In retrospect, September 26th 1998 was probably the most pivotal day in my family's existence. I remember it like it was yesterday. Dad had to rush to the airport at lunchtime, a stressful event in any case because that was the day the Adelaide Crows were playing in their second consecutive Grand Final (which they subsequently won, in a huge upset). However it was even more treacherous because he was having a second interview for the position of Primary School Principal at Matthew Flinders Anglician College (MFAC) on the Sunshine Coast. I was on VCR duty that day in case he didn't arrive back in time for the start of the match.
Just over two weeks later on October 13th, the family found out that he had got the job.
It is hard to exaggerate how angry I was.
The year before we had stayed on the Sunshine Coast for a week. At the time Dad knew someone who taught at MFAC, so we took the 30 minute drive from Caloundra to Buderim. As we drove through the Buderim main street I remember my exact thoughts 'What a shit hole! I'm glad we don't live here!'.
On January 13th 1999, we arrived in the shit hole, a town where there were more nursing homes than fast food outlets. I was 15. This in my eyes was an abysmal, catastrophic decision. I was giving up our Footy Park membership to live in this geriatric abyss?
When I moved to Queensland, I said that I would have to live there for 15 years before I could call myself a Queenslander.
I am still South Australian.
Though I maintain permanent residence in 'The Land of Thugby' I still miss my Footy Park membership more than any activity in Queensland. The move is the best thing that has happened in my lifetime, but at least in Adelaide it doesn't rain torrentially and the majority of the sporting population plays REAL football.
Despite this, I have to thank 'the shit hole' for so many things. At the time of the move I was a real dickhead, with no real purpose or life goals. The move to a different locale cemented my thirst for the political. And I was lucky my parents found a good high school that identified my talents and supported them. Though I wanted to move away from the Sunshine Coast the second I arrived there, and still wanted to every day after that, I was also lucky that I was in the right place at the right time.
Enrolling at the University of the Sunshine Coast and their vastly underrated politics faculty allowed me to be an enormous shark in a tiny puddle, with great educators and compatroits. I developed academic confidence and excelled whilst completing two degrees. That was something no one thought I could do when I was still living in my hometown.
Though I have absolutely no desire to live in Adelaide or the Sunshine Coast ever again, I couldn't have asked for two better stopovers on the path to independence.