Coming home?

RiotFrog 10 September 2010 14

Greeting Rioters,

long time reader, very occasional poster here.

I may in the position soon where I will have the opportunity to move back to Canberra after about 10 years of living in the UK (near London). Has anyone else made a similar move? If so, how was it?

Will I still like Canberra after so long? How much has it changed? Has the UK ‘spoiled’ it for me?

I’d love to get peoples thoughts and opinions on the subject.

Thanks in advance!

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14 Responses to Coming home?
Drzaius Drzaius 7:01 pm 12 Sep 10

farnarkler said :

embilly, I’m here for family reasons, that’s all. Regardless of your opinion of me lets face facts; Canberra is generally a more lifeless place to be than comparably sized cities in South East UK.

riotfrog might be able to go from the bright lights of London and surrounds to the candle light of Canberra easily. Good luck to them if they can. I’m just telling riotfrog the things they will be doing without moving back here.

I totally agree. Good luck to you! Every friend of mine who has been overseas is so utterly depressed on return to Canberra. The main upset is the lifelessness. They go to a real city and then come back to this dead place; no population density whatsoever. Be prepared for fruitless trips to the city to experience some atmosphere. Just recently I visited Garema Place in the middle of the day on a weekend and I saw about 10 people. But hey, some people like that. It will be a rude shock after London though. All the best.

RiotFrog RiotFrog 7:43 am 11 Sep 10

Thanks for all the great replies!
Pretty much what I expected, but it’s good to hear it straight from the source.

I have visited Canberra a few times in the past 10 years, so I have seen some of the changes. I keep wondering, for example, when are they going to stop building more suburbs?!?

I did grow up in Canberra so it still feels like home, but admittedly quite small and ‘slow’ as you might expect, compared to London. 🙂

beh1972 beh1972 11:56 pm 10 Sep 10

My wife has just migrated to Canberra from the UK (Edinburgh) in the last year. And these are the main points I’m hearing.

Bad – internet speed, lack of competition in shopping, no IKEA, amount of road kill, our buses run every 30 minutes compared to 10, and most of our TV adverts are half ars’d efforts made by a shop jnr holding a camcorder.

Good – cheap wine, weather, the Bay beaches are usable compared to the Firth of Forth, public access to beaches and parks, no 930 am overcast sunrises with 1530 sunsets, you can run a falcon station wagon here for less than 1.2 VW Polo

Mr Evil Mr Evil 11:39 pm 10 Sep 10

As others have already mentioned, you’ll be really amazed at some of the changes here.

Some of the new things that the others haven’t mentioned are the 100ft high Jim Morrison Memorial statue on top of Mt Ainslie, Maglev train linking Tuggeranong, Woden, Civic, Belconnen and Gunghalin (15mins to get from Tuggers to Gungers), 12 story high 9/11 Memorial light tower next to the lake on Black Mtn peninsula, new 24hr international terminal and freight hub at Canberra airport, multifunctionpolis on the outskirts of Queanbeyan, and the brand new $380million conference centre on the former Bruce Stadium site.

As Kate Carnell said – “Feel the Power of Canberra”.

no.6 no.6 9:08 pm 10 Sep 10

I agree with embilly …
practice the art of leaving regularly – it is a pleasant place – but if you are wanting a vibrant city – its not here –
yes, yes forget the burbs

I have lived in UK and Melbourne .. you adapt – its healthy to seek new stuff and experiment you can always go somewhere else if you hate it.

WonderfulWorld WonderfulWorld 8:09 pm 10 Sep 10

I’ve not been in that situation personally. Of my friends/family that did long stints in London, or nearby, and then returned, all struggled with the slow pace and lack of entertainment, transport etc and moved within 12-24 months to either Sydney or Melbourne. They remain quite happy there. I think it comes down to personal preferences and situations, single, married, age, tastes. I have lived in Canberra all my life, although have travelled (on short trips) extensively, to remote and city locations. The pace, transport, lifestyle etc of Canberra is something I love coming back to every time. Canberra has had visible changes over the past ten years that have modernised the place, but the lifestyle is the same. Although not quite as ‘country’ as it was once. We do get ‘festivals’ now, which are nothing like Glastonberry or the Big Day Out but pretty awesome in a Canberran way. 🙂

Krazee Krazee 2:06 pm 10 Sep 10

I lived in London for 8 years, before returning to Canberra 3 years ago.

Whilst I do miss some of the things about London, Canberra has other charms, a more relaxed lifestyle, plenty of activities going on – you just need to work a little bit harder at finding out about them – and yes the shopping is not as good – but I buy a lot of things over the internet.

Personally I was suprised at how little Canberra had changed in that time, my family lives in Perth and that place had really changed. Canberra’s population had only gone from ~250k to ~330K in that time, probably proportional but low in absolute numbers.

farnarkler farnarkler 1:05 pm 10 Sep 10

embilly, I’m here for family reasons, that’s all. Regardless of your opinion of me lets face facts; Canberra is generally a more lifeless place to be than comparably sized cities in South East UK.

riotfrog might be able to go from the bright lights of London and surrounds to the candle light of Canberra easily. Good luck to them if they can. I’m just telling riotfrog the things they will be doing without moving back here.

embilly embilly 12:17 pm 10 Sep 10

Hey, Farnarkler. You raise some good points. But aside from the disparaging comments (which may or may not be true) you make yourself sound like a bit of a loser, for if you hate this town so much, why on earth are you living here? Just makes you sound really pathetic, that’s all. Good luck with the misery n’ all that.

Riot frog, I have also recently returned from the UK (London) and while I struggled a bit, I do constantly remind myself of the things which make this town good. The people are open minded and generally friendly, it’s not always a huge struggle to travel around town (in comparison to catching the tube to work every day) and the outdoor lifestyle, as well as cafes, restaurants etc, make it a nice place to be.

I did, however, set myself a rule of getting out of Canberra regularly, to Sydney and Melbourne, to ensure I didn’t get too ‘stuck’ in a certain way of thinking, or view of the world. It really helped.

Other tip is avoid the ‘burbs if you can and try to live in the inner north or south, it makes the shift a little less extreme.

Good luck!!!!

farnarkler farnarkler 11:35 am 10 Sep 10

I lived in London from 1998 to 2008 and then returned to Canberra (lived here from 1976 to 1998 before that) and this place is an absolute dive and boring beyond belief.

Yay a few more buildings have gone up and I agree traffic isn’t as bad as South East UK but you will miss so much. Want decent concerts? Forget it. Want decent shopping? Forget it. Want to be able to go somewhere interesting for a weekend? Forget it. Want decent nightlife? Don’t make me laugh.

There is no argument that London has it’s downsides but the good outweighs the bad tenfold.

Rossco Downunder Rossco Downunder 11:10 am 10 Sep 10

I think the posts above are pretty spot-on. I’d add that Belconnen has been, and is being, changed almost beyond recognition. Many major buildings have been demolished and replaced. The mall is presently being joined to Lathlain St which will end Belconnen feeling like it has two halves.

But, I think there’s also a lot to be said for what hasn’t changed much. A long commute in Canberra is still only around half an hour. You might get to know the kids and the dog won’t bite you thinking you’re a stranger.

On the downside the rental market has an almost zero vacancy rate so rents are very high and there’s even been rental auctions. Buying is also very expensive but seems to remain a good investment. is probably the place to conduct your research.

Oh, and the beer is cold and the cars aren’t crappy little 1.x litre diesels.

Holden Caulfield Holden Caulfield 10:32 am 10 Sep 10

I lived in London for a year about 14 years ago. I actually really liked it when I came home. Okay, I wasn’t away for as long as you, but it was nice to be back and appreciate the simple things Canberra offers after having black-Underground-snot for a year!

And, if you’ve not been here for 10 years, then you will notice a lot of changes. There’s been heaps of development in the city in that time.

Hank Hank 10:00 am 10 Sep 10

You might get the Canberra blues but after a few months you’ll get over it and enjoy the new pace of life

M0les M0les 9:45 am 10 Sep 10

I lived in Cambridge for 2 years and Sydney for the same length of time. Both stints ended with me coming back to Canberra to great relief to myself.
I think you’ll be amazed at what’s happened in Civic and specifically the Canberra Centre and the Exchange area next to the ANU.

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