Nicki Chapman catches up with the Warner family from Oxfordshire. Teachers Libby and Bob and their children sampled life in Queensland. What happened next?
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Welcome to Wanted Down Under Revisited.
Today, we're catching up with the Warner family
who we first met back in 2006 when we gave them the chance
to sample the lifestyle in Queensland, Australia.
The Warners from Oxfordshire spent ten years dreaming of emigrating to Australia.
But both dad Bob and mum Libby knew it would be a huge decision, and they were worried.
I've never been to Australia so I've no idea what it's like.
But I'm sure it's as wonderful as everybody else says.
So, I'm basically putting a lot of faith in other people's opinions.
Youngest daughter Sophie was keen.
We can do loads of activities outside.
We can walk our dogs, we can go surf-boarding.
But her sister Emily didn't want to go.
I'm not looking forward to it at all. I'm dreading it.
The Warners were risking everything to fulfil their Australian dream.
And what looked like an easy choice on paper quickly became the hardest decision of their lives.
For me, my family is the most important thing.
And I don't want to come here just to please me.
So, were the Warners able to choose Australia?
I think this is Dad's idea
of a wonderful country.
But it's not mine.
In 2009, we caught up with them to find out if they really did make the move,
or if loved ones in the UK proved just too hard to leave behind.
Wanted Down Under puts British families
to the ultimate test by giving them the chance to try life in Australia.
They have just one week to find out about homes, work and lifestyle
before voting on their future.
But what happened next?
We caught up with some of our original families to find out where they are now.
In 2006, the Warners from Oxfordshire
were facing a life-changing decision -
whether to stay in the UK or to move to Australia.
We gave them a week to experience all aspects of life Down Under,
but was it everything they'd hoped for?
Life for Libby, Bob, Emily and Sophie Warner in Oxfordshire
was a stressful cycle of school for everyone,
with little quality time left over for friends, hobbies and pets.
I teach all day inside. Get in the car, come home and I'm stuck indoors again.
I just want to break that routine.
Libby and Bob were teachers and they dreamt of escaping to Australia.
They'd finally got the chance to try it out for real.
The salaries they could earn there were roughly the same as the UK, about £20,000 a year in 2006.
But the cost of living was much less.
The beauty is, because house prices are cheaper there,
we can sell this place and buy outright and there's no mortgage.
Libby was the main visa applicant. She was more eligible than Bob
because she's younger, so she was the one who'd be looking for a job first.
She retrained as a religious studies teacher in the hope of getting a good job.
I'm hoping that teaching in Australia is not quite as stressed as it is here.
But I'm fully prepared for it to be as stressful as it is here.
But moving to the other side of the world would have meant leaving friends and family behind,
maybe never to see them again.
Could they really have coped with such a wrench?
Sophie's fine, because she's still fairly young.
Emily, it's a little bit harder for her because she's made good friends here.
Emily's had some tears lately.
But I'm confident that once she gets there, she'll be fine.
Emily wasn't convinced that moving to Australia would be a good thing.
She didn't want to leave her friends in the UK.
I'm not looking forward to leaving all my friends and family here. I'm going to miss them a lot.
Choosing between the UK and Australia
was a huge decision for all of them, and with Emily so set against it, it was important that Libby
found the right job so they could afford the lifestyle they wanted.
You know, I'm going, and I'm going to work as a teacher, in my mind.
My concern is that won't be able to happen.
To help Bob and Libby consider the huge risk they'd be taking, we sent them to Queensland.
There were three different lifestyles to choose from.
One in the city, one in the country, and one on the coast.
Each option included a job offer for main visa applicant Libby.
Option one was on the Gold Coast, a coastal resort south of Brisbane.
The natural beauty and great weather
make it the sports and outdoor activity capital of Australia.
Houses in this area were relatively inexpensive for Queensland,
averaging around £150,000 in 2006.
If you'd headed for the hinterland behind the coast, your money
would have gone a lot further, as land got cheaper.
All Saints Anglican is a church-run school.
In 2006, there were 1,600 children studying there.
Wages were higher than state schools, at around £25,000 a year.
Head Patrick Wallace was keen to convince Libby it was the school for her.
Libby, Bob, Emily, Sophie, hello, welcome to All Saints Anglican School.
It's a beautiful corner of the Gold Coast.
Libby, if you were to come and work with us here, I think you'd really enjoy it.
It's a very happy staff. The kids seem to love coming here.
Lovely open spaces, great facilities.
So, Libby, I really hope you'll come and join us. You'll never regret it.
Option two was the city of Brisbane,
state capital of Queensland and home to nearly 2 million people.
A new city even by Aussie standards, it blends clean and spacious suburbs
with all the buzz of a thriving city.
While houses had become more expensive in 2006,
it was still possible to buy a charming traditional, wooden Queenslander
with the essential deck for entertaining, barbecuing and just enjoying the outdoors.
Upper Coomera State College lies in the city suburb.
In 2006, it had around 2,000 pupils.
Its core ethos is to help all students achieve their potential.
Hi, Libby. I'm Lee Callum, the college director of Upper Coomera State College.
We only opened three and a half years ago, and we already have 2,200 students.
And because we're brand new, we have facilities that are just phenomenal.
We have a wonderful, wonderful staff of about 200, and they just love it here.
We've got an English teacher who came and settled in so quickly, it's fantastic.
And we love him and want him to stay.
This school was on the lookout for talented new teachers in 2006.
The atmosphere in Upper Coomera State College is lovely.
It's a very happy, friendly environment.
We say to parents, when your children come to Upper Coomera State College,
we want them to go home at the end of the day saying, "School was fun, I enjoyed it and it was meaningful."
So Libby, if you come to the college and join us,
you'll have a great time and be with these fabulous students.
THEY ALL CHEER
Option three, Surfers' Paradise,
earns its name every day of the year.
If it's beaches you're after, you could do worse than these.
Houses here were generally more modern and cheaper
than the traditional wooden homes that are the trademark of Brisbane.
Apartment living was becoming more popular as people wanted to enjoy
the cafes and restaurants of a city beach environment.
The Southport School is a stunning and impressive-looking private day and boarding school for boys only.
In 2006, head Greg Wayne was keen to add Libby to his staff.
Good morning, Libby and family.
My name is Greg Wayne, headmaster of the Southport School.
We have two British families here, the chaplain is British,
and the director of sport. They both live on site.
They like to teach here because of the resources that we provide,
the grounds, the location, the swimming pool, the proximity to the beach.
And they tell me that our boys here are very well behaved, very disciplined, but lots
of spirit and a spirit of adventure, which you'd expect from Aussie kids.
So they certainly enjoy teaching here, and I'm sure you will too.
Working here would have delivered a higher-than-average Australian teacher's salary.
I don't think anyone could resist the temptation of coming here and joining us for a period at TSS.
We look forward to welcoming you and your family. Thank you.
The Warners tried Queensland city lifestyle with a week in Brisbane.
A job at a recently opened school looked great for Libby.
And Bob fancied the city lifestyle.
But did it live up to their expectations?
The Warners were heading off to Brisbane with high hopes
for their potential job and lifestyle in the sun.
But, after a 22-hour flight, they were all happy to finally get there.
-Hi, you all right?
-I'm just so excited to be here.
I just can't wait to have a look around Brisbane.
But Libby and Emily were already having second thoughts.
I want to make sure it lives up to his expectations, really.
It's the furthest I've been away from home. But it's exciting, yeah.
The Warners were staying in the kind of family home they could afford in the heart of the city.
At £200 a week in 2006, it was about the same as you'd have expected
to pay in the UK, only in Oz, you'd have got a lot more space for your buck,
and the whole family were knocked out by their first impressions of Brisbane.
Look at the size of that fridge!
That's a fridge, isn't it?
Well, this is just a regular Australian fridge. We like to eat.
I've got it!
There's palm trees. And this is the middle of winter now. I can't wait to get that visa through now.
Ten years and it's finally here.
I love, love this place.
Once they had settled in, the family's first task
was to find out about the kind of house they really could afford if they were to move here forever.
For families considering making a life-changing move to Australia,
it's vital to find the right place to call home.
Put in the research and have an ideal wish-list to find your dream house.
House prices have escalated considerably in Australia
over the past ten years, but generally you can expect
to get more house for your money than in the UK.
The property market is on the rise again,
and not everyone can afford to buy outright,
so consider your mortgage and the repayments carefully.
So, what could your money buy you now?
The average property in Sydney costs around £315,000.
-But it's a good deal cheaper in Adelaide and Brisbane
-at around £235,000.
In 2006, finding the right home that they could afford,
and settling in quickly, was a vital consideration for the Warner family,
especially if they were to persuade daughter Emily to make the move.
The Warners were considering leaving behind this small three-bed semi
in the market town of Witney in Oxfordshire.
It was worth about £185,000 in 2006.
They would have about £150,000 to spend on a new home in order to be mortgage-free. If they'd found
the right jobs, they could have expected to earn around £40,000 a year, if they'd both taught.
So, finding the right home for the right price would have given them much more disposable income.
Seeing what was on offer was vital to help them with their ultimate decision.
In 2006, we picked three houses within their price bracket.
But did that persuade the Warners to move Down Under?
The first property was a four-bedroom bungalow
in the Warners' dream Brisbane suburb, Beenleigh.
With three reception rooms plus plenty of outside space,
it was on the market for only £130,000 in 2006.
That was well within their budget.
This is what we imagined when we were back in the UK.
That you would have your seating area with patio windows off it.
Space isn't such a problem in Australia, so even in a relatively small house like this, rooms are
generally bigger than in the UK, and most people make the best use they can of the good climate.
And this is where they eat a lot in summer. They have the barbies.
They would also have got a nice open-plan designer kitchen with some great views.
Look at the view from here, you can see the mountains and hills across.
It was a good start. But Libby and Bob thought that life in Beenleigh was a bit too urban for their taste.
Because this hasn't got a pool, we need to find somewhere that has got a pool, don't we?
So, what about property number two?
The second place was also in Beenleigh, but this one was a bit bigger, so it was on sale
at £215,000 back in 2006.
To afford this, they would have needed to get
an Australian mortgage.
Like the first house, the rooms were a good size
and designed for open-plan living on a scale you wouldn't have found for this money in the UK.
And there were good reasons why it was a little more expensive.
It had a fabulous kitchen, four bedrooms,
double lock-up garage, and the all-important pool.
This is called a creepy-crawly.
-He cleans the pool.
So you haven't got to do any brushing and cleaning.
I like that. I do like that.
It also had a garden of half an acre, great for Bob's dream
of a more outdoor lifestyle,
with views on to the Albert River that were stunning.
The vendors were Brits returning to the UK after ten years in Oz.
It was the first contact that Bob and Libby had had with expats,
and they were impressed by how easy it was for them to take to the Aussie lifestyle.
I think you'll probably find once you build up your friends over here, if you decide
to move over here and your circle of friends builds up,
they do a lot more entertaining at home
rather than going to the pub which we probably do more in England.
At the time, it gave them food for thought, especially as, to have
afforded this house, Libby would have needed to find a good job.
But they were very impressed with just how far your money could go here.
I hope that you make the right decision and you find what you're looking for.
You've got no worries on that score because we'd definitely look after this! This is superb.
The big question is, can we come on holidays and visit you?!
You can come back and visit us.
And what could they have afforded if they were willing to really splash out on a big property?
Could they really have stretched to a house like this?
I'll take you down through...
I'm blown away.
It was brand new and on the market for half a million Aussie dollars,
that was only about £200,000 in 2006.
Like the previous one, they'd have needed a mortgage,
-but look what they would have got.
-I'm just blown away.
It's so imposing.
It's like a big stately home, almost.
Six bedrooms, three massive bathrooms, and a kitchen to die for.
Oh, look at that!
Wow, this is fantastic!
This is something which they don't see in England.
Unless it's a very big important person who's got lots of money.
Over here, this is affordable.
They would both have had to find good jobs to be able to afford the mortgage on this one.
Still, it had got them thinking.
The houses were great but could they afford what they were dreaming of?
-This is just beautiful, thank you so very much for taking the time to show us.
-That's all right.
So hopefully we'll come round with a cheque!
After a family consultation, it was left to Sophie to show the family's decision.
A house in the UK or one in Oz?
We've caught up with Libby, Emily, Sophie and Bob
to find out if they really did change their lives and make the move.
So, where are they now?
But they've decided that Brisbane wasn't for them
and have settled in the picturesque suburb of Reynella East in Adelaide, South Australia.
It's only minutes from the beach, two miles from the centre of town,
and Emily and Sophie's schools are nearby.
So let's see how they've settled in.
-Lovely to see you, do come and have a look around.
Costing £140,000 in 2007,
they've really made this four-bedroom, two-bathroom house their home.
And it's perfectly situated with views over the adjacent park.
But their first experience of Aussie living was far from happy.
When we first arrived, we had short-term accommodation
that was absolutely hideous. We really hated it.
And it was the only time for me when I absolutely seriously thought about leaving Australia,
I thought, "I didn't spend two days on a plane for this."
We spent one day going around and then found this place,
thought it would be out of budget and were absolutely thrilled to bits when we found it was OK.
It made a big difference for the girls and how well they settled down.
So, although at the time I thought we were mad to commit to a house
so soon when we hadn't looked around,
in hindsight, for the girls, it was the best thing we could have done.
When we bought this house... The house-buying process is a lot quicker in Australia, isn't it?
From the point of us agreeing to buy the place...
We put down a 10% deposit and then we completed within three weeks.
Whereas in the UK, it goes on forever.
It's finished to a really high standard with all mod cons.
It took them a while to get it just right for them
and this didn't come cheap.
-We have spent quite a lot of money.
-In terms of dollars, I suppose we spent about 70,000?
-Doing the floors, putting the pool in the back,
-completely redoing the kitchen...
-Painting. Walls knocked down.
-We had the spa and the electrics done.
-Oh, yes, the spa. We also had
-tri-fold doors put in.
-Yeah, they were a fortune.
-They were expensive. So, yeah, about 70,000?
Well, it might have cost a small fortune but the house looks great.
So, come on, let's have a look around.
We're going to show you now the family room, so if you walk this way...
This is our family area. And we tend to spend most of our time here.
My pride and joy is just in the corner here, that's the plasma.
I can see every Premiership game here so I stay up till, like, three, four, five o'clock
-watching football on a Saturday evening, don't I?
And then I have about two hours' sleep and I go and play golf.
Which is fantastic. And the other thing which was fantastic was The Ashes Series when England won 2-1.
-That was quite good.
-I love cricket And when England won, we were over the moon, weren't we?
Yeah, there was a lot of cheering in this house.
I hope you were careful with the celebrations, though, Bob -
the Aussies take it all pretty seriously!
Outside, they have a sporting venue of their own -
a 20ft pool with raised decking area, perfect to cool off
after a nerve-racking Test Match.
I'll show you the outside, which has changed massively since we've been here.
Lib, d'you want to open the doors?
But they've had some scares.
When me and Keith were doing the pool...
There are some cappings on the pool which are hollow
and as I pulled one off... Well, it wasn't me, Keith found one -
a big red-back in there. Horrendous. Get bitten by one of those, you get hospitalised on a lot of occasions.
So that was a shocker, that was a shocker.
But we decided early we wanted to get rid of all the grass.
Especially with the water restrictions, we figured, "Better off not having any grass."
What happens here, you get to November and the weather... It's really hot, there's no rain.
-And all the grass goes brown, doesn't it?
-And then it just blows away. So you got no grass.
So we figured, "Let's get rid of all the grass," which we've done now.
No grass? Don't worry, as there's plenty to be seen nearby.
This is our bedroom. And, um, like the other bedrooms that overlook
the reserve, we've got this fantastic view,
which we're really lucky to have.
-This is brilliant for the dogs.
-The dogs love it.
As I'm not working during the day, I can look out, if the reserve's empty, just get the two dogs
and let them run round the reserve.
And it was those new additions to the family that really helped them settle in.
When we had been in the UK, the girls had asked for pets frequently,
and we just said, "We don't have the opportunities to have a pet." It wasn't really fair.
'However, we had always said to the girls that if we did get to Australia
'then we would get a dog. When we actually arrived and then bought them a dog,
'it was for them a symbol of the fact that we were here for the long term.'
And then when Sophie came home from school,
she walked in and she saw the puppy and she said, "Is this our forever dog?"
Oh, I burst into tears. I thought it was such a cute thing to say.
But forever is a long time and although they clearly love their new dogs,
now they live in Australia, is it all that they expected?
Whether you see yourself as a beach bum, an outback adventurer or a metropolitan culture vulture,
Australia could offer you the life of your dreams.
But you'll need some cash to splash on the life you aspire to
as the cost of living in Australia is not as cheap as many people assume.
It really depends on your circumstances.
You have to take into account health insurance, the cost of imported goods and food,
and although the weather is better, what you save in heating bills,
you might spend on air-con.
For the Warner family,
this was a vital consideration in deciding if they really could afford to improve their lifestyle
without having to work every hour just to make ends meet.
Back in 2006, Libby and Bob headed for the local supermarket to try to fill that enormous fridge.
And they were in for another pleasant surprise.
The tropical climate meant most fresh fruit and veg was much cheaper
than in the UK. And Bob was knocked out by the size of the portions.
This is 29 dollars 59 which is about...
about £12 for all that meat, and that is really heavy.
Wow, that really was cheap!
But Libby was not convinced the Aussie diet was for her.
Can't find any bacon so we can have a bacon butty.
I would like to say that I'm brave enough to try totally Aussie fare,
but that would be a bit of a lie because the kangaroo idea, I don't think we can cope with that.
Each to their own and, you never know, Skippy might really taste that good.
Time for the painful parting with cash.
But in 2006 it was a lot less than it would have been back home.
It was a vital exercise to make sure they could have afforded the luxuries they were used to.
We've got a big trolleyful that would have cost us about £100-£110.
So that was about £70 so it's about £40-£45 cheaper.
Which is almost, it's a trolley and a half, you know, it's another half a trolley. So, so far so good.
Well, the food was certainly cheaper,
but did the family think Aussie supermarkets were better than the ones at home?
What do we all think of Australian shopping?
I think there was more variety from the fruit and vegetables, and the meat was a good price.
I was pleased by price cos it was about half the price.
So, we've decided, it's got to be...
Now the Warners have taken the plunge and are living the Australian dream for real.
Settling in to their new life has been a struggle, and completing the family with dogs Alfie and Del Boy
has been essential to make them all feel at home.
The local meadows are the perfect place to take a walk and reflect on the journey they've taken together.
'During our first year,'
in Australia, there was a lot of changes, and the girls particularly seemed to suffer with homesickness.
And relationships, particularly with Emily, were very, very difficult.
I don't think it was helped by the fact that they had five addresses in less than a year.
We moved out of our place in the UK into a short-term rental
and then in a couple of places in Adelaide and then finally buying our own place.
However, whilst we'd got the dog, once we'd got one of the dogs, that seemed to help settle them
because it was almost like we'd given them roots. And then once we'd bought a house,
they really started to settle then, particularly because they really liked the school.
And so that really made a difference in helping them feel settled.
And then their moods improved, which made it much easier.
And the girls are growing up fast.
Emily has a young man - six months - called Alex.
He's 6ft 4 and still growing, which is scary.
He is very sweet. He is very sweet and he's, you know...
You don't really want to say that you like a boyfriend that your daughter has,
but, yeah, you do like this boyfriend.
But Emily and the whole family have been through some very testing times.
Emily, a couple of years ago, was told that she had a goitre underneath her thyroid gland.
But there was no problem with it and it didn't seem to be doing much.
And then in May, she complained that she felt it had grown
and it was affecting her breathing slightly.
So we saw the doctor who arranged a scan
and they said they'd managed to eliminate one form of cancer, but not others.
So they were going to take out...
certainly half of her thyroid gland which was definitely affected.
And if, when they did the operation, they found that the other half of her thyroid gland looked suspicious,
then they were going to take that out as well.
And it was just absolutely terrifying.
And our friends here were absolutely fabulous,
but at the same time, it made you very conscious of the time difference,
because I wanted to get on the phone and talk to my sister and my aunt.
But there's an 8½ hour time difference so you can't do that at the drop of a hat.
And, um, that was definitely hard for us and hard for them as well.
They wanted to be here to support us.
It was a very, very scary time, wasn't it?
It was. A week after the operation, we had to wait to know whether it was benign or whatever.
And thank goodness, it was.
-So that week was really horrendous, wasn't it?
That's when you become conscious of being so far away from your family,
like you said, with the time difference.
You can speak to people on Skype, but it's not the same, is it?
No and it's really hard on Skype because they're so near and yet so far, so to speak.
You can see them and it's almost like it's only a...
Yeah, you just want to reach out.
-I think that was the toughest point.
-That was the low point, since we've been here.
Their dream life has been sorely tested by the reality of Emily's illness.
And separation from loved ones back in the UK has never been felt more.
We'll see the strength of this emotion when we show them
new messages from their friends and family later.
Working in Australia won't necessarily bring the life change you expect,
but it might give you the time and lifestyle you've dreamt of.
Remember, though, it's a culture of work hard, play hard.
So don't come expecting the easy life.
Once you've got a visa and made the move, you'll have to get used to some new work practices and methods.
For Libby Warner, getting used to a new school system might take some time.
But being able to keep her pupils interested is a transferable skill.
You'll be earning Aussie dollars so you may see a wage drop,
but if you can get the all-important work-life balance,
you might find you've made the best move of your life.
Back in the UK in 2006, Libby Warner had retrained as a Religious Studies teacher
in the hope of getting a good job in Oz. If their dream of a new life in Oz was going to become a reality,
it was vital that Libby, the main visa applicant, could find a good job.
She looked round Upper Coomera,
probably the closest match to the school she taught at back in Oxfordshire.
And she was in for a welcome she'd never dreamt of.
Good morning, students.
We are very pleased to welcome our special guest, Mrs Warner, who's an English teacher.
-They certainly liked her.
-..Thank you so very much.
I just can't believe it!
They all seemed to know so much about each other. They were talking so positively about each other.
It's not that our kids don't. But I've just never seen an assembly like that before.
It was just brilliant.
After her presentation, Libby got a guided tour of the school.
It is a fun activity. One of the things it encourages is team-building.
So the idea is they work as a team.
They don't stand on the ground and they get from one point to the other.
They're having a fun time. They're enjoying the sunshine.
She liked what she saw, but she was concerned there didn't seem to be any provision for her subject,
While Libby got down to teaching,
Bob and the girls were off to find out what the local mall had to offer.
Dad, look! Look! Puppies.
Back home, they had a guinea pig and a chinchilla.
If they were to move to Australia, there was no way they could have afforded the £3,000
it would have cost to ship their pets.
It would have been a huge wrench, especially for pet-mad Sophie.
-Isn't she lovely?
-Aw, it likes you.
But, as their trial week progressed, Bob got increasingly worried about Emily.
She'd always been dead-set against the move
and her first thoughts were about what to buy her friends back home.
Bethany, I'm missing her birthday so I'm under orders to buy her a present.
-Do you want to get something from here?
Back at school, Libby was enjoying meeting the children,
but she had also discovered a major problem in her emigration plans.
She's spent years training as a teacher to get her visa,
but only by being in Oz did she find out that religion wasn't even on the curriculum.
It was a terrible discovery and meant that she was going to have to rethink the whole thing.
Because my subject's Religious Studies and it's not taught routinely in the state system here,
then I've got to find a way to make what I teach relevant to the state system
if I want to open up as many job opportunities as possible for myself.
That, I think, may be slightly trickier than I thought.
Libby had had a scary reality check. If she came to teach at this school, it wouldn't be religion.
If she wanted to teach RS, it would probably have had to be at a private church school.
'I'm the main visa applicant. I can't come here if I can't get a job.'
As much as we want to come here, sell our house, move here and be debt-free,
'we can't afford to live on just one wage.'
I need to find a job.
It was time for the Warners to regroup and share their experiences of the day.
When Libby was forced to compare her job prospects, it came as a big blow to Bob's hopes.
Deciding between the UK and Oz was becoming more difficult than they could have thought.
It was time to vote.
So, on balance, for me, and partly because I can teach in the UK with my subject and may not here,
for me it's got to be UK schools have to win.
Unlike the Warners, for most families, it's not Mum and Dad
who have to be happy fitting into the education system.
We found out what British families would be letting themselves in for.
Australian public schools, like our state schools, are free,
except you have to pay for books.
Uniforms and particularly hats are usually compulsory to keep kids safe in the sun.
A third of Australian children go to private schools compared to a tiny fraction in the UK.
That's because they're subsidised and much cheaper.
The big difference is that the school year starts in January and ends in November.
The summer holidays run 6-7 weeks over Christmas and New Year.
And they do a year less than us at school if you count going on to A-levels.
They do 12 years, we do 13.
And the good news is you can choose any school you like for your child.
The Aussies aren't so hung up on catchment areas and league tables.
Three years on and Bob has certainly taken to the Aussie lifestyle.
In Australia, golf is an essential pastime
for, well, gentlemen of a certain age.
With over 1,500 golf courses in the country,
Bob will never be short of somewhere to play a round.
Doesn't look like he's going to win the Australian Open just yet though.
Don't worry. Practice makes perfect, Bob.
Bob was determined to have an outdoors life so back at the ranch,
he's taken up a rather sedate, peaceful hobby.
It looks like a very relaxed existence,
but is there a downside to being a house husband?
'My days now are really good.
'Now the summer's upon us, I can go out and play golf most days. Just have a quick nine holes.'
Then I'll get back and do a little bit of housework,
I'll prepare the meal, I'll do some shopping,
and then take the dogs for a walk on the reserve for a couple of hours.
It means I can spend time with the kids, good quality time with the kids.
I get them to school, I pick them up in the evening, and then, you know,
interspersed into that, I'm pottering round the house.
Now I've started back part-time so I'm doing two or three days temporary relief teaching.
Which is unfortunate because it cuts down on the amount of golf I can play,
but, from a financial perspective, it's got to be done now.
So Bob is working 2-3 days a week,
but Libby wanted to stay full-time and is teaching Religious Studies at a local high school.
With marking to do every night, she lets Bob and the girls take over some of the more domestic chores.
And it's been a learning curve.
It just needs to go brown.
He's been very, very good.
He had a couple of disasters early on. He, um, tr... I absolutely love him for trying.
He did a chicken curry and put it in the oven.
Because it said on the hob for 20 minutes, he thought if he put it in the oven for 40, it would be good.
And put some vinegar in it to spice it up because he thought that would be nice.
But the vinegar didn't have quite the effect he was hoping for
and the meat was almost raw when it came out of the oven.
But I absolutely love him for trying.
Yeah, it was very sweet. But, as I say, he's got much better now. Roasts are his speciality.
So there's a little way to go until Bob's a gourmet chef,
but being a part-time house-husband seems to suit him.
It was difficult to start with, to get used to cooking, cos I didn't cook much in the UK.
But there's lots of shortcuts like doing your rice beforehand.
Yesterday, we had people over so we did a massive...
We did a m... That's not heating up. We did a massive job lot of rice.
Tonight, I can do a meal in about 20 minutes.
That's if the rice ever gets there.
So, no, I'm really enjoying it.
So I wouldn't swap. I'm quite happy to do two days a week teaching, or three days,
and the rest of the time potter around the house.
So how is Libby finding teaching in Oz?
I work at a private school near the city
'and it's going very well.
'When we took part in the original programme,'
I voted the UK for school, and my reasons for that were that,
I felt that being an RE teacher,
I felt the opportunities in the UK were more accessible
by virtue of the fact that it is a compulsory subject in England and every school has to teach it.
Not every school has to teach it in Australia and so that cuts off most government schools for me,
'because there's only a few that do.'
In terms of teaching, I still think I'd go with the UK. I like teaching in England.
Yes, at times you got told to go places you weren't keen to go to, but you still get that here.
But does the lifestyle make up for it? Libby suffered from allergies in the UK so has the climate helped?
The health improvements I'd hoped for haven't materialised. My asthma has got worse,
my eczema is completely going nuts.
Unfortunately, I'm allergic to nearly every single pollen in South Australia.
None of them existed in the UK so that explains why I don't have the same problems there.
Is this something that would make me leave Australia? My children are better off here, for a fact,
and they aren't suffering. They haven't got problems with their eczema or their asthma,
so I'm not making them leave for that reason.
I just need to find a way that makes it easier for me to stay.
It sounds far from ideal, but she's trying to soldier on.
Whilst Bob's taken to working part-time, Libby's not completely happy in her job.
When she weighs it all up, will she really vote to stay in Australia?
In 2006, before they had to make the final decision,
Libby and Bob had decided to take some advice from Lee Callum.
She'd invited them over for a typical Aussie barbecue.
Libby had a lot on her mind. She was worried she may have made a huge mistake.
But her girls were more worried about some other unexpected guests.
Come on, Soph, it's just a little spider.
It's extraordinary that even though we're only 6km
from the centre of the city, you get all the wildlife.
So we get anything from possums that sleep in our hanging baskets
during the day, to kookaburras waking us up at 5.30am.
And there was more wildlife on the menu.
We've got some emu, we've got kangaroo,
and they're both really just like normal steaks.
Libby, do you want to try both?
Sophie, will you have a little bit?
-Just a tiny bit to start with?
So Libby and Sophie have been convinced
to try the local delicacies after all.
I've had the emu, but I don't know if I'm going to have the kangaroo,
because kangaroos are actually quite nice.
But despite the warm welcome,
Emily still seemed distracted and withdrawn.
Emily! Cheers! Welcome to Queensland!
And Libby's mind never strayed far from the job dilemma she faced.
My biggest concern is my subject specialism and how relevant it is
in the Australian education system. My subject is Religious Studies and
I am aware that it's not taught as a compulsory subject.
Ever helpful, Lee thought she might have a solution to Libby's problem.
In Queensland, there are many schools
that are introducing philosophy and social justice.
and values. So it'll be interesting to see your blend of your expertise
and where the Australian curriculum is going in the future.
Plenty to sleep on. But in 2006,
they still had to make up their minds.
Having made the choice to move, it will be interesting to see
if they think it is still the right decision.
Three years on,
and Bob and Libby have made a new social group for themselves.
It's essential to feel like they have a support system,
but as immigrants to a new country, it hasn't been easy.
Most of our friends here are ex-pats.
We shared a common bond right from the start. We'd all moved,
we'd all wanted this better life for our families, and we've got that.
Where we haven't always been so successful is
finding a place with Australian friends, perhaps,
because... Well, I don't know what it is. It's not quite
the Neighbours and Home And Away that we were expecting, I suppose.
The effect is that sometimes you still feel like a pom in Oz.
You do feel like somebody who's just sort of almost like here on holiday.
It's that breaking through and being a full part of Australian society.
But sometimes it feels very hard to achieve that.
That's when it's tough. That is when it's tough.
Like many ex-pats, Bob and Libby have turned
to those who have shared the same experiences for support.
And it's been a real challenge for Emily, too.
Leaving your family and friends and then having to find...
um, new ones is the hardest thing.
You can't kind of create that history instantly.
You have so much history going on with your family and friends
and you come here and you're all so new and you don't have
all these memories created with them instantly,
and that's really horrible. Yeah.
Back in 2006, as they were getting ready for their last day,
Emily's alarm bells were already ringing.
With their big decision ahead, she was about to drop a bombshell.
I think I'd find it quite hard coming to Australia.
It is great, but...um...
..I think this is Dad's idea of a wonderful country,
but it's not mine.
I can see why Dad likes it
and I can see why Mum... um, is a bit more...
Or not as excited about it as Dad is.
I haven't really wanted to kind of speak about it too much
to Mum and Dad, especially Dad, because I know how
he's wanted to do this for ages.
I didn't really want to spoil anything.
I do want to kind of try, though, cos otherwise I think I'd feel bad,
um...for Dad and Mum.
It was a huge shock
and it had left Bob confused and concerned about the future.
What she came out with, it's quite right.
So I'm just thinking now, what a wrench it's going to be
to leave everything that she knows
and she's comfortable and secure with
and to come and live here.
You know, for me, my family's the most important thing.
I don't want to come here, where one of us or two of us,
really, they don't want to be here,
and she's doing something just to please me.
'Knowing how much he wants this, I think he's found today very hard.'
And for him to want to change his mind so much to be supportive
for Emily and I, I love him for that.
But they made the move in 2007. So how did Emily cope?
The first few days were horrible, being really jet-lagged.
After that, it sunk in a lot more how far away we were and...
Yeah, it was hard being so distant
and then trying to find a school so you didn't feel quite so lonely.
But I think it was also really good for us as a family
when you've only got each other for the first few weeks.
I think it brings you closer.
We're much more sorted now.
The house is kind of coming together.
It was worth sticking it out for those few months
where it's really tough because it is enjoyable.
But will this have any impact on her final vote?
In 2006, the Warners had to face up to the prospect
of leaving loved ones behind,
as we showed them some recorded messages
from their friends and family.
First up was Libby's friend and colleague, Diane.
I will miss her as a friend because of her warmth and sincerity.
She's fun. She's fun in meetings.
Her whole personality is larger than life
and it's always lively when Libby's around.
Who's going to do the Birdie Song without you?
THEY SING THE BIRDIE SONG
Hi, Emily. I hope you're having a really good time,
even though I miss you loads and I hope you come back soon.
Hey, Emily. I really don't want you to go because you're really nice
and caring and thoughtful, and basically,
I'm just going to miss you. Please don't go!
You really will be sorely missed
and a tough act to follow, I've got to say.
The children adore you, you've a super relationship with them.
We're both really, really going to miss you, but I'm so supportive.
You deserve to have such a better quality of life
than what you've had and what you have now in Witney,
so we're really pleased that you're going.
Definitely keep in touch. You are going to be a long way away from us.
Bob, keep in touch on the football.
I know we've had our fair share of banter over the last few years
with regards to the number of players and I'm sure it'll probably continue, but not as close.
I wish you all the best and we will miss you.
If there's one thing I could really say it's,
please don't go! You love us too much!
You can't go! We're so much better than the Australian kids.
We'll all miss you.
Yeah, we'll miss you lots.
I'll miss you!
Do you really have to go?
It's been fun having you around here and, uh...
perhaps you may give it a second thought, you know,
for a little split second, that you'd really like to stay here.
So, all the best.
The pull of their emotional words was cutting Libby in two.
But was it enough to change her mind?
It's really hard, isn't it?
Don't you think?
I didn't realise you were such a good teacher.
-That's what they said, didn't they?
To me, it's a real reality check. Having seen this, this brings it home
a bit more than I would have liked, really.
You know, because I've had this goal for such a long time
and when it's come to the issues about missing family and friends,
I've said, "Yeah, fine", and not even thought about it. But now, seeing them on the DVD there
and hear the family talk, that's going to be a major wrench.
It is going to be really hard to leave our family and friends.
Three years on and the separation from loved ones has become real.
We showed them a new message from Libby's best friend, Louise.
Hi, Lib! Hi, Rob! Hi, Emily and Sophie. Um, I just wanted to say
we're really missing you over here.
I believe you've made the right decision in going to Australia
and I think it's the right thing for your family.
When somebody says, "I'm moving to Australia", you think,
"That'll never happen. It's a great idea. Great. Yeah."
But when she actually did it, it was sort of like, "Oh, my God, she's actually going!
The biggest thing I'm missing out on is the girls growing up
and what they're getting up to. That's the biggest thing. You think,
"Wouldn't it be great if I could actually go over there,
"go to the barbecue and be sitting there with nice hot sunshine and
"a glass of wine watching what's going on and being part of it?"
Through different phases of our lives together, we've supported each other
and you need that one friend that knows more than everybody else
and she was it. She knows an awful lot about me and I know an awful lot about her
and that's what best friends are for.
I love her. I miss her.
And I'll see her soon.
I think you've done exactly the right thing in going.
I miss you. I'm jealous. I want to swim in your pool.
But I love you, and I love you all. Take care. Bye.
I'll be back in a minute.
You're torn, really, cos you've got a fantastic lifestyle here,
but you've still got links to the UK. You've still got friends,
their lives are still going on, and you're not part of that any more.
So you do miss out on that. Really, it is difficult. You are torn between two places, aren't you?
I consider this my home now. But...
I missed my brother's wedding recently
and, um, it was horrible.
You can only think about how you feel yourself. You don't realise
other people are feeling exactly the same way. It's only when
you see your friends saying things like that, you think, "What are we at?"
That's impacted on them as well, hasn't it? As well as us. It's not just us.
The pain of leaving close friends will probably never get easier for Libby.
For myself, seeing the DVD,
or seeing Louise and what she says is...is beautiful.
But she's in my mind, anyway.
I don't have to wait for something bad or something major to happen.
I mean, this is where I've always wanted to be and now I'm here, I just think, "Well, this is it now."
I can see what Bob's saying. Yes, this is what he wanted to do.
And no, it was never the big dream for me that it was for him.
It's hard at times.
Maybe it's because I'm emotional and prone to emotional outbursts or whatever you want to say,
but...I find the...
..the friends and family from the UK very tough, still.
Ah, it seems that time is not always a great healer
and seeing her best friend so upset has been too much for Libby.
In 2006, the Warner family from Oxfordshire
had to decide if they wanted to trade their jobs as teachers in the UK for life in Brisbane, Australia.
Bob loved the country and they all fell for the homes,
but their dreams of a bright future had been seriously tested
by Libby's discovery that she couldn't teach her chosen subject.
Because my subject's Religious Studies and it's not taught routinely in the state system here,
then I've got to try and find a way to make what I teach relevant
to the state system if I want to open job opportunities for myself.
And Emily was unhappy at being so far from her friends.
I think I'd find it quite hard coming to Australia
and I think this is Dad's idea of a wonderful country,
but it's not mine.
Emily voted for the UK, but the rest of the family decided that Australia
was the place for them.
So, the Warners, it looks like we're coming to Australia.
Three years on and the Warner family have a beautiful home, which they've made their own.
They even have some new additions to the family, which helped the girls settle.
She walked in and she saw the puppy and said, "Is this our forever dog?"
Bob loved his new life,
but Libby still preferred working in the UK.
It's a close thing. 50-50.
Or maybe 51-49.
Whilst Libby was suffering from her allergies, it was Emily who'd been through some scarily testing times.
-And it was just absolutely terrifying.
-It was a low point, wasn't it?
-Since we've been here.
And they all miss loved ones back in the UK.
So, after three rollercoaster years in Australia,
which way would the family vote now?
OK, well, we've had some good times and some bad times over the last two and a half years,
but as a family, we vote for...
The Warners have made a new life for themselves in Adelaide.
Although Libby struggles with the environment,
she loves to see Bob and the girls happy.
Even Emily has been won over by their new life in Australia.
Join us again next time, when we catch up with another family
on Wanted Down Under Revisited.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd.
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Wanted Down Under Revisited catches up with some of the original British families who tried out life in Australia and New Zealand, to find out where they are now.
Nicki Chapman meets teachers Libby and Bob from Oxfordshire, who wanted to escape their stressful routine of commuting, working, sleeping, leaving little quality time left over for friends, hobbies and pets. With children Emily and Sophie they sampled life in Queensland in 2006. What happened next? Did they move to Australia to pursue their dreams, or did they stick it out in the UK?