
-Yeah, this is it.
-It is small, isn't it?
-I thought it would be slightly bigger.
And so all you've got is this grass area here.
-Very, very disappointing.
-Couldn't really call it a garden, could you?
-If it had like trellising round it, it would be classed as a window box.
Property two wasn't for them either, but to get a house that they
liked with the space they wanted, they'd have to pay even more
and their budget was already stretched to the limit.
Was their hopes of a life in Australia over before it had begun?
-This looks nice, doesn't it?
Property three was very nice.
But it should have been, with a price tag of £255,000.
That was 50 grand over budget.
-This is an improvement.
-Hm. It's nice and big, isn't it?
-Definitely fit the bed in here.
Quite a nice size.
We could probably fit most of our furniture in here.
-Most of it. Probably not all of it.
Well, if we are not going to fit our furniture in there, we are certainly going to fit it in here!
-We'll have to buy some more furniture.
-Because we haven't got enough now.
-It is a nice size room though.
-It's a very nice sized room.
-And the kitchen is fab, isn't it?
-Great size kitchen.
After a quick tour around the rest of the house,
it all looked promising, but was the garden big enough?
This is a nice sized garden. Wow!
This would suit the dogs, down to the ground.
Can you imagine them...? Oh...
They would just love this.
This is absolutely ideal for the dogs.
-I can just see them sat there.
For the size of the grassed area,
-like, the general patio area seems quite small.
You could have a larger entertainment area.
-Yeah. Very impressed.
-Yeah, I like this a lot.
Finally, a property they both liked, but it was over budget
and it would have been a real struggle to buy a house like this.
They were going to have to have a serious rethink about what
sort of property they could have afforded.
Property one just wasn't for them and left them cold.
Although property two ticked a lot of boxes,
the tiny garden was a huge disappointment.
But house number three was spot on, on everything except the price.
So, were they tempted into a dream they couldn't afford?
And how did they vote?
I didn't think you would. I thought you would go Australia.
I've surprised myself a little bit, I think.
-But I've been a little disappointed today.
People don't realise in the UK that house prices have
-massively boomed out here.
You don't get as much for your money today as what you used to do.
-And that's been reflected today.
-I know, but...
I just think you do get more room for your money.
Back in the UK, Chris and Debs enjoyed an active social life,
helped by their two incomes. To maintain this lifestyle,
they would have both had to have found work in Oz.
Debs was an experienced legal secretary, but it was Chris'
skills as an aircraft engineer that was key to their move down under.
The job I have here is exactly what I'm after, working on search
and rescue is a really rewarding job, you know.
In the business of saving and helping people.
And this is the kind of work I would be looking
for if we were going to go down under.
After discovering Australian property was more expensive than
they thought, Chris and Debs knew that their budget would be tighter,
so it was vital for Chris to be impressed by his work opportunities.
For me, getting a job down in Australia is absolutely paramount.
If I can't get a job that comes pretty much on a par with what
I'm getting at the minute in the UK, then I'll be honest, I can't see...
I can't see it actually working.
I'm also very anxious that if the wage structure isn't
what we require,
if the hours aren't quite the same as what I'm working
in the UK, I think to be honest, this is going to be make or break.
Chris was determined to replicate his UK
job as closely as possible, so we sent him to Careflight Search and
Rescue Helicopter Base in Coolangatta to meet pilot Jeremy Ovens.
-Nice to meet you, mate.
-Welcome to Australia.
-Thank you very much.
-What would you like to see? Do you want to see around the hangar?
-Sure, yeah, that would be great.
Yeah, let's have a look around.
The air rescue base was expanding its fleet of helicopters
and jets, which meant more work to keep them in the air 24 hours a day.
Yeah, normal jobs are going to smaller country hospitals.
-And bringing the patient back to intensive care units.
These small hospitals are good.
A lot of the time they haven't got the facilities to fix the patient.
But with only a small engineering team,
Chris needed to be sure there would be work opportunities for him.
-Nice to meet you, Chris.
-Originally, we were outsourcing it
-but now we are trying to keep our maintenance in-house.
So, we get contractors in, but what we are trying to do is we are
trying to build up a nice network of staff in-house,
-so that we keep it all in-house and do it ourselves.
So, we are always looking for new guys to come on board.
It was important Chris felt the work matched up
with his job in the UK, if he was to even consider the move.
Back in the Yorkshire, Debs worked as a legal secretary
and had earned around £17,000 a year.
But would she be able to match it?
We sent Debs to a recruitment agency to find out what her job
prospects were like.
-Hello, Cheryl Dobson, how are you?
-Pleased to meet you.
-Did you find us OK?
-Yes, I did, thank you.
-Come on through. I noticed that you had a good legal background.
-You've done a lot of legal typing and things like that.
-Yes, it's mainly legal area that I work in.
I've worked in various departments in the legal sector.
-We have a lot of unemployment on the Gold Coast.
However, with looking at your skills and experience,
you shouldn't have difficulty. And I think the thing about the Gold Coast is we've got
-so many legal practices here.
-So there's probably a lot of opportunity.
Salary's another issue. Looking at your resume,
I would probably say anywhere between 40 and AU45,000.
-That's probably about the market.
At the present. It could go up or down, it just depends.
That was great news.
Debs could earn £6,000-£9,000 a year more than in the UK.
Hopefully I'll look forward to seeing you when you move here.
-OK, that's lovely. Thank you so much for your time.
-All the best. Have a safe trip home.
Thanks. Will do. Thank you. Bye. After seeing Cheryl,
it's just sorted out everything in my mind because it's always been...
Not always been about Chris and that I've been left out because I haven't really.
But it's always been about Chris' job and where he's going to get
a job, how he's going to fit in, or what the salary is going to be like.
So, for me, seeing Cheryl today has just answered 101 questions for me.
Back at the airport, there was unwelcome news for Chris.
Despite his 16 years of experience in the RAF, he would need to
pass numerous costly exams to be licensed in Australia.
The way we work in Australia, you have a CASA license, then you'll either be an airframe engine trade
-guy, or you'll be electrical instrument and radio.
-Two separate trades.
-Are you an airframe engine guy?
-Yeah, airframe engineer.
-You'd have to set your core basic exams.
And then CASA would give you the license specific...
So it looks like Chris was going to have to hit the books if
he wanted to become a fully licensed aircraft engineer in Australia.
What effect did that have on his plans?
If the opportunity came along for me to apply for a job
and I got the job, what kind of salary could I expect to earn?
For unlicensed engineers, around about AU55-AU60,000 a year.
If you are licensed, that is...
You are legally able to work on an aircraft,
you could probably expect the roundabout AU90,000 mark per year.
I mean, engineers are sought after everywhere.
If I was to come to you looking to do my licence,
-I could do the licence in-house?
It's a lot of outlay, financial outlay, on our behalf,
so we would want to see a return of service from the employee.
So that money is not just thrown away.
Even as an unlicensed engineer, he'd earn £10,000 more than in the UK.
So with everything he'd seen, how did he vote?
I've met the guys, great bunch of guys.
They've told me about the salary, which is
quite a bit more than the UK.
But I love my job in the UK. I love the guys I work with in the UK.
So, weighing it all up, I'm going to vote for...
With Chris' vote for Australia, Debs'
dream of a life down under was a step closer.
But would they actually be better off living there?
To help them figure it out,
we had prepared a breakdown of their everyday living costs.
So, we've got salary to begin with,
which was obviously your income and then my income.
The utilities that we pay out every month are more
expensive in Australia than they are in the UK.
-There's a couple of things that are under.
So now we've got a weekly shop.
The total for the week for UK is 71.90.
Then you've got 79. That surprises me.
I thought it would have been a lot more.
-We've got property.
That would be monthly repayments.
-So that's in pounds.
-That's a lot of money.
-More than we're paying now!
The biggest property we have been to see then,
-the mortgage payment per month would leave us with £273 a month.
That's not a lot.
Property 3, on the current wage system we're on the minute,
we can't afford, however after me finding out I could potentially earn
double my salary than what I earn in the UK and you can earn more,
all of a sudden property number 3 comes way in.
At least now we have a choice
whether we want to come to Australia or not rather than being
told you can't afford to buy a house and have to stay in the UK.
Their monthly outlay was much greater than expected.
But if they both got good jobs, was it still possible?
So how did this affect their votes?
It goes without saying we'd have more money in the pot if we
were to live in Australia, so based on that, we're going to vote for...
To give the Wilsons a taste of the Australian lifestyle,
we had arranged a day of activities for them,
starting with a hike with the Slate family, Annalise, John
and their two small boys.
John was originally from Scotland
but had moved down under with his Australian family in 2008.
That's really impressive, isn't it?
-Is quite nice behind all the cloud there.
The Springbrook National Park consisted of over 8,000 acres
of tropical rainforest with stunning views of the mountains.
Chris loved everything about it but Debs, slightly
afraid of heights, decided she'd rather hang back.
It's a lovely view, Debs.
-We can all vouch for that.
-OK, thank you.
I'm all right here but I just don't like being right on the edge.
If it gives way, I can just take a step back and they can all go
and I will still be here.
Back in the UK, Chris and Debs had an active social life
but if they were to move to Oz, they'd be on their own
so they went to the local rugby club social to meet
some potential new friends.
The man of the hour, Chris. Harry Lyman, welcome down to the club,
-mate, how are you doing?
-Yeah, not bad, you?
Not too bad. We've got a couple of little fellows lined up for you.
Yeah, so I understand!
-See this Fijian fellow here?
-Yeah, the small guy.
-Take him out first, do you reckon?
OK, guys, 20 push-ups altogether, on Chris. Chris, you call it.
Everybody on Chris, listen to him. 20 push-ups, Chris?
Two, three, four, five, six...
As Chris's love of rugby was put to the test, there was
one big issue that preyed on Debs' mind.
My thoughts about Australia are probably a bit mixed.
Because even though everybody is really friendly,
mainly my reservations are about leaving my family, my friends,
so it's still that big decision of whether we should come out or not.
So we've got a lot to think about but it's definitely the right
decision coming over to have a look at everything
and see how things are going and yeah, we'll just take it from there.
Good friends you've known for years can never be replaced
and the thought of loved ones was obviously tugging at Debs'
heart but would this affect her decision?
Since we arrived here in Australia we've met a number of people.
Really friendly. It's a great atmosphere.
It's really sociable
but I can't stop thinking about our friends in the UK.
And therefore I am going to vote...
-I'm in the middle.
What are you thinking?
It's difficult because we need friends out here
if we live out here, but we also still need our friends at home
because even though we are thousands of miles away, we'll still need them.
The guys we have met since we came out here are brilliant
but I feel like voting for Australia
-is betraying our friends that we've got in the UK.
Whether we come or not we are still going to need our friends in the UK.
Yeah. It's just a really difficult decision to make.
It's definitely difficult to leave people back home. Definitely.
Erm, there is a few.
To be perfectly honest, we don't see a huge amount of each other
but it's just that we are always on the other end of the phone.
I know that would probably happen here but we would be able to
phone each other probably just as much but it's really hard.
Upset at the thought of those they would be leaving behind,
it was time to watch messages from friends and family back home.
Hi, Chris. Hi, Debs.
Hi, Debs and Chris.
Erm, I hope you're enjoying yourselves out there.
I'm sure you are.
Chris is a loving, caring brother to me.
He's funny, he makes me laugh, he makes the whole family life.
He's very caring, very thoughtful, very loving
and very supportive as a son.
We couldn't ask for a better son to be quite honest.
We really really good friends, obviously we're sisters
but we are best friends.
Basically, she is my soul mate.
There is a big age difference, 12 years but, erm...
I can't do this, sorry.
-I can't speak about her.
Even though we don't see each other often, we're close.
Erm... She's my baby.
The dogs are immensely important to Chris and Debs.
They are big part of their lives
and everything is geared round, what they do,
is geared around the dogs.
They've been thinking about starting a family for a while
but obviously since they started the process of applying for their
visas for Australia,
it's something they have put out to the back their minds.
I think if Chris and Debs were to have a family,
I would miss my niece or nephew whichever it would be.
Yeah, that would be a big hole in my heart, I think.
It's Chris and Debs' life in Australia.
If that's what they want, then I'd have to forfeit a little hug
and a cuddle and make up for it when they did see them.
Like I say, we'd like to form that relationship
one way or another so that at least our grandchildren would
know, it is grandma and grandad from York.
I'd just miss everything about them really.
They're both real close and dear friends so I'd miss them a lot.
We're also getting married in September.
-So I'd be absolutely gutted if they were to miss that.
The thing I would miss most about Debs is well,
there's not just one thing.
It's just everything. I'd miss Debs.
That's it. There's nothing more to say about that. I'd just miss her.
We're obviously going to miss you.
But of course it's your life and all Dad and I want is whatever
you want and make the most of the life you've got.
That's all we can say and we wish you both the best.
Erm, love her to bits.
But I just...
I can't explain really, it's just because she's ours and...
..we just love her a lot.
It's a long way away.
It's a long way away.
They say the world's getting smaller but it's still a long way away.
You all right?
-It's weird, isn't it?
Seeing them on telly.
It's not something you get every day.
They all said we'll miss you but you do what is right for you.
-I'm happy that everyone is supportive of what decision we're going to make.
The thing with Kev about the wedding as well.
-Yeah, they would be gutted if we couldn't make it.
I don't know.
It was the end of the Wilson's trial week in Australia
and the outcome was by no means certain.
Chris and Debs have started full of hope.
Looking forward to being here, seeing everything
and finding out what everything is all about
and just putting it all together and seeing how that pans out.
-But the properties had been a let down.
-First impressions weren't good.
-This property is not for us.
-It's too small. That's it, it's not for us.
-Right. Let's go then.
And the thoughts of loved ones left behind proved too much for Debs.
-I can't do this, sorry.
-Erm, love her to bits. She's my baby.
To be perfectly honest,
we don't see a huge amount of each other but it's just really hard.
So was the emotional tug of leaving loved ones behind too great
or was the chance of a new life in Australia too hard to
turn their backs on? It was time for them to vote.
It's been an amazing, fantastic opportunity coming here,
the things we have found out and seen.
It goes without saying that the weather is absolutely
fantastic for us and for the dogs.
We loved it here and we just think it is fab in all aspects
and for that reason we are going to vote...
At least we agreed on something, haven't we?
Is that the first time or something?
But even with the big decision made, saying goodbye was hard to do.
Reservations probably about leaving family
and friends behind because everything else for here is
just too good an opportunity to miss so best pack your suitcase
and save your money because you are coming out for a holiday.
It was a week of surprises for Chris and Debs
but in the end they agreed their future was in Australia.
So seven years later, it is time to find out
if the Wilsons are living at home or away.
It's 2017 and the Wilsons are living in Perth,
on the opposite side of the Australia from the Gold Coast.
When we did our trial week on the Gold Coast over east, yeah,
we did that, it was really good.
We got the house valued, didn't we?
-We thought about it a bit more, I think.
Then we eventually put on the market and thought it was going to
sell straightaway, like everybody does and it didn't.
Things started to lull a little bit
and although we were ready to go to Australia, we couldn't actually go
until we had sold the house and then when the house actually sold that was it.
It was like, yes, we're going.
Then we flew out on February 17, 2012.
It was strange as well like, putting our notice in for work and that.
All my friends at work, we were both in really good jobs,
-really enjoyed them.
The guys at my work were like, "My God, what are you doing?"
You know like, some people talk about doing stuff
-and we are actually doing it.
It was like, walking out that last day at work, you know,
-we are doing this.
Well, I cried pretty much the whole last day at work.
I think it had finally hit me.
Once I had left work that was it,
"Oh God, we're actually going."
But since their trial week, the couple had decided on a new destination.
Going to Perth because we had never been before was a bit of a risk,
but looking back now, I don't think we even thought about it.
So we arrived in Perth
and we had already arranged with friends who had just moved
over here about 10 months before that, they came and picked us up.
While staying with friends for a few weeks,
they encountered a problem straight away.
Literally when you went to a rental property inspection where
everybody comes at once, there was like 50 or 60 people would go to
one house because everybody was looking for a rental.
In 2014, Perth was in the middle of a rental market boom
and competition for suitable properties was tough.
They have like open half hour houses where you go for half
an hour and have a look at the property.
If you like it you make an application and hand it in.
So there was probably about 50 people turning up at each rental open house.
How it works is,
the estate agent picks what they think are the three best applicants.
-How you become the best applicants, I don't know.
-I don't know.
Then they give those three to the landlord and the landlord chooses.
We had maybe been to about 10 and then Chris ended up going
with Anne our friend while I was at work.
I hadn't seen it but Chris had seen it.
I didn't like it.
But it was a house so we moved in and I just hated it
the whole year that we were there.
There was just something about the house that I just didn't like.
The whole situation was making Debs very homesick.
Debs was quite homesick.
She was finding it hard.
The job she was in wasn't really the job she wanted.
The house we were in wasn't the house she wanted it.
It kind of puts a bit of a strain on things,
especially when you are on the other side of the world.
You haven't really got family to go and see and friends,
lifelong friends to go and see and talk things through.
Yeah, that was a hard...
That was a hard time, really, because I was...
..I was positive, I was happy, things were going along nicely,
and, er... Yeah, not so for Debs at the time.
I kind of had a reality check,
and it just kind of hit me one day
that I was on the other side of the world,
and it just really turned me upside down.
So, probably for a good year after that,
I was, um...
Yeah, there was a lot of the time, probably more than Chris knows,
but a lot of the time, I really could have packed my bags
and gone back.
You know, you've got the pressure of trying to make your own job work,
trying to, like, get houses sorted so you can pay bills
and things like that, and...
You know, when you've got your wife, who's not with you...
..on the same page, you know, trying to make a life of it here,
almost makes life unbearable, in a way.
And you've got pressure there, then,
on yourself to make things work, then the added pressure
of trying to help your wife and help her through it,
and it was hard with my shift work as well, because there was nights
where I wouldn't see her and I'd be thinking, you know, is she OK?
What is she thinking about?
And, you know, it just put a bit of a strain on things,
and it's one of the things I didn't really factor into,
when we came out, was...
..not the negativity as such, just the...
..how hard it was going to be for her.
And soon afterwards,
the couple had to deal with even more difficult times.
Quite a lot of people had actually said to us,
"Are you taking the dogs?" and when we said yes, they were gobsmacked.
But it was so important for us,
because the dogs, we haven't got any children, so the dogs are our life.
So, it was pretty much no, we're definitely taking them,
there's no two ways about it.
So, once we started the process, that was it.
It was like, definitely no doubt at all they were coming with us.
Unfortunately, a year later, we lost Susie.
Yeah, lost her in the April, so...
And that was, for me, probably the hardest thing I've ever had
-to decide to do, because it was our decision.
It is part and parcel of life that, you know, you're...
..you're going to live longer than your dogs,
and you've got to go through it,
and it's only when that time comes, you realise how hard it is.
I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
And, you know, things happen in people's lives back home
that you miss out on,
like, you know, babies were born, people were getting married,
you know, and you'd see them on Facebook and they were,
like, doing this, that and the next thing on social media and it's like,
"Oh, I could have been doing that with them if I was still there."
So it kind of pulled at the heartstrings quite a bit.
So, it did take me a good year,
year and a half to maybe get my head around, well, life goes on,
you've made this decision, you're in a fantastic country,
we're making a go of it, we feel happy, so you've just got to
let that side go and just make the most of it when you go home.
Debs and Chris were still determined to make things work,
and while looking for a permanent base, they struck upon an idea.
When we started looking at the houses,
we didn't really see anything that we liked,
and the other option you've got out here
-is to actually buy land and build.
And because we liked this area,
that's what we kind of decided to do.
But we knew we wanted to stay here, didn't we, in Baldivis?
Because it was such an up-and-coming area that there was so much
land, that we knew that this was probably the best place
to start building a house and then go from there
if we wanted to move to another suburb later on,
-but we were quite happy in this area, weren't we?
Like, build your own house, you know,
cos we don't really get that opportunity in the UK.
I was up for it, I wasn't saying I didn't want to do it,
but Chris was definitely more adamant that he wanted
to build a house rather than buy an established house.
When we first got the plans for the house,
like, all the drawings of each individual room,
the kitchen was actually over in the dining room area,
and this was going to be the dining room,
-but you've got that opportunity...
-I remember that, yeah.
..to turn it around and say, well, would you mind
if we put the kitchen over there instead?
Like, doing that kind of thing, like,
messing around with the footprint.
We moved into this house in March 2015.
So, it was just over a year from when the foundations went in
to moving in.
The more I remember it, it was like,
just a brilliant, brilliant feeling of, like,
building your own house.
Of course, a new house needs a new dog for housebreaking.
We decided to get a new puppy in August 2016.
She's just, like, full of beans all the time,
and just probably about half an hour before we go to bed,
that's when she settles down.
She just loves to play, she's a sprightly little thing,
she's full of love.
Obviously, we had Susie, we still have Beth,
and you kind of imagine them all to be the same kind of character,
but they're not - so, Beth was different from Susie
and now Maggie's different from Beth.
So, yeah, she's just a lovely, lovely dog.
After building their own house,
Debs and Chris knew Australia was their home
and decided to make it official, applying for citizenship.
Yeah, it was really proud, I think, becoming Australian citizens.
-That ceremony we had with the Mayor...
..it was all, like, doing the oath, and then singing the anthem
and things like that.
Putting on a little bit of a do afterwards with the drinks and food,
it was like a big celebration,
and then getting the Aussie passports through
-and things like that...
-You know, it's...
Yeah, it was a proud moment, wasn't it?
It's almost like, we've done it now, you know?
We've made it, we've made it.
So, do the Wilsons have any advice
for anyone considering the move down under?
At the end of the day, you can always go back.
If it's really not for you, you can always go back.
-You can be a Ping-Pong Pom!
-That's what they call them.
"Them" - it's us, really, we're Poms, aren't we?
Don't get started!
But, yeah, so, they'll come over, don't like it for six months
or a year, go back again, and then realise that the UK's not
what they want it to be, it's not any better,
so we'll just come back to Australia again.
-But life is not a rehearsal.
-You just get one shot at it, so...
You've got to do it. Grab it with both hands and do it.
The Wilsons originally wanted to settle down
and build a new life for themselves down under,
and after a number of years living in Australia,
they have quite literally done that.
We wish both Debs and Chris the very best for the future.
The Wilsons wanted to find out if emigration could offer them a better life. But a move down under inevitably meant leaving loved ones behind. After a trial week in Australia, they were faced with the huge decision of whether to stay in the UK or make the move down under for good.
In 2010 the pretty village of Wilberfoss near York was home to the Wilsons - 36-year-old Chris, Debs (then 35) and their two black labradors Beth and Susie. Chris spent his working life in the RAF and travelled the troubled hotspots of the world. When he left the air force he thought they would settle down. But it wasn't long before Chris came up with the idea that they should move lock, stock and barrel to the other side of the world. While Debbie understood his inner wanderlust only too well, she couldn't bear thinking of leaving loved ones behind to jet off into the unknown.
A trial week in the Gold Coast was full of surprises - good and bad - for the couple. At the end of the week, what way they would vote was by no means certain. What do you think? Let's find out if, seven years later, the Wilsons are living back in the UK or down under in Australia.