From tourists to citizens
Like many who make Cairns their home, Amanda and Spencer Hancock (above) first came here on holiday.
LIKE many who make Cairns their home, Amanda and Spencer Hancock first came here on holiday. It was 2001 and they were visiting from Portsmouth in the UK.
“We came to spend time with my best friend from high school, who moved here when we were still teenagers,” says Amanda, regional procurement co-ordinator for Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils.
“I remember not really knowing much about Cairns, but being blown away by how beautiful it was. I think we both knew then that we’d be back.
“In 2003, just after we got married, we returned to Australia for six months, bought an old 1970 Kombi and travelled the length of the east coast and up through the centre.
“We had plans to travel down the west coast, but the wet season put paid to that, so we spent our last couple of months in Cairns before heading back to the UK.”
Two children later – and with Spencer retrained as a nurse – the family returned to Cairns in 2012, suitcases jammed with as “much as we could carry ... to begin our new life”.
“Having been lucky enough to have seen plenty of Australia, we always knew we’d settle in Cairns,” Amanda says.
“It is so different to our hometown in the south of England – the weather, the rainforest and the laidback lifestyle. How lucky we are to now call it home.”
Spencer, a cardiac nurse at Cairns Hospital, says education and lifestyle were the key factors in their move to Australia.
“We wanted to give the children a better life in Cairns. The weather is so perfect, compared to the UK.
“Our children, Matilda and Fletcher, attend Trinity Anglican School.
“Private school in the UK costs so much more and you want to give kids the best chance, early on.”
The family now say they are “true blue Aussies” after receiving their citizenship on Australia Day and celebrated with an Aussie-themed barbecue.
“We did consider cancelling when it was clear the rain wasn’t going to stay away but we were told this would be very un-Australian, so the party went on,” Amanda says. “And what a party it was.”
TRUE BLUE AUSSIES: Spencer, Matilda, Amanda and Fletcher Hancock receive their citizenship certificate from Cairns Mayor Bob Manning.