We Now Call Australia HomeCulture | May 23, 2013
By Mischeline King
Pat and Malcolm Howe or ‘Nanna and Pop’ as I know them, originate from the old town of Gateshead in England but now call Australia home. They share their story on what it was like as a young couple with a family to move half way around the world.
“In Gateshead we lived in a tight knit community where everyone knew everyone. All the kids in the street went to school together and played together after school or if we were at work. That’s the kind of lifestyle we were used to, but we wanted a change,” they said.
“When we were in our early thirties we decided to leave Gateshead… there was something more appealing about Australia, we saw it as the land of opportunity, especially for a young family. It was financially beneficial. Malcolm already had a brother here living in New South Wales, he was well established over here and it was proving a better way of life for his family, so that’s where we decided to go,” Pat said.
“We gained full-time work after 6 weeks of being here in Australia, which we found to be rather quick, as the employment opportunity back home was not as great. That’s where we began developing friendships through work colleagues and started establishing ourselves. Our two daughters; Melanie and Madeleine, who were in their early teens at the time, began schooling and began making the transition to the Australian way of life. The girls found it a bit harder than we did, but we are just happy that the Australian people we met were so kind and helpful,” they said.
“We did of course find it hard to leave England; I was leaving behind two sisters, and the girls their Aunties, Pat said. So we were quite homesick for the first two years or so.” Although coming from a European background they found the culture to be somewhat similar to that here in Australia. “We spoke the same language which was good, was easy for us to simulate, the schooling system was very similar to schooling back home, which gradually made the transition easier for the girls.”
Overall they both agree that the move down under was a success. “We just wanted to provide a better family lifestyle. We are retired now, but we worked the whole time since moving here and we were fortunate enough to have jobs that provided a good home lifestyle for our family, which we may have not got if we stayed in England. We owned our own home: put the girls through school and then Melanie through University. We gave our family every opportunity for a better family lifestyle, whereas some people don’t have that opportunity back home. It was definitely worth the move.”
“We are so appreciative of Australia and the opportunities we’ve had here, that we wanted to share our story with the Australian people. We think it is a great country and we have led a great life here, so this is just our way of saying thank you.”