The charm of the Greater Hume enticed two different families to find their new homes in Holbrook
Growing up in Canada, Ireland and Malaysia respectively, Devin, Siobhan and Logeswari – better known as Ezy – could not have imagined their future lives residing and working in rural Australia. But surprising turns of events and twists of fate have led the three migrants to now call the Greater Hume ‘home’.
Today, both families are a valued part of the local Holbrook community, delighting in the outdoor lifestyle, sense of adventure and volunteer opportunities that the region affords.
Ezy’s path to Elim and Holbrook
On Australia Day this year, Ezy received her Australian Citizenship certificate in a wonderful celebration of her life’s journey so far. And what a journey it’s been.
Having grown up in Malaysia, Ezy completed high school at an international school. She then applied to study overseas to further her education. Australia was the first country to respond. So at the age of 20, Ezy landed in Sydney with just $3000 in her pocket. Her parents would cover her tuition fees but she would have to work to cover her living expenses.
Despite facing many challenges in her new country, Ezy thrived. She worked her way through a string of jobs while also studying, and eventually upgraded her student visa to a work visa. After several cross-country moves, she ultimately landed back in Sydney where she met her future husband, Wiradjuri Welsh High Country Aussie bushman, Elim.
However, Australia’s immigration rules kept changing and on the advice of Ezy’s migration agent, the couple moved to regional NSW in the hopes of speeding up the visa process. They remained open to all opportunities and upskilled to jobs in demand in their local community. Within a year of their rural change, Ezy received the long-awaited call congratulating her on her permanent residency. She was finally able to call Australia home at the age of 35.
Today they’re feeling settled in regional Australia, having bought their first home in the town of Holbrook. They’ve established a steady life in the Greater Hume area, bringing together their Hindu and Seventh Day Adventist backgrounds under the one roof and enjoying all that the local community has to offer. From the fresh country air to the increased affordability, the couple are certain they made the right decision moving from the city to the country.
While being a migrant in a new country presented many challenges, Ezy believes it was all worth it to have found her place with Elim both working for, and within, the special Holbrook community. Both love giving back – Elim volunteering with St John Ambulance and donating surplus veggies from his garden, and Ezy volunteering with the GROW (Growing Regions of Welcome) pilot program in the Murray Region, which supports migrants and refugees wanting to move into the area. And they love their new lives in Holbrook!
Siobhan and Devin: From backpackers to residents
It took only 10 days after her move from Ireland to Canada for Siobhan to meet her future husband Devin. The pair dreamt of travelling the world together, and soon settled on rural Australia. They fortuitously both found work near Holbrook – Devin as a stockman on a large livestock property and Siobhan in production for the attached Jayfields Nursery. A blissful 18 months were spent living and working in the region, followed by a six-month stint in Melbourne.
After returning to Canada to renew family ties and share their tales of great adventures, Siobhan and Devin soon realised they were missing their Aussie lifestyle and the work/life balance they had experienced in the country. They knew that a better life awaited them in regional Australia, and decided to return for good.
Years passed as they waited for their visa applications to be processed, followed by major interruptions brought by the pandemic and the birth of their daughter, Laura. In the meantime, the nursery was experiencing growth and owners Tim and Kelly applied to sponsor Siobhan in the role of marketing manager, which allowed the family to finally return to Australia with a five-year working visa. Devin now works as a nursery foreman while Siobhan has recently taken maternity leave for the birth of their newborn son, Eamon.
They love the lifestyle that Holbrook provides for their young family, with local shops, a library, post office and five-day childcare services available, as well as strong community connections and volunteer opportunities with the local fire brigade and community hall. The family of four is well and truly settled in the Greater Hume, proving that good things do come to those who wait.
Life in the Greater Hume region
Greater Hume is a fantastic region bursting with opportunities. It is currently experiencing growth, and boasts 11 different towns and villages you could call home. Its location allows residents to enjoy all the benefits of country living, while still being in proximity to the major centres of Albury and Wagga Wagga.
There is also a strong sense of community pride within the Greater Hume – which Ezy and Elim, and Siobhan and Devin have experienced themselves. Here you will find good old country hospitality as well as year-round family events such as community markets, agricultural shows, horse races and even triathalons.
The region is renowned for its agriculture, with an emerging industry including olives, lamb, beef, wine, eggs and vegetables. You’ll be able to sample farm-fresh fare at the many historic pubs and cafes throughout the region, or pack a picnic to enjoy at one of the Greater Hume’s many natural attractions.
From Morgan’s Lookout and Woomargama National Park to Gum Swamp and Lake Hume, the locals are never short on places to visit. Siobhan and Devin love the abundant flora and fauna they discover on hikes through the bush, while Ezy and Elim relish the history and culture of the area.
Advice for others dreaming of making the move
Ezy and Elim:
- Ezy says that newcomers need not be afraid to take the leap and learn a new culture and way of life, but rather see it as an opportunity to be part of a new community.
- For those considering a move from another country, Ezy recommends reflecting on potential challenges such as your finances, shifting immigration rules, English requirements, your personal health, choosing a registered migration agent, visa restrictions and social issues.
Siobhan and Devin:
- ‘Do it! It was one of the best decisions that we ever made. Australia is a beautiful country with wonderful people. Rural Australia is the backbone of the country. The people are the salt of the earth. Everybody tends to help each other out. There are plenty of job opportunities, great pay and you get to experience the real Australia.’
- Becoming part of the local community was integral to Siobhan and Devin settling into rural living.