Since 1945 more than six million people from across the world have come to Australia to live. Today, more than 20 per cent of Australians are foreign born and more than 40 per cent are of mixed cultural origin.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Shopping & Money

Well, it's been a while since my last post, so apologies for that. I hope this moan will satisfy your appetite for reading what a driveling Welshman has to say about "stuff"

So I've been thinking about this one for a while and think that I'm now qualified to cast an opinion. Of course I would.

I'm hoping not so become just a huge whinger about how things are different in Australia to the UK, so I want to just say in advance that I'm aiming to make most of what I write actually use full to know, if your thinking about the move. Just because things are different does not mean they're bad. whether you think they're bad is a choice for you to make.

I've called the post Shopping and Money but depending on how I go here, I might need to do a separate Money post.

There are differences, little quirks, shall we say.

I remember when I first visited Australia, looking like a complete fool while out shopping. I can't remember what I was buying, but I took my item to the checkout, (let's say it was $9.98) payed the young lady with $10 note, and proceeded to stand at the the checkout with my hand open, awaiting my 2c change.

which was greeted with "Is that all today?"

Embarrassment quickly followed as I realised you don't get 2c change, as they either round up, or round down. Idiot.

Grocery shopping is the same but......different.

I never thought I'd say this but.........I miss Tescos

I think the issue lies in the distance between everything here. There are two main supermarkets here. Coles Supermarket, and Woolworths Supermarket.

Over here you'll notice that where there's a town or even a large suburb, there'll be a shopping centre of some description. At ones of theses shopping centres, there will be a Coles, a Woolworths or both. Possibly other supermarkets too like Superbarn, Aldi, and IGA (in smaller areas and suburbs) IGA is more like Spar in the UK...small and expensive.

Because these centres are all indoor areas, there is limited space for Supermarkets to occupy in them.

The result? Not being able to pass a large woman blocking the Isle. I feel stressed while in one of these supermarkets (More that usual)

The isles are often pretty narrow, there're usually quite dark, (Not sure why) and there is NO room at the checkouts for more that two trolleys to queue at one time.

Also, don't believe that everything is cheaper, because it's quite simply not true. Food is just as expensive to buy here as it is in the UK if not more so. I mad e the mistake of trying to work out how much a pack of biscuits would be in pounds and pence to see the difference, until I realised, there is just no point. There's advice for you in there. Don't go around thinking "Ooohhh that's expensive in pounds" What does it matter? If your here and your earning dollars, and spending dollars, there's no point working out how much it "would be" in pounds.

There are a few things however you will pay more for in Australia.

It's now known that a Australians are being ripped off for a few things more than other countries in the world.

Power bills are one of them.

"Australian households are shelling out 130 per cent more for power than Canadians and 70 per cent more than Americans, according to new research."

Electronic items are another one. It seems even though a lot of electronic equipment comes from Asia, which geographically is pretty close, when it does arrive, it is more expensive than what it's sold for in the US or the UK.

There may be a good reason for this but for the life of me, I can't find it.

Another thing your going to hear is the famous Ozzy "Lay-by"

I'll make it simple, you want something in the shop. You cant afford it. Lay-By it.

Not all shops do this I might add. It basically means you put it aside in the shop and it's reserved for you. You then need just pay a deposit. After that you just make payments (However much you like) on it until the full balance is paid and you can take it. All interest free. The only thing is they give you a date in which you must pay the whole amount by or you loose your deposit (And don't get your item).

There is much more I had to say on the issue of shopping but it seems to have all evaded me.

If I do think of anything else that's noteworthy ill be sure to add it. Make sure you comment if there's anything you want to ask!

Friday, 10 February 2012


So I thought I'd write a post about driving. Not sue why, but most people do it and there are some things you might need to know about driving in Australia. You wouldn't think there are many differences, and they’re not really, but the few things there are you'll notice, and some things that could be useful know.

I mentioned before that getting you Australian drivers licence is quite easy if you have other documentation for ID. It’s usually a straight swap. If you hold a full UK licence, then you’ll fill in a form and get your new Australian license within the hour. This process applies to most European countries too. If you are from a country on the list of approved countries you can simply swap it without having to do any form of driving test. If your country id not on this list, you may need to do a theory and/or practical assement before you get your licence.

The list of approved countries can be found here:

These are specifically for the Australian Capital Territory but will almost certainly the same for other Australian states.

The only test you will need to do is a quick eye test, which is done at the counter in the offices where you get your licence.

I think they are supposed to take your UK licence off you, but I got mine back. I’m not sure about this but it’s handy to have my UK one as well for when I go back to visit.

Ok, so if you’re coming over as a family and your kids are needing to learn to drive, there are other rules that apply. Learning over here is much the same, same things covered etc. The slight difference is that learner drivers in Australia must do a set amount of supervised driving hours. So in New South Wales for example, have to first pass a Driver Knowledge test to gain a Learners' Permit. (a learner licence) You can't take a driving test until you have held the Learners' permit for 12 months and logged 120 hours of supervised driving, including 20 hours of night driving. That’s a lot of hours. After this you can apply for your test (theory and practical)

So if your kids do pass this, they are then put on “P Plates” or a provisional licence for 3 years. This will mean they cannot drive any car without having P’s stuck to the front and back. That’s a major difference to the UK where you can pass on the day and go off driving as soon as your full licence arrives in the post.

Ok well enough about learning, let’s get on to driving. You’ll quite quickly notice that there are a lot or damn ugly looking cars. Not sure why, but damn they’re ugly! A lot of cars seem to be American in style, i.e., they have none. Having said this there are some good looking cars. You’ll also notice that European cars are quite rare in comparison to Japanese, Chinese, Korean, and all Asian car brands. This isn’t surprising considering how close they are to these countries and it’s what you’d expect.  Also, European cars are a heap more expensive in Australia, as you’d expect from having to import them for further away. Common sense.

The other thing you’ll notice is that every other car in Australia is either a V6 or a V8. They love their big cars. 3 to 6 litres seems to be the norm, and mostly rear wheel drive. A few you’ll see everywhere, Ford Falcons and its arch enemy the Holden (Vauxhall) Commodore. Both available in the good old aussie “ute” (Utility vehicle)

And another thing...every other person seems to own a trailer. I’ve never in my life seen so many trailers. What’s more it’s quite un nerving following a car towing a trailor at 110Kmh with the entire contents of theirs home held on with what looks like dental floss. My advice? PASS IT as soon as you can!

The roads over here always seem to be littered with what used to be someone’s bed side table, DVD cabinet, or garden furniture. Some of the things I’ve managed to swerve around so far were an outdoor bin (just yesterday) bags of garden waste, half a tree and more worrying two concrete breeze blocks casually lying in the middle of the road. You’ve been warned! 

I think this is due to the fact that given the lack of rain they don’t need vans. Tradesmen all have Utes, (Google it) where in the UK they’d have a Transit.

A good point (or possibly bad point) in Australia, they have no MOT’s. Now you know what I mean by possible bad point. They do have vehicle inspections but they are not compulsory once a year.

When you buy a car, you as the buyer are responsible for getting it inspected before you can get it registered in your name. No pass, no registration. So you REALLY need to make sure you don’t buy a lemon, or it could be expensive or even useless for you. On the bright side, once you own the car, you don’t need to get it inspected for the life of the car, unless your the lucky winner of the inspection lottery. This is where when your Rego (Tax disk) is ready for renewal, you could be picked randomly for a vehicle inspection. Then you’ll have to go over the pits before you get you new one (if it passes)

Another quick point, Third party insurance is built in to your Rego (Tax disk) but only Third Party. You need to get insurance from a company for anything more and it is very advisable, and compared to the UK, dirt cheap.

Australian cops take speeding very seriously. Same kind of punishment, points and a fine except in Australia, you start with all your points and have them taken off your licence instead of having none and having them added. They’re call de-merit points. End up with none left and bye bye licence. They will also run “Double de-merit” weekends. These fall on public holidays, where if you get caught speeding or anything else driving wise on those weekends they take double the points off your licence. You’ve been warned J. Don’t expect speed cameras to be painted Yellow either, they’re not.

Un-official road rules

If you need to pull out and pass it. In the UK you’ll regularly get people flashing their lights at you to let you in if you want to pull out. This does NOT happen in Australia. So don’t put on your indicator and look in the mirror waiting for the flash, it won’t come. You go!

It also seems that the amount of space is irrelevant. You will get people pulling out between you and the car that’s 8 inches in front of you at the time.

Trucks don’t care, trucks in the UK are limited to 60mph. I think they are limited in Australia but it doesn’t seem like it.  They will pass you with a double trailer at 130kmh (80mph) and not think anything of it. They are also HUGE.

Another rule that seems to be compulsory is on a wet night you must take out your rear wheel drive, 6 litre V8 and proceed to do doughnuts around quiet roundabouts, or burnouts at every intersection or street corner. It’s the rules. You’ll find the tell tale long black, slightly swervy or even round skid marks the morning after on the way to work. 

Ok so I think I’ve covered the basics at least. There is a lot more information out there about the important legal stuff, and rules change from state to state so you’ll need to do your own research for where your planning to live.

 Feel free to comment below with your comment if you live here already or you have any questions.

 Ciao for now.

Friday, 3 February 2012


So I thought I'd write a post about my experience with renting property in Oz, and how it differs with renting in the UK.

In my experience with renting in the UK the process all seems quite layed back. In Australia it's a little more sturdy in its approach.

I rented in the UK for about 6 years. Two different property's, and between them I didn't have one inspection. Maybe this was just me, I cant speak for anyon else's experience.

In Australia, the process is much more strict. Finding a property was relatively easy for our needs. We were looking for a decent size 3 bedroom place.

It's worth pointing out that the first thing that's different is the way in which you view a property. In the UK you'll phone the agent and arrange a viewing. In Australia there are set days and times a property is "open"

There will be ad's on websites, or in the paper telling you when it is open for inspection, so on these days, everyone who is interested in the property will converge on the place. Depending on how desirable the property is, you might need to fight your way through the front door. After that the agent will get you to sign your name and details on a register. This is mainly so they can call you in a few days and try to get you move in. Anyways, if you like it and are interested then the agent will have application forms there at the property so you can take one home and fill it in. You'll need to fill one in each if your a couple.

The form will usually ask you things like your details...(obviously) and what you do for a job, and how much you make. You will need to provide all sorts of ID so get photocopying. Driver's licence (Not sure if a UK one will do if you don't have your Australian one yet) Payslips, bank statement, bills etc. As you can tell, if you've just landed some of this can be a problem as you may not have any of it.

So once you've got all the paperwork together you can go ahead and submit it to the agent. They will collect all of the applications and hand them over to the owners of the property. They will then decide who they'd prefer to move in, and if your successful then you'll get the call and you can move in on an agreed date.

Before you move in though you'll need to do a bit more paperwork. The agents will give you two copies of a property report, which outlines the the condition of the property when you move in, all the way down to marks on the walls, how many picture hooks there are at the property and if everything works, and how clean it is. What the law actually says is;

"The landlord (or agent) is obliged to give you 2 copies of a completed ‘Condition of Premises Report’ (also referred to as an ‘inventory’) within 1 day of moving in. You must return a copy of this form within 2 weeks, indicating your agreement or disagreement with the report or parts of the report (STT 22). The report details the state of repair of the property and lists rooms and fittings."

Check the report very carefully and write down details of any marks on the walls, stains on the carpet, faulty equipment, damage etc. The report will be used as evidence at the end of the tenancy if there are any disputes. It is best to be thorough and take photographs (even video) of the condition of the premises when you move in.
If the landlord/agent doesn't give you a report to fill in, then do one of your own as soon as possible after moving in.  If you don’t agree with their condition report make sure you have made your own observations clear in the report and make a copy to keep for yourself before you return a copy to them.

Things could get ugly if there is a dispute about if there was a stain on the carpet before or after you moved in etc. It's easier to get it all written down and reported so when you leave the property there is no dispute.

So once you sign your life away and of course pay your bond (4 weeks rent in advance) your good to move in.

A point about the bond - Your bond cannot be more than 4 weeks rent. By law they also have to give you a receipt. Your bond is lodged with the "Office of Regulatory Services" So they hold your money and not the landlord or agent.

Feel free to share you renting experiences with us here if you like, everyone's experience is different I guess but the foundations are the same.

For more information on renting you can visit the Tenants Union website here;

This is aimed at the ACT so other states may have different rules and regulations.

Until next time!

Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Land of inventors

Stumbled across this and thought I'd share it, I'm sure the Kiwi's will try to claim some of these....I hear there's and issue over who invented the Pavlova?? I'll leave that to you to work out

Australians invented notepads (1902), the surf lifesaving reel (1906), aspirin (1915), the pacemaker (1926), penicillin (1940) the Hills Hoist clothesline (1946), the plastic disposable syringe (1949), the wine cask (1965), the bionic ear (1978), dual-flush toilet flush (1980) anti-counterfeiting technology for banknotes (1992) and long-wearing contact lenses (1999).

Who'd have thought ey?

Monday, 30 January 2012


Well....two words......GET FOXTEL!

I don't mean to sound like a big moan, maybe its just annoying for me but ill let you judge.

Tv is terrible here. And I'm not really even exaggerating. Digital is still in it relative infancy. Not many channels, and the ones they do have seem wasted on showing the worst in TV shows of the last 30 years. Brady Bunch? Maybe a little Yes Prime Minister? How about Happy Days, Bewitched, or perhaps a bit of McGyver? These aren't on a dedicated old program channel. They're just on.

Not only this but if you have any sort of recording device, set it to record for at least 30mins after program is set to finish. All channels seem to not care about keeping to program schedules. They'd rather just put adverts in. This is a huge pain when you set your favourite program to record, only to find when your getting to the end, and you cant wait to see who the killer was, or what happened to the nice lady next door....BAM, it stops. You'll just never know.

Just to throw another one at you, PREPARE for "Harvey Norman" adverts. You will know what I mean. They are the most annoying audio-visual event since the creation of Glee.
All of a sudden theres a man screaming at you through the TV, urging you to hurry in right now and buy a coffee machine. Sometimes, they can fit in 3-4 of these same ads in one break. And it drives me MAD!

In-between these they might get 2-3 "Domayne" adverts in, which are equally as sickening.

In th UK, TV stations are allowed to show 7 Mins of adverts every hour. In Australia they are allowed to show 14 mins of adverts every hour. TWICE as many adverts!

One more thing, the half decent programs they have are from the U.S
Nothing wrong with that, except 2 weeks after the series has finished, the same series in on AGAIN.

If you dont like crime, dont watch TV, you'll only get CSI, CSI New York, Miami, Hollywood, San Fransisco, Chicago, Iowa, Ontario and on and on. To compete the other channels shows 6 different versions of SVU, while the others show all the Law & Orders, The Mentalist, Castle, Ghost lady detective, Pet detective, and on it goes.

Having said all of this, this stuff is mostly the commercial channels. Ten, Seven, channel 9/WIN.

I must say that SBS and sometimes the ABC show really interesting stuff, more along the lines of documentaries which are a huge relief from the other crap that's on all the other channels.

Channel 7 just cant work the TV equipment.

Every night I come home and watch channel 7 news, only to find EVERY time it comes back from the Ad break, the guy in the control room just cant seem to get the news on in time so I catch the first 6 words the news reader says.

You'll hate watching sport too. Seriously. So your watching your new favourite sport of Rugby League and lets say the try of the century is scored. Your watching, waiting for the replay, and BAM......A god dammed Harvey Norman ad comes on. Aaaaarrgh! SHOW ME THE REPLAY!

There will be another post about sport coming soon. I can't wait.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Its Australia Day!

So its Australia Day today and everyone is celebrating. Mainly by going to some kind of concert and getting totally smashed. Needless to say probably half the workforce will throw a sickie tomorrow and take the long long weekend they deserve.

I came across this doing the rounds today so I thought Id post it here for you to read and probably have a laugh! Happy Australia Day!

YOU KNOW YOU'RE AUSTRALIAN WHEN: You believe that stubbies can either be drunk or worn. You've made a bong out of your garden hose rather than use it for something illegal such as watering the garden. You understand that the phrase 'a group of women wearing black thongs' refers to footwear and may be less alluring than... it sounds. You pronounce Melbourne as 'Mel-bin'. You believe the 'l' in the word 'Australia' is optional. You can translate: 'Dazza and Shazza played Acca Dacca on the way to Maccas'. You call your best friend 'a total bastard' but someone you really, truly despise is just 'a bit of a bastard'. You think 'Woolloomooloo' is a perfectly reasonable name for a place. You're secretly proud of our killer wildlife. You believe it makes sense for a country to have a $1 coin that's twice as big as its $2 coin. You understand that 'Wagga Wagga' can be abbreviated to 'Wagga' but 'Woy Woy' can't be called 'Woy'. You believe that cooked down axle grease makes a good breakfast spread - you've squeezed it through Vita Wheats to make little Vegemite worms. You believe all famous Kiwis are actually Australian, until they stuff up,at which point they again become Kiwis. Beetroot with your Hamburger... of course! You know that certain words must, by law, be shouted out during any rendition of the Angels' song 'Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again' And 'Living next door to Alice'. You wear ugg boots outside the house. You believe that every important discovery in the world was made by an Australian but then sold off for a pittance. You believe that the more you shorten someone's name the more you like them. Whatever your linguistic skills, you find yourself able to order takeaway fluently in every Asian language. You understand that 'excuse me' can sound rude, While 'scuse me' is always polite. You know what it's like to swallow a fly, on occasion via your nose. You know it's not summer until the steering wheel is too hot to handle and a seat belt buckle becomes a pretty good branding iron. Your biggest family argument over the summer concerned the rules for beach cricket. You shake your head in horror when companies try to market what they call 'Anzac Cookies'. You still think of Kylie as 'that girl off Neighbours'. When working in a bar, you understand male customers will feel the need to offer an excuse whenever they order low-alcohol beer. You know how to abbreviate every word, all of which usually end in "o": arvo, combo, garbo, kero, lezzo, metho, milko, muso, rego, servo, smoko, speedo, righto, goodo etc... You know that there is a universal place called 'woop woop' located in the middle of nowhere, no matter where you actually are! You know that none of us actually drink Fosters beer, because it tastes like piss. You sleep with Aeroguard on in the summer and don't mind it as a perfume. You've only ever used the words - tops, ripper, sick, mad, sweet, to mean "good" and when you place 'bloody' in front of it then you really mean it. You know that the barbecue is a political arena. You say 'no worries' quite often, whether you realise it or not. You understand what no wucking furries means. You've drank your tea/coffee/milo through a Tim Tam. You've given your kids wheet-bix and milk for dinner when you can't be naffed. You own a Bond's chesty - in several different colors. You know that some people pronounce Australia like "Straya" and that's ok. And you will immediately forward this list to other Australians, here and overseas, realising that only they will understand! Aussie Aussie Aussie.!!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

If your wondering roughly how big Australia is, and how far away everything is, well...this is your answer.