Returning to the heartland

Blog Post
March 25, 2022
March 5, 2024

How Wagga’s pull was too much to ignore

Ask any parent, and most will say their prime focus in life is to ensure their children are happy, safe and have a great range of experiences to help them thrive.For Phillip Thompson, this was his key focus when he moved his family to Wagga Wagga in the Riverina, in 2017.“Our main motivation was that we wanted a better quality of life for our family and to ensure our children could experience life in the country,” said Phillip.Moving from Mosman in Sydney, both Phillip and his wife had had exposure to country life prior to their relocation.

L: view from house. R: sunset and crops

Wagga is my heartland. This is where my mother’s side was born and bred. So after having spent a lot of my childhood here, it made perfect sense to move permanently and take full advantage of life in the country without the feeling of a small town. Also, my wife is from the Hunter Valley region, so we both had a good appreciation of country life.”With two children aged 8 and 12, the extra space has proven a winner with his young family.“They love it. It’s been a great move. Both kids love the bigger space. Moving from 400sqm to 800,000sqm it certainly provides more playing area.They’re always outside playing, rarely will they watch TV and there are no iPhone, iPads or computer gaming allowed, so they are constantly coming up with outdoor activities to play,” he rejoiced.

L: Lake Run and Ride. R: Bomen Solar Farm & Industrial Hub

Despite having been familiar with the region, Phillip admits that he still had his initial concerns.“Coming from a busy precinct like Sydney, I was anxious at first. But the amount of overall positives continue to outway any thought of returning back and dealing with traffic, cost and the challenges with less available personal time,” he said.While the amount of stress from congestion and travel has reduced, Phillip acknowledges that life is still busy.“Aside from kids sports after school and weekends, social outings and short trips every so often, we keep busy on the farm which is on the outskirts of Wagga Wagga where we have wheat, canola crops plus grazing cattle. The farm is largely self managed as we use local contractors with the olives, plus sowing and harvesting of crops. The cattle are mostly easy to manage. We can hold approximately 80-100 head of trade steers, though we have now moved to cows and will breed our own.”

View over farm

Having worked in the property market for over 20 years, Phillip has been impressed by the work opportunities available in Wagga Wagga.“Just like many industries, there are plenty of career opportunities for those that wish to relocate away from the larger cities. There are many openings for medium and senior level roles. Whilst Wagga City is growing at a strong pace, there is certainly a community presence and an increasing amount of recreation opportunities.”As the Economic Development Officer at Wagga City Council, his main role is to encourage business growth and development in and around the city and Local Government Authority and support existing business by promotion and facilitation of economic development, grant management and community development. (See a list of projects here.)

“My work history is predominantly corporate real estate where I have actively worked in both investment sales and investment management. I have seen more significant development within the Wagga LGA in the last 5 years than I have in the last 20 years which is great for encouraging interstate migration into our region and driving business growth,” he added.“For all of these reasons, I believe it’s definitely worth the move. I know so many people here in Wagga who have moved from Sydney and Melbourne and have loved the move. The lifestyle, strong community feel, even the opportunities to start a business is what many of our friends comment strongly on.”

If you’d like more guidance on your Country Change to Wagga Wagga, reach out to the RDA Riverina team here or contact Kent Jarme - EDO Wagga City Council, 02 6926 9145,

Lake Run & Ride is one of many events happening in Wagga Wagga each year. Photo from City Of Wagga Wagga.Aerial photo of Bomen Solar Farm and Bomen Industrial Hub, Wagga Wagga. Photo from City Of Wagga Wagga.

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