Roberts Family Wanted Down Under Revisited


Roberts Family

Catching up with British families who took part in the relocation series. Andy and Keira Roberts from Wigan visited Australia - are they now raising their child as an Australian?


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If you were expecting your first child, could you leave behind

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the support of your closest friends and family

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to move to the other side of the world,

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because you wanted your baby to get a fresh start down under?

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This was the heart-wrenching decision faced by Keira and Andy Roberts in 2009,

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when we gave them the chance to experience the Australian lifestyle

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ahead of making this enormous, life-altering choice.

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Keira and Andy Roberts from Wigan were considering swapping

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their daily grind in the UK for a new life down under.

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Living somewhere abroad has been something I've thought about since school-leaving age.

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But newly pregnant Keira had taken some persuading and was still not 100% convinced.

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He's the one that came up with the idea in the first place.

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I was absolutely heartbroken.

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For Keira, the pain of leaving loved ones behind in the UK was hard to bear.

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It's a really, really hard decision to make and I don't suppose

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until I flip the cards, I'll know which way I'm going to go.

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But the big question is, where are they now? UK or Australia?

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The Roberts from Wigan were confronted with a huge dilemma.

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They wanted a better life in Australia, for the baby Keira was expecting.

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But that would mean leaving family in the UK.

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We gave Keira and Andy a week to experience every aspect of life Down Under,

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to see if they really could make this massive move.

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But what's happened since then?

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In 2009, Andy and Keira Roberts from Wigan were about to leave

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their family and friends, to see what life would really be like if they moved to Australia.

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I've had an opportunity to go before.

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It ended up we couldn't take that opportunity because

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we were getting married over that year and the company couldn't take Keira with me.

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After thinking about it for quite a long time, I thought,

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"No, I wouldn't want to hold him back from doing what he wanted to do", so, at least give it a go.

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Keira was currently studying for her accountancy qualifications.

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Andy was a quantity surveyor, overseeing construction projects.

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He earned £40,000 a year but was fed up with his long commute to work.

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It takes sometimes an hour to an hour and a half to get 14 miles up the road.

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When you've done a day's work and all your travelling, it's a 12-hour day.

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Andy and Keira's lives were about to change with the arrival of their first child.

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It's happened and we're both really happy about it.

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She just said to me, "I can't drink for the next few months."

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-What do you mean?

-The baby probably would have an Australian accent.

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Maybe with a bit of a Wigan/Scouse twang.

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For the Roberts, home is where the heart is.

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My sister lives seven doors down.

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My mum lives round the corner. Down the road from there are my auntie and uncle.

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There's absolutely tons of people we know.

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We all congregate to the local pub and everybody knows everybody. We all look out for each other.

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Some people might think it's a bit too close for comfort,

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but I've grown up here and that's what I know.

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Everybody's really friendly and it's a community feeling.

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We've never really had to go out and make new friends. I don't even know where we'd start.

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I wouldn't have a clue.

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There was one person who made the decision even tougher for Keira,

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her niece.

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I'm really close to Emily

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and I know she's not very old,

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but she knows who I am and...

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She reacts to you. She's just really funny.

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She makes me laugh a lot.

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It's a really hard thing to think about, leaving her.

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But there were many others they would miss deeply.

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Obviously, it'd be nice to have a support network

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even if you're just having a bad day, if you've got grandparents and aunties and uncles around,

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you can always palm the baby off, for want of a better word, for a couple of hours and she can relax.

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Over there if I'm going to be working she's going to be on her own.

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-That is a bit of a worry.

-I think not having my mum on hand

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will be a massive shock to the system.

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The baby growing up, first crawl, first teeth, first walk, first word.

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A lot of things like that, that will be really hard.

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There's a lot to leave.

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Um...

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There's a lot to give up.

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To help them consider the huge impact this mover could have on their lives,

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we sent them to Darwin, Australia's northernmost city,

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to see what to see what life on the other side of the world was really like.

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Keira and Andy were in search of a better life for their future family.

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Darwin might be the perfect place for them to build their future,

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but if Keira wasn't able to break her ties with home,

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their dreams may come to nothing.

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They only had a week to make this life-changing decision.

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The 9,000 mile journey to the other side of the world

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gave them plenty of time to consider the enormity of this choice.

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-Long. I just didn't sleep a wink.

-I thought a couple of hours, at least, I'd get,

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but I didn't get anything at all,

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hence the big bags under the eyes.

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Keira and Andy were staying in a two-bedroom apartment

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in the affluent suburb of Nightcliff, only a stone's throw from the beach.

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First impressions counted, if Keira was going to be persuaded that a move was right for them.

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-Oh!

-It's quite flash, isn't it?

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It's quite big. It looked quite small from outside.

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-It's open-plan like you wanted anyway.

-Yeah.

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It's a bit of a TARDIS, really.

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I like it a lot. It's pleasantly surprising.

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I'm on tenterhooks now to get going.

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I'm nervous about liking it too much.

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We've already been warned actually.

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The last phone call before we came over was Keira's mum saying,

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"Make sure you come back and remember where you live" and all that kind of thing so...

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-And my dad.

-Have to make sure you don't like it too much.

-Mmm.

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Back in the UK, Keira and Andy lived in a three-bedroom house

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on the outskirts of Wigan. They had done a huge amount of work to it

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so any property in Darwin had a lot to live up to.

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They bought their house in 2007, for £155,000.

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It hadn't been valued since,

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so they were unsure of their budget for an Australian home.

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We showed them three different properties

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to give them an idea of what they might afford, if they sold their house for the right price

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and if Andy secured a well-paid job.

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The first was in the suburb of Durack.

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This four-bedroomed two-bathroom property

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was on the market in 2009 for £260,000.

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I like the way it's all open-plan.

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It makes the places look more spacious and it's huge through here.

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-Kids' room.

-Whoa. This is a kids' room, isn't it?

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It's bigger than I thought it was.

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Let's hope the baby's a girl, eh?

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It's a bit pink, isn't it?

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Bathroom with a big fan again.

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-Nothing too surprising in here except for the fact it's straight off the living-room.

-Oh, yeah!

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Which is...weird, isn't it?

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Main bedroom.

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-Red doors.

-I'm assuming these are wardrobes.

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Don't open them too much.

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Whoa!

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I assumed wrong.

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An en suite and a walk-in wardrobe.

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Where are you going to put all your clothes?

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-I spy a pool out the back.

-Let's go and have a look at that, then.

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This is a nice space, isn't it? It's just the right size.

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I can definitely see some kids running around here and playing

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in the pool while we sit and have a few beers over there on the terrace.

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I'm not too sure whether I get that homely feeling from it

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and I'm not sure whether it's somewhere I could live.

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It just hasn't quite grabbed us, but it's pretty good, I think.

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-Yeah, I do like the area.

-Yeah.

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The house may have offered enough space for them and their new family, but they both had their doubts.

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It was vital that they found the perfect house

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if Keira was going to be persuaded to move down under.

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Property two was in the northern suburb of Nakara,

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just 15 minutes' drive from Darwin's centre.

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This four-bedroom, two-bathroom house cost £293,000 in 2009.

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It was a lot more expensive than the first property

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and it would be a stretch for the Roberts with just Andy working.

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-It's quite a nice size. I like the way it goes out on to the front. That garden's lovely.

-Oh, yeah.

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And a pool.

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And fresh coconuts daily. I'm not too sure about it being right by the main road.

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-It is close, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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-They seem to have this plastic cladding in all the rooms, don't they?

-On the walls.

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-Just a bit strange.

-It is odd.

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This is lovely, isn't it?

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It's a gent's walk-in wardrobe as well, so it's not full of bags and shoes.

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-But it would be.

-I like how it opens up out here.

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This is nice. An outdoor kitchen.

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This is excellent, isn't it?

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-Fantastic!

-It's a really nice space.

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Brilliant, this.

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The design of it is certainly better than the last place.

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You're concerned about the pool being on...

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I've still got a hang-up about the pool being at the front of a house

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rather than the back by the main road.

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I quite like the place. I'm quite taken with it.

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I'm not sure about the plastic walls. We'll have to figure that out.

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That's a point. Other than that, I like the place.

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I think it's really good.

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Property two seemed to tick more of their boxes.

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But the busy roads on their doorstep may have put them off.

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Back in Durack, property three was something a bit special.

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This brand new four-bedroom house has some surprising and unique features.

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Though at £335,000, this may be over their budget.

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But if Keira needed persuading, perhaps the thought of a real dream home would do the trick.

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-This is nice, isn't it?

-Yeah!

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This is flash. It's like a hotel foyer.

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And the water feature.

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It's amazing.

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Blimey! I'm a bit speechless. It's as flash as anything, isn't it?

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Is this the bedroom?

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Obviously spared no expense in here!

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I like the front windows.

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I like it but I'm not too sure about having a sink

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-in the middle of the bedroom.

-No, that is a bit too much like a hotel bedroom, isn't it?

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I wouldn't want that there, but that's just being ridiculously picky!

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I think it's brilliant,

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but I think it's a bit too brilliant for my liking.

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I think it's the kind of thing you get people round to show off. It's not a home, is it?

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-As it is, the actual...

-I'm unbelievably impressed about it but...

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-The actual space itself and the house itself is set out really nicely.

-Brilliant, isn't it?

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The outside seemed just as impressive as the inside, but Andy had noticed a serious flaw.

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We've found a chink in the armour.

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-The road is straight behind, isn't it?

-Yeah.

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It sounds quite busy, doesn't it?

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It's my ideal of a home.

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Well, an Australian home anyway.

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It's making me more keen to come to Australia now because of the way that you live here.

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You can be in the kitchen seeing your kids play outside in the garden.

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It's a really, really good lifestyle.

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In terms of what they offer, better than the UK.

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Even the first one I would say was probably better and had more about it

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than some of the houses we could get at home.

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The house was certainly impressive, with its stylish features and state-of-the-art design.

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But it needed to be the ultimate house at the right price for them to consider making the move.

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Which way did they vote?

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Based on the property that we've seen so far in Darwin

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our vote goes to...

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..Australia.

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Well, Keira liked the Australian houses,

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but these properties were out of reach if Andy didn't secure the right job.

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Their big decision was in his hands.

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In 2009, a UK quantity surveyor earned between £35,000 and £55,000 a year.

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But it was the commute that Andy was very keen to change.

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He was desperate to spend less time travelling, and more time with his family.

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In Darwin, Andy was up early to experience work down under.

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And he was very aware of how important this day was.

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Getting a job is the most important thing about the trip, really.

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It's nice seeing the houses and the lifestyle you can get,

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but unless I can pay for that lifestyle then it's pretty redundant really.

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The main thing is that it pays enough for us to be able to come over here.

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The job was vital, but Andy couldn't stop worrying about Keira.

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Ultimately I would still like to come out here.

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I'm going to obviously stand by my wife and if it turns out it's not what she wants to do,

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and it's too much of a wrench for her, then I suppose I'd have to stand by that.

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So Andy's dreams of a new life down under could be dashed if Keira didn't take to Australia -

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and with a baby on the way, she had a lot on her mind.

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She went to Darwin Hospital to check out what birthing facilities were like down under.

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So how are you feeling, Keira, with the pregnancy?

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Quite good. I'm over the sickness now, so that's a good thing.

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We have two birth rooms and they're exactly the same.

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We call them bedroom one and bedroom two.

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Just to be a little bit more homely.

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-This is nice.

-Yes.

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This is completely different back at home.

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We have a double... Well, I think it's a queen-size bed.

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We have a bath straight ahead here.

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-I've noticed there's a garden outside as well.

-I know, it's lovely, isn't it?

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We have a table and chairs out there. The only thing we don't have is a barbecue,

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but you're certainly welcome to come out here

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-in your labour, day or night.

-This is really nice.

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With Keira at home full time with the new baby, Andy would be the sole wage earner.

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For any dreams of life down under to become a reality, it was essential his hunt for work went well.

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-Andy.

-Nice to meet you, is it Don?

-Yes it is.

-Nice to meet you.

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-You need to put this on and you've got closed-in shoes.

-Yeah.

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We're going to take the lift upstairs.

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Andy, this is, as you can see, in the final stages of completion.

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Is this a typical project for the company, then, or would you tend to do anything on infrastructure?

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This is fairly typical for us,

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but there are a number of projects coming up that your experience would probably be good for us to have.

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Andy was getting on well. And there was even a hint of a job for him in the near future.

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Back at the hospital, Keira was having a check-up.

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And it seemed everything she had experienced so far in Australia

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was starting to persuade her this might be a good place to bring up her baby.

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BABY'S HEART BEATS

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There's baby.

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Everything seems to be going well in your pregnancy.

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Being out here and experiencing what Australia has to offer has started to change me slightly.

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I really love the place and obviously the weather makes a big difference.

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It's absolutely beautiful out here.

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Still a bit nervous about being so far away from home.

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Obviously something that's life-changing.

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It would be difficult and make me feel sad that I'm not just around the corner

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from my friends and family.

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It's not the same them being on the end of the telephone or the internet.

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It's completely different.

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But it's definitely something I'm considering a bit more.

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I think this experience is just making me move more towards coming out here in the long term.

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Andy would be delighted to hear that Keira was warming to the idea of a move to Australia.

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But he had some important questions.

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What are your general working hours at the company?

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We have core hours from 8.30 and till 5 o'clock.

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We need to be able to get work done and meet deadlines

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so sometimes that may require additional hours of work.

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What's the general salary I'd be expecting as a cost manager?

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We would expect to be able to negotiate somewhere between 90 and 100.

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With similar working hours

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but better pay than his job in the UK, how would Andy vote?

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The wages themselves are actually a little bit better

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so you could be up to £50,000 which is more than I'm on just now. A significant amount more, actually.

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Based on the work I've seen today... My vote goes to...

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Australia.

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In the UK, the Roberts owned a three-bedroom house on the outskirts of Wigan

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which they bought in 2007 for £156,000.

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In 2009, we sent two estate agents around to value their home.

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If Andy and Keira were to make the massive move to Australia,

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everything hinged on this valuation.

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It's not a typical semi-detached house for this area.

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They are mostly more like your dormered semi three bedrooms.

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It's larger than that because, thanks to an extension at the rear.

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For a quick sale I'd have to recommend it on the market

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-at just under the 150, 149.

-It's not great, is it?

-No.

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That was over £5,000 less than they originally paid for it.

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There was so much riding on the value of their home, a second opinion was crucial.

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If you needed a quick sale you'd probably think

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that you'd be looking around the 149,950.

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Same as last time, isn't it?

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I think 150 is a little bit lower than I hoped.

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I was hoping we'd maybe be looking at the amount we paid for it a couple of years ago, which was 155.

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I'm a bit disappointed at the price that they've come up with.

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But I suppose it's to be expected, really.

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The valuations hit Keira and Andy hard. This was not what they were expecting.

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The move to Australia was in jeopardy, if they couldn't sell their house.

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We provided the Roberts with some detailed information

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on the day-to-day costs of living in Australia.

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That is expensive for the air conditioning and that kind of thing.

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-Obviously, you don't need air conditioning in the UK.

-That's expensive.

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Private health care, if that's a month, that's really high.

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Is it? Have to put it together and see what spits out at the end.

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There doesn't seem to be anything too shocking.

0:19:330:19:36

They needed to take into account the cost of living in Australia.

0:19:360:19:40

What Andy could earn and what they could get for their UK home.

0:19:400:19:45

When they crunch the numbers, the reality of living in Australia hit home.

0:19:470:19:51

I just expected, and I'm sure many other people expect, Australia to be cheaper.

0:19:510:19:58

It doesn't work out like that.

0:19:580:20:00

It was a lot more expensive than they thought, but how did they vote?

0:20:000:20:04

Did they think they could afford a life down under or was home the better option?

0:20:040:20:09

Having looked at the cost of living in Australia our vote is...

0:20:090:20:14

BOTH: Australia.

0:20:140:20:16

Just.

0:20:160:20:17

Andy and Keira were determined to experience some of what

0:20:200:20:24

Australia had to offer, so they went to a nearby nature reserve.

0:20:240:20:27

If the lifestyle was not what they had imagined,

0:20:270:20:31

a move down under for a better life was pointless.

0:20:310:20:34

While Andy took a dip, Keira reflected on her changing feelings.

0:20:340:20:38

My biggest fear and concern was that I was going to like it and I do really like it here.

0:20:380:20:43

I didn't really want that to happen because I thought if we came over, I wouldn't like it

0:20:430:20:48

and it'd be a straightforward answer.

0:20:480:20:50

It wasn't for us and I could say no, that would be it.

0:20:500:20:54

Things have changed slightly now and we'll have to work through that when we get back home.

0:20:540:20:58

But I do see me and Andy moving to Australia in the near future.

0:20:580:21:03

Keira was sounding positive,

0:21:030:21:05

but this was an enormous decision, not to be taken lightly.

0:21:050:21:09

The Roberts were keen to experience Darwin from every angle,

0:21:090:21:12

so they took a boat trip to see the city from the sea.

0:21:120:21:16

Keira was distracted, though.

0:21:160:21:17

Her worries had changed to how she was going to break the news of a possible move to her family.

0:21:170:21:23

I think it's going to be a big thing I'll have to think about when we get back.

0:21:230:21:29

I've got no idea how I'm going to tell them.

0:21:290:21:32

I'll just have to be completely honest and come straight out with it.

0:21:320:21:37

They'll probably think we've been looking at it in a view that it's a holiday.

0:21:370:21:40

That's not why we came out here. So I think we've given it a good chance.

0:21:400:21:45

I'll just have to broach it when we come to it, I suppose.

0:21:450:21:48

The priority is the baby, really.

0:21:480:21:50

The life for the baby will definitely be better here than it is back at home.

0:21:500:21:55

Keira was looking like an Aussie convert, but Andy was starting to have serious doubts.

0:21:550:22:01

I'd miss my friends... It might sound strange, but I'd miss the pub culture.

0:22:010:22:05

Although all this is outdoors, which is brilliant, I am used to meeting my friends in the pub

0:22:050:22:09

and that's something that doesn't seem to happen, or at least not on the same scale.

0:22:090:22:14

It had been a full, emotional day - and they'd had a good glimpse of the Australian lifestyle.

0:22:140:22:19

But...was it worth moving halfway around the world for?

0:22:190:22:24

Based on the lifestyle we've seen in Australia, our vote goes to...

0:22:240:22:29

BOTH: ..Australia.

0:22:300:22:32

Keira and Andy had huge concerns about bringing up a new baby so far from home.

0:22:370:22:41

So they sought reassurance from some local new parents.

0:22:410:22:45

-Hi, I'm Keira.

-Hi - Richard. How are you?

0:22:450:22:48

Is this something you generally do of a weekend?

0:22:480:22:51

Most weekends it's here or it's at the markets.

0:22:510:22:54

There's picnics coming up... It's very family orientated, it's a wonderful place to bring kids up.

0:22:540:22:59

I think that's one of my main concerns, is coming over and not meeting anybody.

0:22:590:23:05

Everyone's in the same boat. I've got no family up here.

0:23:050:23:08

Your friends become your family. They become your network.

0:23:080:23:12

They help you with babysitting,

0:23:120:23:13

with entertaining yourselves and your children and stuff, so that's how it works.

0:23:130:23:18

They were really nice people, actually, weren't they?

0:23:180:23:20

We were speaking to the family we met -

0:23:200:23:22

they initially started off in New South Wales, and they've lived in a lot of places around the world

0:23:220:23:28

and they've chose Darwin as a place to bring up their family

0:23:280:23:31

because of the area that it is and the lifestyle that they have. I can see why

0:23:310:23:36

they've chose to live here.

0:23:360:23:37

Spending time around all those young children

0:23:380:23:40

reminded Keira how much she was missing her niece back home.

0:23:400:23:45

Of course I'm thinking about Emily... I'll start crying!

0:23:450:23:49

You all right?

0:23:510:23:52

It's really hard. And when...

0:23:520:23:55

..when you mention things like

0:23:590:24:01

how I'm feeling about Emily

0:24:010:24:04

and what it would be like leaving my sisters, and the baby...

0:24:040:24:09

..again it hits home.

0:24:110:24:13

Because when I'm here, what I'm thinking about is how much THEY'D like it,

0:24:130:24:18

and how much Emily would love doing the things that these children are doing as well.

0:24:180:24:24

-And she won't be here, will she?

-No.

0:24:240:24:26

But that for me... It might sound a bit callous, but that for me is

0:24:260:24:31

the reason why we're coming - because we're coming for OUR child.

0:24:310:24:35

We'd love it if Emily was here as well,

0:24:350:24:37

but we've seen the benefit of it, and we've got to look after our own child, at the end of the day.

0:24:370:24:44

It's still a big if, but if this is the best thing for our child,

0:24:440:24:48

-then that's what we'd have to do, I think.

-Yeah.

0:24:480:24:50

The reality of a move was starting to hit home.

0:24:500:24:53

Based on what we've seen so far and the social life in Australia, our vote goes to...

0:24:530:24:58

..UK.

0:24:590:25:01

I don't know!

0:25:010:25:02

I don't know.

0:25:030:25:05

Cracks were starting to show.

0:25:070:25:09

So far, Andy had been extremely positive about Australia. But things were beginning to change.

0:25:090:25:15

I think what we've seen today is encouraging.

0:25:150:25:18

But I look at it as the friends we would be making here, off the bat, would be kind of thrown together

0:25:180:25:24

because we're families and that's what we've got in common.

0:25:240:25:28

It's not what we've got in common in terms of personalities and as proper friends.

0:25:280:25:32

I voted for the UK on that basis -

0:25:320:25:34

because I've got close friends and I'd like to have a laugh with them.

0:25:340:25:37

In 2009, thoughts of leaving family and friends in the UK

0:25:410:25:46

were playing heavily on both Andy and Keira's minds.

0:25:460:25:50

So, to remind them just what they would be leaving behind,

0:25:500:25:53

we showed them some messages from their loved ones back home.

0:25:530:25:57

'Hi, you two. I hope you've settled in.

0:26:010:26:02

'Hi, you two...'

0:26:020:26:04

Hope you're having a great time. We're missing you like crazy.

0:26:040:26:08

-Andy's a nice guy...

-You're a nice guy.

0:26:080:26:10

He's very clever. He knows what he wants in life.

0:26:100:26:12

At first, I don't think she liked Andy very much.

0:26:120:26:16

He was a little bit cocky...

0:26:160:26:18

'I love her very much. She's a very loving daughter.'

0:26:180:26:21

She's a lovely girl.

0:26:210:26:23

Yeah, she is. And she loves Andy very much.

0:26:230:26:26

'She's a superb daughter-in-law.'

0:26:260:26:28

She really is. She's like my third daughter.

0:26:280:26:31

Keira's my older sister.

0:26:310:26:33

There's, erm...

0:26:330:26:34

I think there's 18 months between us, so we're very close.

0:26:340:26:37

I don't want her to go - but I know THEY want to go.

0:26:370:26:40

I think the most important thing is that Keira's now pregnant and she's about to have a baby,

0:26:400:26:45

and it would be very difficult to see our grandchild if they were in Australia.

0:26:450:26:49

Them not being here with a grandchild of ours is not something we would really look forward to.

0:26:490:26:57

I think it's going to be ten times worse now that she's pregnant.

0:26:570:27:01

When I was pregnant, she supported me a lot through the pregnancy -

0:27:010:27:04

but we're going to find it really difficult knowing that she's so far away

0:27:040:27:09

with a little baby that we want to cuddle, and can't.

0:27:090:27:13

'I just think it's a time... The first year of a child's life,'

0:27:130:27:18

I think it's a time when you need family support.

0:27:180:27:20

'Enjoy it. Find out everything you can about it.'

0:27:200:27:24

Whatever they decide is fine by me.

0:27:240:27:28

Selfishly, I hope you don't go - I'll miss you -

0:27:280:27:31

'but I really think you SHOULD go because it's a great opportunity.'

0:27:310:27:34

Hi, K. Hi, Andy. Obviously, you knew what was going to happen.

0:27:340:27:37

We hope you have a fab time in Australia,

0:27:370:27:40

but not too much because we want you like crazy.

0:27:400:27:42

I do hope you'll make the right choice...

0:27:430:27:46

WE don't want you to go.

0:27:460:27:48

We would rather you stayed here.

0:27:480:27:50

We hope that you choose to come home to your family,

0:27:520:27:55

and bring up our grandchild at home here in sometimes sunny England.

0:27:550:28:01

Are you all right, though?

0:28:060:28:08

Yeah. I expected it, I...

0:28:080:28:11

It's just hard seeing it.

0:28:110:28:13

Yeah.

0:28:130:28:15

It's nice to see that there's a lot of support anyway.

0:28:150:28:19

Yeah.

0:28:190:28:20

-Quite honest, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:28:210:28:23

Your mum and dad were good because they were honest, weren't they?

0:28:230:28:26

I just think... Even when I saw Katie and Emily then, I started crying.

0:28:260:28:31

They didn't have to say anything.

0:28:310:28:33

You're starting to miss them now, aren't you?

0:28:330:28:37

Yeah.

0:28:370:28:38

-Well, this is the acid test, isn't it?

-Yeah.

0:28:440:28:47

-Harsh!

-Yeah, but, er...

0:28:470:28:50

..one thing is, it'll be worse than this when you're waiting to get on the plane.

0:28:510:28:56

So, you have to take that into account as well.

0:28:570:28:59

-Yeah.

-You might calm yourself down in five minutes, but, er...

0:28:590:29:04

it'll be that a hundredfold if we make the decision, so...

0:29:040:29:09

you have to be sure you're all right with that.

0:29:090:29:12

Well, it was the end of a long and emotional week in Darwin for the Roberts.

0:29:210:29:25

I do see me and Andy moving to Australia in the near future.

0:29:250:29:28

Andy and Keira loved the experience and the lifestyle which Australia offered their expanding family.

0:29:280:29:35

The priority is the baby, really.

0:29:350:29:37

However, the messages from their family

0:29:370:29:40

came as a stark reminder of what they'd be leaving behind -

0:29:400:29:43

and the difficulty they'd face raising their first child WITHOUT the support of their family.

0:29:430:29:48

-It's just hard seeing it.

-Yeah.

0:29:490:29:52

It had always been Andy's dream to move to Australia -

0:29:520:29:55

but he was worried that it might prove too much for Keira.

0:29:550:30:00

Before we started this little adventure, it was always going to be the family that was going to

0:30:000:30:04

be the problem, and I think that's still the case now.

0:30:040:30:08

The main thing for me is how much Keira may have been swept

0:30:080:30:11

away by things, and how much this may have set her back.

0:30:110:30:15

Seeing friends

0:30:150:30:18

that I've grown up with, and...

0:30:180:30:21

family,

0:30:210:30:24

it just changes things.

0:30:240:30:26

Because the way I'm feeling now,

0:30:280:30:30

it would be a constant if we came out here.

0:30:300:30:33

Ultimately, the reason I'm here is not just for me,

0:30:330:30:36

it's for Keira and for our new family.

0:30:360:30:40

The most overriding thing is for a better life for our kids.

0:30:410:30:45

It's a really, really hard decision to make.

0:30:450:30:48

And I don't suppose until I flip the cards

0:30:500:30:53

I'll know which way I'm going to go.

0:30:530:30:55

They had such a positive start to the week,

0:30:560:30:59

but the prospect of leaving friends and family behind and bringing up

0:30:590:31:03

their first child alone had made this huge decision even harder.

0:31:030:31:07

It was crunch time.

0:31:070:31:09

Will Keira and Andy choose a new life down under,

0:31:090:31:13

or was there too much tying them to the UK?

0:31:130:31:15

Based on everything we've seen here in Darwin, our vote goes to...

0:31:150:31:19

BOTH: ..UK.

0:31:200:31:23

I'm shocked that you voted for UK!

0:31:230:31:26

-I know. But there's a big caveat to that.

-Go on.

0:31:260:31:31

That I think Australia is my long-term vote, without a doubt...

0:31:310:31:35

but not having your mum and dad around when the baby's an infant

0:31:350:31:43

I think would be too hard for you.

0:31:430:31:45

I absolutely love it here,

0:31:450:31:46

but I couldn't do it without my family and friends.

0:31:460:31:49

Having your first child is going to be hard enough without having

0:31:490:31:52

-your mum and my mum and your sister around you at the time.

-Yeah.

0:31:520:31:56

-Yeah.

-Maybe, I think it's a timing issue.

0:31:560:32:00

Maybe.

0:32:000:32:02

I think at this moment in time, it's probably just...the wrong time.

0:32:080:32:13

For me, I don't think the book's closed.

0:32:130:32:16

I still want to come out here and I think everything we've seen

0:32:160:32:19

just makes me want to come out here even more, really,

0:32:190:32:22

but I think the timing isn't quite right really.

0:32:220:32:25

I think it would be too hard raising our first child on our own.

0:32:250:32:29

Give the child a couple of months and see how we feel then.

0:32:290:32:32

Maybe six months down the line, we'll feel differently.

0:32:320:32:35

I still think it's on the horizon in the short to medium term, hopefully.

0:32:350:32:40

So, in 2009, the Roberts voted for the UK.

0:32:460:32:51

We've caught up with them again - baby has arrived,

0:32:510:32:55

but where are they now and how are they getting on?

0:32:550:32:58

They are still in the UK - and with the arrival of baby Jack their family has grown.

0:33:000:33:05

A year ago, they both agreed the UK was right for the time being.

0:33:050:33:10

But where do they see their future?

0:33:100:33:12

Will they be united or do they ultimately want to live in two very different places?

0:33:120:33:18

It feels like a lifetime ago since we were in Australia,

0:33:190:33:22

even though it was just about a year ago.

0:33:220:33:26

Um...

0:33:260:33:27

So much has changed and a lot of things have happened.

0:33:270:33:30

We've had Jack, a new addition to our family.

0:33:300:33:32

November 17th, Jack was born.

0:33:320:33:36

-2009.

-Mm-hm.

-A few months after we came back from Darwin.

0:33:360:33:39

-Things changed a lot then, didn't they?

-Yeah.

0:33:390:33:43

Definitely did.

0:33:430:33:44

Yeah, nothing prepares you for parenthood, I don't think. Um...

0:33:440:33:49

Seeing the birth, nothing prepares you for that either.

0:33:490:33:52

That did mess up my head a little bit.

0:33:520:33:55

Still not sleeping properly now, to be honest, but...

0:33:550:33:58

And he wasn't the one that gave birth.

0:33:580:34:00

BABY CRIES

0:34:000:34:03

-Shall we go and... Do you want to?

-Yeah, I'll go and get him.

0:34:030:34:06

All right, this is our little baby boy, Jack.

0:34:070:34:09

The last time everybody saw him, he was in the scans.

0:34:090:34:13

-He's...

-He still keeps us up at night every now and again,

0:34:130:34:16

but he's generally very well-tempered.

0:34:160:34:18

Be better if he was in Australia, he'd be more well-behaved in the sunshine.

0:34:180:34:22

-Do you think?

-Yeah.

0:34:220:34:23

I think it'd be great for him.

0:34:230:34:25

-JACK MOANS

-Do you agree?

0:34:250:34:28

I don't think he does.

0:34:280:34:29

From first impressions, it seems Andy is still keen to make a better life for his family in Australia,

0:34:290:34:36

and Keira still has her doubts.

0:34:360:34:37

But Jack has become their top priority.

0:34:370:34:41

Not much has changed in the house over the last 12 months,

0:34:410:34:44

cos we've had our hands full with a little baby, but, um...

0:34:440:34:47

soon as we got back from Darwin,

0:34:470:34:48

the first thing I did was sort his little nursery out.

0:34:480:34:51

And this is it.

0:34:510:34:53

Dab hand at the DIY now.

0:34:530:34:55

Yeah. It's a bit blue, but...

0:34:550:34:57

HE LAUGHS What do you expect with a boy?

0:34:570:34:59

It's all right. I'd prefer it to be red.

0:34:590:35:02

Jack may have taken over their lives,

0:35:020:35:04

but thoughts of Australia are still at the forefront of their minds.

0:35:040:35:09

I was quite surprised that I liked it so much.

0:35:110:35:16

Um, didn't think I would and... I really was hoping that I wouldn't.

0:35:160:35:21

It's quite big.

0:35:210:35:22

It's my ideal...of a home.

0:35:220:35:28

I think the life for the baby would definitely be better here

0:35:280:35:31

than it is back at home.

0:35:310:35:33

Um, saw the family-and-friends DVD and was devastated for the whole day.

0:35:330:35:38

Cos I don't think you realise...

0:35:380:35:40

until you think about it that way,

0:35:400:35:42

what you're giving up.

0:35:420:35:44

Um, I know it's a fabulous place,

0:35:440:35:47

and they've got a lot to offer, for young families in particular,

0:35:470:35:52

but I think family and friends are a lot more important

0:35:520:35:57

-and they play a... They will play a key role in Jack's upbringing.

-Hmm.

0:35:570:36:01

It does bring it home, the family and friends,

0:36:010:36:04

and now I've had the baby,

0:36:040:36:06

that family-and-friends network has been invaluable really.

0:36:060:36:10

We've just had him christened,

0:36:100:36:12

and 100 people turned up to the ceremony, so that brings it home -

0:36:120:36:15

how important the family and friends are, really.

0:36:150:36:18

But I'm still looking at the best thing for him,

0:36:180:36:20

and I think the best thing for him is still to be over there, long-term.

0:36:200:36:24

I don't regret going for, um... For the UK.

0:36:240:36:28

But I still want to give it a go at some point if I can.

0:36:280:36:31

I think if I pushed a little bit too much now,

0:36:310:36:33

you'd probably find me with concrete boots on, wouldn't you?

0:36:330:36:37

-SHE LAUGHS

-Don't think they're too keen on me taking their daughter away,

0:36:370:36:40

and the grandson as well now.

0:36:400:36:42

Obviously that's made things a little bit... A bit More...

0:36:420:36:45

Iffy, I suppose.

0:36:470:36:48

-Iffy!

-Couldn't say what I was going to say.

0:36:480:36:50

Thought better of it.

0:36:530:36:55

It's Keira's strong family ties which, at the moment,

0:36:550:36:59

are keeping the Roberts in the UK.

0:36:590:37:02

And with their own family growing, those bonds are even stronger.

0:37:020:37:07

Especially those between grandson and grandmother.

0:37:070:37:11

If it was what they wanted to do, then obviously, I would have accepted it, but...

0:37:110:37:15

I was really, really pleased when they decided not to go.

0:37:150:37:18

It's just too far away.

0:37:180:37:20

And I wouldn't have had all these cuddles with the new baby, would I?

0:37:200:37:24

Mum's been a godsend with Jack.

0:37:240:37:27

I think it would have been very difficult to do it without her.

0:37:290:37:34

You'd have coped, it just wouldn't have been the same, I don't think.

0:37:340:37:38

-No.

-You know, cos she is a coper, Keira.

0:37:380:37:42

And it just would have been different.

0:37:420:37:45

That's, you know... that's what it would have been.

0:37:450:37:47

She said, if she could shovel everyone up

0:37:470:37:50

and take everybody with her,

0:37:500:37:53

so that's what I'd have to do as well.

0:37:530:37:55

We'd have to shovel... We'd all have to go.

0:37:550:37:58

So...

0:37:590:38:00

-We could all go, couldn't we?

-Yeah.

0:38:000:38:02

But that's the only... I'm really close to my family as well, so...

0:38:020:38:07

And I know it's... It might sound daft to some people,

0:38:070:38:10

you know, letting that impact on the rest of your life,

0:38:100:38:13

but I think family's really important.

0:38:130:38:15

If it was something that they really wanted to do,

0:38:150:38:18

then obviously, you know, we'd support them in it.

0:38:180:38:20

Of course we would.

0:38:200:38:21

We'd just cry the whole time they were there.

0:38:210:38:24

With baby Jack's arrival,

0:38:260:38:28

Keira has come to truly appreciate the invaluable help

0:38:280:38:31

and support of her family.

0:38:310:38:33

If the Roberts are ever to start a new life in Australia,

0:38:330:38:36

Andy once again has his work cut out persuading Keira to make the move.

0:38:360:38:41

You do realise that you can't be forcing things onto her

0:38:410:38:46

and you do realise that you've got to...

0:38:460:38:48

You know, you're in a marriage, you've got to share and share alike.

0:38:480:38:51

He's, you know...he's my husband and he's there to support me, so...

0:38:510:38:55

Um...

0:38:550:38:56

Although he was probably disappointed, yeah.

0:38:560:38:58

Um...

0:38:580:39:00

He understands the reasoning behind it.

0:39:000:39:03

I was disappointed, very disappointed really,

0:39:050:39:08

that it was something we weren't going to end up doing,

0:39:080:39:11

but it wasn't unexpected.

0:39:110:39:12

So...

0:39:120:39:14

I wasn't gutted and I don't think I regret it,

0:39:140:39:16

the fact that we're not over there now, but...

0:39:160:39:19

it's still something I'd like to do.

0:39:190:39:20

He talks about Australia a lot.

0:39:200:39:22

Yeah, um...

0:39:230:39:25

When it's a bit dull outside or...

0:39:250:39:27

when we're doing something, he's says things like,

0:39:270:39:32

"Well, if it was in Australia it wouldn't be raining," or...

0:39:320:39:36

Just little sly digs. Quite... quite a lot of the time.

0:39:360:39:40

Generations of my family have been within a radius of five miles,

0:39:400:39:43

and I always thought it was a bit depressing, to be honest.

0:39:430:39:46

There's a big world out there, and you've got to go out

0:39:460:39:49

and experience as much as you can before you don't have a chance to.

0:39:490:39:52

I'd still, even in the future, I'd need that support to come with me.

0:39:520:39:58

I couldn't just do it with me and Andy on our own.

0:39:580:40:02

You do only get one chance in life and...

0:40:020:40:05

I don't want to look back on my life when I'm on my deathbed

0:40:050:40:08

and think, "I could have done that and didn't."

0:40:080:40:11

Um...

0:40:110:40:12

And that bothers me more than anything else, really.

0:40:120:40:15

This moment in time, I'm just really enjoying Jack

0:40:150:40:19

and where we're at at this moment in our life,

0:40:190:40:23

and, um...

0:40:230:40:24

That's what I'm thinking about at the moment,

0:40:240:40:27

and maybe Australia can come in the future.

0:40:270:40:30

Um...

0:40:300:40:31

Maybe it won't.

0:40:310:40:32

I don't know. It's something we really need to talk about further down the line, I think.

0:40:320:40:36

Keira seems certain that she could not make the move down under

0:40:360:40:40

without her family,

0:40:400:40:41

but Andy's mind is still full of ideas of emigration.

0:40:410:40:44

When it comes to making their final vote,

0:40:440:40:47

which way will they go?

0:40:470:40:49

I really loved Australia and...

0:40:500:40:54

you know, in the long-run, I would like to move over there.

0:40:540:40:58

But based on, um... Well, knowing that my family and friends...

0:40:580:41:02

I couldn't just shovel them up and take them with me,

0:41:020:41:06

my vote goes to the UK.

0:41:060:41:08

ANDY INHALES

0:41:080:41:10

As Keira says, a lot of things have changed over the last 12 months.

0:41:100:41:15

And it puts a lot of focus on family, having a new baby boy.

0:41:150:41:19

Um...

0:41:190:41:20

But my ambition to go to Australia still remains though.

0:41:200:41:24

But, um, I'm more happy

0:41:240:41:27

with the fact that we are in the UK.

0:41:270:41:29

But having said that, I'm going to go for...

0:41:310:41:33

Australia.

0:41:330:41:35

SHE GIGGLES

0:41:350:41:37

I knew you'd do that.

0:41:370:41:38

The thing is, it's where you would like to be.

0:41:380:41:41

And it's where you would like to be in the future,

0:41:410:41:44

is why I voted for Australia.

0:41:440:41:45

When I voted the UK originally,

0:41:450:41:47

that was because I knew it was too hard for Keira at that time.

0:41:470:41:51

So it was a vote at that specific moment in time.

0:41:510:41:55

But I would still like to go over there.

0:41:550:41:57

It's not the end of the rainbow, by any means.

0:41:570:42:00

It's not what a lot of people make out, but...

0:42:000:42:02

I'd still like to be there.

0:42:020:42:04

But having said that,

0:42:040:42:05

I am happy to be here, I'm not gutted that we're not there.

0:42:050:42:09

But I still harbour some dreams.

0:42:090:42:12

I'm just glad that Andy's understanding

0:42:120:42:16

and know exactly where my thoughts are.

0:42:160:42:20

And knows why, um...

0:42:200:42:23

You know, what's holding me back. I would go there

0:42:230:42:27

if other people agreed to go there with me.

0:42:270:42:31

So I'm not going to budge on that one.

0:42:310:42:33

It's amazing how you'll follow your brothers and sisters,

0:42:330:42:36

but you won't follow your husband.

0:42:360:42:38

The Roberts have not yet made the move to Australia,

0:42:410:42:44

and it seems their dream is on hold for the time being.

0:42:440:42:49

The arrival of baby Jack

0:42:490:42:50

might just be enough of a life-altering change for now.

0:42:500:42:55

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:43:030:43:06

E-mail subtitling@bbc.co.uk

0:43:060:43:09

Andy Roberts and pregnant wife Keira from Wigan were desperate to escape the daily grind in the UK in 2009. They spent a week in Australia to see what life there could offer them but, one year later, are they raising their first child as an Australian or are they still in the UK?