When someone says “Australians in London” to me, it tends to conjure images of backpackers in their early 20s who enjoy nothing more than drinking beers at the Walkabout, listening to pub rock at The Church and dossing on their mate’s couches.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I’m not that way and nor are a lot of other Australians I know who live here.
I arrived in London during the freezing fog of Christmas 2006. I’d always wanted to live overseas and this was my second – thankfully successful – attempt to establish myself here. Like most of the people quoted below, for me London turned out to be more complex and challenging but also more exciting and rewarding than I ever could have expected. I really love it here now and feel incredibly lucky to live in London.
I asked around to see what drew some of my fellow countrypeople to London. Here’s what they said:
For many visitors travelling from Australia, London provides a fantastic base from which to explore Europe. Like many, I came for this reason, but found myself falling in love with the city itself. Constantly changing and always exciting, I find myself increasingly addicted to London’s lifestyle. While my European travels have slowed down, my love affair with London continues, and six years later I feel lucky to call it my home.
Rebecca, PR Manager, Uxbridge (ex-Sydney)
I moved to London since it’s an exciting city and, cause of cheap airlines, a great hub for the rest of Europe. I stay because the things I want to do seem easier to do here and more things happen all the time. Also the fried chicken. <– not really.
Jan, Graphic Novellist, Holloway (ex-Melbourne)
I moved to London because I was bored stiff of living somewhere where I’d not met anyone new in years and years, that never got any big bands or interesting theatre, and that was too damned hot (Perth). I’ve been here 10 years now and I love London for the culture, the huge number of things that are happening every evening, every weekend. The variety of restaurants and bars. But most of all, the sense that anything can happen, the possibilities, the buzz.
Julia, Web Developer, Walthamstow (ex-Perth)
I came to have a change from Sydney, to get some overseas experience and to travel Europe as much as I can. I stayed for the weather.
Ari, IT Contractor, Kentish Town (ex-Sydney)
I moved to London in 2002 in search of brighter horizons and new experiences. My choice to leave Australia was a good one; I fell in love, not only with the close proximity of the world, but also with a beautiful English boy with gentle ways. Not to mention a beautiful city where each season greets you in turn with typically English ways — Pimm’s and bikinis in the park at the merest hint of sun in summer; turning, falling leaves of magnificent plane trees in the autumn; if you’re very lucky, snow and work-free days in the winter; and daffodils and tulips in the spring.
Robyn, Office Manager, Earslfield (Ex-Brisbane)
I didn’t give much thought to why when I decided to pack up and go – it was simply a new frontier, and something to do that could offer a great launch pad for more travel. Since I’ve been here I have realised that London offers so much opportunity, from work to entertainment and everything else that is on the cards with a big city full of a vibrant mix of people. Having been here for 3-and-a-half years, I still have no plans to return.
Penny, Journalist, Dalston (ex-Sydney/Brisbane)
There are so many people in London, and that means that there is a wide range of art, music, architecture, sport, dining, hobbies and activities… It gives London an exciting urgency and cultural awareness that no other city in the world can match.
John, Project Manager, Holloway Road, (ex-Hobart)
Moved to London for work, didn’t want to come. Felt at home from day one. I love how there is always something new to discover or a new place to visit in London; unfamiliar parts of London make you think you’re in a completely different city. And the English’s amazing appreciation of good weather.
Georgie, Banker, Islington, (ex-Sydney)
I moved to London by accident. Leaving Sydney four years ago in search of adventure, the last thing I thought I wanted was to end up in London, which seemed the safe and drab option. I’ve surprised myself by the extent to which I’ve fallen for this city – I’ve even bought a house here! All of life is here, as they say, and I’m proud to be part of it.
Iain, Editor, Tottenham (ex-Perth/Sydney)
Are you an Australian in London? Tell us about it!