SINCE swapping backyard syringe checks and homeless people sleeping in their garage in St Kilda for carefree walks along the beach, the McFadden family feels safe and at ease living in Warrnambool.
Paul McFadden and his wife Fleur Watson, originally from Glen Waverley, returned to the south-west 12 years ago with their daughters Holly, 17 and Ruby, 14.
Mr McFadden, grew up in Warrrnambool and lived in St Kilda for 16 years before opting for a slower pace of life.
“This is safe, it’s home,” Mr McFadden said. Their home is near the river where the girls sit on the jetty with their feet in the water.
It is only a 10-minute walk to the beach, which Holly enjoys visiting — as well as camping, going out for dinner or ice-cream and shopping.
“You can walk wherever you want and you’re in a safe environment,” she said.
For her father, those aspects of country living are priceless.
“I’ve had job offers (in Melbourne) and I’ve laughed at them and thought, you’ve got to be kidding. There’s no way. I don’t want that,” Mr McFadden said.
“The fact she (Holly) can go for a walk on her own or Ruby can go out with a mate, you can’t pay for that ... you miss nothing, we lose nothing by living here. What do they gain by living there?”
One of the best things about the move for the Brauer College drama and media studies teacher is the fact that he teaches his daughters at the same school he attended.
“I love this school ... I think because I went here I feel it even more,” he said.
“The best thing about teaching here is I get to teach my kids. I love to see them every day, although the girls say the best thing about having dad at school is that they’ve always got someone to ask for money for the canteen,” he laughed.
Having her dad teach her has inspired Holly to think about becoming a teacher. She loves working with people and has a connection with young people.
“I guess I’ve inherited it from my dad and watching him teach me and some times I go into his classes and help (in the year 8 drama classes).”
The family is spoilt for choice when it comes to weekend activities.
“We like Warrnambool and love hanging out,” Mr McFadden said.
“We like the gardens, Killarney, love the Yambuk slide — we went there for a picnic a couple of weeks ago. Peterborough over the other side. There’s so much to see here.”
n Read more stories about why people love living in the south-west by picking up a copy of The Standard’s Live Work Invest magazine from local council offices.