If you’re hoping to call Oz home in the near future, then you’ll be following in the footsteps of these illustrious immigrants:
The Bee Gees
Brothers Barry, Maurice and Robin Gibb – collectively better known as pop band the Bee Gees – may be regarded as one of the biggest British bands of all time, but their musical careers actually started whilst they were living down under. The Gibb family moved to Oz in the late 1950, settling in Redcliffe, Queensland. The group released three studio albums while living in Australia, but moved back to the UK in 1967 when their careers began to take off. In a 2013 interview with an Australian magazine, Barry Gibb – the eldest and only surviving brother – said that he considers himself ‘Australian’.
Australia’s current Prime Minister, Tony Abbott was born in England in 1957 to an Australian mother and English-born father. He emigrated with his parents to Sydney when he was just two years old but did return to England as a student when he attended The Queen’s College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in the early 1980s. After entering politics in 1990, he became leader of Australia’s Liberal Party in 2009, and was elected Prime Minister in last year’s General Election, ousting Kevin Rudd. He was the second Oz PM in recent years to be born in Britain. Julia Gillard (PM between 2009 and early 2013) was born in Wales.
The actress and singer, most famous for her role as Sandy in 1977’s hit smash musical Grease, was born in Cambridge but moved to Australia at the age of five when her father was offered the job of a dean at a college in Melbourne. Newton-John returned to England in her mid-teens, largely to pursue a career as a singer, and ultimately moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1970s where she soon landed her breakthrough role alongside John Travolta.
Another Australian actress who was born in the UK to British parents is Naomi Watts. Born in Shoreham, Kent, Watts didn’t move to Australia she was 14, but it was in Oz where her career started; in typical Aussie fashion one of her first roles was in Home and Away. Famous for playing a diverse range of roles, Watts has appeared in more than 30 films including King Kong, The Impossible, Ned Kelly and, most recently, the largely panned Diana film, in which she played the late Princess of Wales. Although Watts considers herself British, she says that Australia is the country she considers to be her ‘home’.
English cricketer Harold Larwood played a key role in the infamous Bodyline series of the 1930s, in which England’s controversial tactic of bowling the ball at the bodies of Australian batsmen, rather than the wickets, led to years of bad feeling between the two teams. Larwood retired from cricket in 1939, and after struggling to make money from a sweetshop he owned in Blackpool, in 1950 he was persuaded by Australian cricketer Jack Fingleton, who had faced Larwood during the Bodyline series, to move to Australia. The former England fast bowler settled in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, where he lived until his death in 1995.