From Melbourne’s inner suburbs during Covid-19 lockdown with two youngsters to the Tasmanian lifestyle of his youth, Brad Kelly returns home.
Two parents with demanding careers working from home during a global pandemic. For Brad and Ingrid Kelly, life with two boys around their ankles proved challenging during Melbourne’s Covid-19 lockdown. The island of their youth became more attractive by the day. By November, 2020, the pull of grandparents and wide-open space sealed their move back to Tasmania.
As luck would have it, Brad and Ingrid booked the Spirit of Tasmania on the very date that borders re-opened in late 2020. With (at the time) four-year-old Hugo, one-year old Toby and the family dog in tow, they rolled straight off the ferry and back into North West coastal life.
“We were so fortunate to both be able to work remotely,” explains Brad who works for Department of Justice and Community Safety in Victoria while Ingrid also works remotely. “When Covid hit, it got us thinking about what’s really important. The kids hadn’t seen their grandparents and cousins for almost a year. We didn’t want them to live that life. So, we packed up and here we are. We’ve just bought a house on the coast, and we’ve spent plenty of time at the beach over the road. Bass Strait is right on our doorstep.”
Brad grew up in Tasmania’s north west, leaving the island in early 2003 after completing a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Graduate Diploma in Rehabilitation Counselling. Following two and a half years overseas, he has since spent the majority of his time based in Melbourne. For the last 14 years, he has worked for the Department of Justice across the adult corrections system, but is currently undertaking a secondment in a consumer policy branch. He’s also studying his Masters of Public Administration through The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) and the University of Melbourne.
“It’s a juggling act between study, work and family but so much easier here in Tassie,” smiles Brad sitting by the water. “We could be stuck in traffic for 45 minutes taking the children to and from day care each day because people weren’t using public transport during Covid. The slower pace of Tasmania has given us a chance to breathe and enjoy more time doing what we love.”
Though Covid-19 presents uncertainty and it is unknown how remote positions will look into the future, the Kelly’s are making the most of family time and living in Tasmania. Having only been on home turf since November, they have since bought a house on the outskirts of Burnie and their oldest son is settling in well to his first year of school alongside his cousin.
“Hugo gets on with his cousin Frank like a house on fire, so it’s amazing to see them spend time together and enjoy the lifestyle we had growing up on the coast,” adds Brad, “it’s so great to be back near the grandparents, house prices are reasonable and for now we’re not worrying about the long-term plan. We’re just stoked to be here.”
He is grateful to be able to continue his role in a remote capacity without the added challenges of living in a big city. Though he misses aspects of Melbourne life, including AFL football, going to the zoo with the kids and great restaurants, his family have settled into the rhythm of Tasmanian life and plenty of outdoor play.
“It used to take us 30 minutes to get to the bay in Melbourne, and now we’re a few steps away from the water. Our after-work commute is to the beach to watch the Little Penguins come in to nest. This is exactly the life we were after,” concludes Brad.
Are you interested in making a move? Make it Tasmania.