A strange time to move to a new country
The final part of our mini series, Family Abroad, where Kilkenny siblings Enrika Grogan, Leza Doran and James Cahill give us an insight into what living in rural Australia is like at this time

Newest family member to make the jump to Australia mechanic James Cahill completes the picture.

I only moved to Australia in late November 2019 on a one-year working holiday visa, I had been there for a year previously working in the Wheatbelt with an agricultural contractor. I probably didn’t fully appreciate the year there as I was young, only having done the Leaving Cert. So I came home after that and trained as a mechanic.

Going back was always there in the back of my mind. As the years passed, I was getting to the now-or-never stage, and I decided I would give Australia another shot. I was excited for what the future would hold, be that a change of career, travel, weather you could only wish for at home, or any of the other wonderful things this country has to offer.

A new different

I, along with everyone else, had never expected to be in the situation we are in now. I've two sisters also living here in western Australia.

I can't imagine how it would feel to be stuck here without family or close friends

Even with the lockdown, I've been lucky enough to be able to travel from my workplace in Perth to where they are living in Northam to see them and spend time with them.

I can't imagine how it would feel to be stuck here without family or close friends to rely on.

Family

Initially I was living with my sister Leza and her husband Dane, but I moved down to Perth then to be closer to work and to a good gym.

James Cahill with his sisters Enrika Grogan (centre) and Leza Doran.

But all non-essential services (gyms, pubs, clubs and restaurants) have been shut down. This has resulted in a massive amount of jobs being lost, I suppose it’s the same as everywhere else in the world. I'm lucky that I'm working in a mining-related job as that is classed as an essential service.

Work

As the big mining companies adapt to COVID-19 restrictions, it has affected the way we operate and slowed production in house. This has resulted in some people losing their jobs in the workshop and at least 50% of office staff are now working from home. The management are proactive in keeping us updated as to how the business is going throughout this difficult time.

I’ve been attending a gym several times a week for a number of years and I was keen to continue that over here

Hygiene has been stepped up big time. Everyone is being provided with personal hand sanitiser and they have set up more areas for lunch breaks to give everyone more space.

I’ve been attending a gym several times a week for a number of years and I was keen to continue that over here.

James Cahill writes for our reader writes family abroad mini series.

With the added bonus of the weather, I was hoping it would be possible to get outdoors more and try some new things, including getting some swimming lessons to help me compete in a triathlon. But with the gyms now closed I've found that I miss the social aspect of the gym setting as much as the physical exercise part.

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Reader Writes: adapt or go hungry