Moving to Sydney

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Moving to Sydney, Australia

July 2012

We are planning to move to Sydney and are looking for advice on neighborhoods and schools. We have been looking at Inner West (Marrickville)suburbs as they seem relatively more affordable, family friendly and a short commute to the CBD (office will be in Redfern). We have two children, 4 & 8 and need to have a quality and affordable catholic school in the neighborhood. We would like to have a 2-3 bedroom house with a yard, if possible. We hope to get by without a car. Any advice, recommendations or suggestions are greatly appreciated. Andrea

We lived in Sydney for 2 years, from 2005-2007, before we had kids. Since Redfern is located near the main train line, you will have a lot of options in terms of where to live. We lived in the Eastern Suburbs and LOVED it, but a house with a yard would have been pricey in that area. You might consider a 'semi', which is a duplex with two units and either a shared yard or a yard that is split in two. These are very common. Depending on exactly where you live, you can get by without a car, public transit is great. (And cars, even crappy used cars, are expensive in Australia). The rental housing market is competitive, and the system takes a bit getting used to ... generally, open houses happen on Saturdays, last 10-20 minutes, and then it is a mad dash across town to turn in your application for the unit at the property management office. I think you'd probably want a rental car for this step, just to help you get from one point to another quickly. I don't know about schools so I can't help you there. Note that each suburb is very tiny. An area the size of Berkeley would be about 10 different suburbs in Sydney, with difficult to distinguish borders in between. So keep that in mind when looking for housing. In the same general area as Marrackville are Glebe, Newton, and Leichhardt all of which would be great options as well. I have a million other suggestions, so please contact me offline if you want more information/advice! You will have a great time, we loved Sydney. Peggy

I spent 5 years in the inner west. Marrickville, well I lived in Earlwood for a while and my business was in Enmore. If you can move a bit closer to Newtown I think that you will be happier. How about Glebe or Summerhill a bit pricer but oh so much better. Go rent for 6 months and have a look around. I haven't lived in the inner west for some years now. We visit yearly and everything continues to change at a rapid pace so my info might be somewhat dated. Good luck with your move, Jacques

Hi ,

I didn't see the original post but wanted to share the key website for realestate/ rent etc in Sydney

you should be able to find neighbourhood reviews. ..someone mentioned redfern. Its a mixed neighbourhood. stay away from the redfern train station neighbourhood. about 10 or so blocks I think. Its not considered safe .

places in the city are tiny and expensive you can consider moving further away .

Here is the link to public transit

after you get over the original shock of prices sydney is a lovely place to live. It grows on you. Hope this helps

Jan 2004

Hi, My husband and I are thinking of moving to Australia for a year, to try our luck in finding computer related jobs. If you are an Australian, or have lived in Australia, could you tell me more or less what are the differences between life in Sydney and the Bay Area? Especially, do they have a public Kindergarten? And how do we find a job (newspaper, or Internet site)? Is the job market pretty good? Thank you very much! Laura

Unless you or your husband are Australian citizens or permanent residents, please do not move to Sydney in the hope of finding a job. You will be deported at the airport! Australian immigration like our own is very strict when it comes to tourists hoping to find work.

If you are in high tech and would like to work in Australia, there might be ways to do it but you need to go through the correct immigration procedure. This typically takes many months, a lot of paperwork, a lot of determination and a lot of luck. Good luck. Anon

Laura, My husband and I have lived in Sydney for 3 years before coming to the bay area a year and a half ago. My husband has an IT background, though he did not specifically work in IT at the time. However, he might have some ideas about finding a job and what the current situation looks like. We did not have a child at the time, but friends of mine have gone through the childcare system and I might be able to get you in touch with them. Please feel free to contact us at my e-mail address to have a chat about the specific issues you are interested in. hast

I lived in Sydney for 5 years, before I came to the Bay area and I really enjoyed my time there. The weather is fabulous, Sydney is just a beautiful city, the beaches terrific, restaurants wonderful. The IT industry tends to be centered around the suburbs of Ryde, Lane Cove, Frenchs Forest, St Leonards. This area is known as Sydney's lower North Shore. It's a beautiful area. Real estate there is super expensive but you can live out further and commute in. You could probably go online and hook up with a recruitment agency. The Sydney Morning Herald website is I worked in the IT industry the entire time I lived in Sydney and it was fun.The work culture is nowhere near as competitive as here, so work hours are short (being in the office after 5.30pm is considered late) and genuine office comeraderie high if you fit in.

The downside of Australia is, it is in truth, an intolerant culture. Many white Australians do not consider anyone Australian unless they are caucasian (watch out if you are Asian or middle Eastern). Woman are still treated poorly inside the workplace. Many men do not take professional woman seriously (be prepared to take those jokes putting woman down, or your ideas/opinions down because you are female, on the chin, with a smile, unless you want to be labelled a frustrated bitch or lesbian and sidelined). The pressure to consume alcohol is intense. Most offices will hit the pub pretty much 3-4 times a week for lunch and most days after work. Resistance is often construed as being snobbish.

With all that said I loved being in Sydney at the time, I made some wonderful friends and have fond memories, but would not return there to live since I discovered and love the Bay Area culture of tolerance far too much.

Good Luck with your decision

Lots of luck trying to move to Sydney..I'm saying this facetiously. We tried to immigrate a number of years ago, went through TONS of painstaking paperwork, with LOTS of waiting and waiting until we finally gave up (I'm a computer professional, no less). If you can stand the people at the consulate, more power to you but it made us completely turned off with the idea of changing our lives into that direction. They definitely don't want you there, except if you're a tourist or if you have family there. Try Canada.. anon

Another view on moving to Australia...I lived there in the early 90s and was fortunate to be sponsored for a 12 month position and ultimately pursuing and getting perm residency. This was at a time when professionals could practically write their own ticket. This is no longer the case, and you would be very wise not to expect that you can arrive and acquire something under the table - it just doesn't work that way anymore. Australia has a generous ''family reunion'' program that allows many extended family members the ability to come to live in Australia with the sponsoring family member - largely financially supported by the govt, as these are not work ready people or are too old to enter the workforce. Very humanist, but may be a drain on the country's resources. Look into being sponsored by a company first. Anon

Hi there - Well, I have tons of family who have moved to Australia over the years and was really, really surprised at the one response you received. I am not sure when the respondee applied but Australia, from what I hear, is fairly easy to get into, especially if you're a computer professional.

My sibilings moved to Perth, Australia from Singapore over the last few years. Both made it in because one spouse was a teacher. They used immigration agents and heard back in 6 months. I am very interested in moving myself (reluctant American husband, though) and two very realiable agents (who have received a lot of business from my family) have looked at our circumstances (my husband is a network systems administrator) and said that we will get in easily with my husband's line of work.

Don't lose heart. I would get in touch with an immigration firm (let me know if you need contact information) and they will assess your application up front and let you know if you should bother. They will do all the work. edna