From tourists to cit­i­zens

The Weekend Post - - News -

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.”

PIC­TURE: BREN­DAN RADKE

TRUE BLUE AUSSIES: Spencer, Matilda, Amanda and Fletcher Han­cock re­ceive their cit­i­zen­ship cer­tifi­cate from Cairns Mayor Bob Man­ning.

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