These new locals followed work opportunities to Griffith… and they’ve never been happier
When Viviana and Rick left their respective home countries of the Netherlands and the UK, they didn’t plan to move to rural Australia, and they didn’t know anything about Griffith either. But the one thing they did realise quite quickly – they wanted to live in Australia permanently.
The couple met when Vivana was working at a youth hostel in Sydney. At the time she was studying tourism at University, but in order for Rick to extend his working holiday visa, he needed to find work as well.
Viviana says, ‘When we first got together we didn’t have plans to live in Griffith. But Rick had to complete 88 days of farm work in order to extend his visa, and he had a friend in Griffith that could help him find work.’
Rick moved to Griffith – the agricultural powerhouse of the gorgeous Riverina region of Australia – in 2019. After finishing his farm work requirements, ultimately found work as a welder at All Property Solutions – where he still works to this day. This suited him extremely well since he had a background in engineering and fabrication and experience in the labour fields.
With work sorted, and in a place he loved, Rick and Viviana wondered if Griffth could be where they found their Aussie dream?
Simon, Rick’s boss at All Property Solutions, was happy to sponsor Rick’s visa. And with the help of an immigration lawyer, Viviana and Rick finally had a pathway to their permanent life in Australia.
In the beginning Rick stayed in Griffith while Viviana finished up an internship in Sydney. But in May 2020 she was finally able to join him. And despite the pandemic causing employment difficulties around the world, she never had a problem finding work.
Viviana says, ‘Since coming to Griffith I have worked on a farm, at three different wineries, assisted during the rice harvest and helped some other labour companies from time to time. But I have experience in customer service and eventually I found work as a Leisure Service Cashier at the Griffith Regional Aquatic Leisure Centre.
I absolutely loved working there, but I was not able to get a permanent role, so I kept looking for something permanent while still enjoying work at the pool. Eventually, I started to work as Casual Administrative Support at Griffith City Council. Over time I assisted in a few different departments and today I am proud to say that I have a full-time role as Economic & Community Development Officer. The team is absolutely amazing and I love my job!’
With both Viviana and Rick working in jobs they loved, they began to see the other draws of a rural community like Griffith.
Viviana says, ‘I grew up in a small village in the Netherlands but I had a different perspective of small towns in Australia. I didn’t even think they would have a supermarket! But before moving here Rick told me that he had a Woolworths within walking distance and my ideas changed very quickly. Still, it wasn’t until I moved here myself that I realised that Griffith is actually a really big town!’
With all the things they’re looking for – restaurants, pubs, bowling, movies, and plenty of outdoor space for hiking, fishing and exploring – the couple has loved embracing everything beautiful Griffith has to offer.
The Griffith Community
While Rick and Viviana have embraced all that Griffth has to offer, the community has embraced them right back.
‘We love the community and the people from Griffith. There are even certain places where you could say we have become “regulars”. In fact, everyone we meet is so heartwarming and inviting. It gives us such a sense of comfort that I don’t think we would get in the city,’ Viviana says.
Making friends that are like family, and finding a home in this beautiful community, is part of what makes Griffith so special to the couple. They love their cabin home, the space they have to grow, their many opportunities for work and advancement. They even believe Griffith is the perfect place to raise a family.
Viviana says, ‘A personal realisation for us is that Griffith would be the perfect place to start a family. We feel like the city can be a bit too busy sometimes and too expensive. Here in Griffith we can actually think about being able to afford our own house at some point and one day, hopefully start a family.’
The Griffith Lifestyle
As Viviana and Rick have found, Griffith is a fantastic town in The Riverina region that offers an incredible lifestyle. There you can experience world-class wineries, buy the freshest produce, dine in amazing restaurants (one of Viviana’s favourite parts of this area) and embrace cultural heritage.
In fact, the town itself was designed by famous architect Walter Burley Griffin in the early 20th century as part of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Scheme. And it’s a beautiful example of everything the region has to offer. Today it offers a wonderful food and wine culture highlighted by the annual Griffith Multicultural Festival – a not to miss part of Spring Fest.
Spring Fest, held each October, showcases everything on offer and is a not-to-be-missed experience.
And, that’s not all Griffith has to be proud of. The Grapes of Mirth – a tremendously popular wine and comedy event – happens each March, and there are many festivals punctuating the year, including the Italian Festival and the Vintage Festival.
Of course, as Viviana and Rick know well, agriculture is an important part of life in Griffith and in the Riverina area generally. The yearly agricultural show and the Riverina Field Days give producers a chance to showcase their wares and make vital connections. Or check out A Day in the Orchard, where the local Piccolo family presents a beautiful music, food and arts festival amongst the trees.
Best of Griffith
- Wine tasting at Calabria Family Wines
- Dinner and drinks at Zecca Handmade Italian
- Koala spotting at nearby Narrandera
- Hiking at Cocoparra Park
- Fishing at Lake Wyangan
If you would like to learn more about Griffith or the wider Riverina region, or need support with your move, contact the Griffith liaison, Karly Sivewright, on 02 6962 8100, or reach out to one of our friendly Country Change team here.