Chani's migration journey

"Although I have chosen to make my home here, as all immigrants will tell you, you never forget where you came from."

Chani Fletcher

What was the catalyst for your migration journey to Australia?

Like many Aussies, my heritage is from all sorts of places. While my father’s family is a mix of indigenous and convict ancestors, my mother’s parents came out to Australia in the late 1950s as the classic “10 pound poms”. They had both survived the second world war as children – my grandmother was evacuated from London to avoid the Blitz bombing.

It was a troubling experience that transformed her and she had a strong need to see the world and seek warmer and safer shores. She convinced my grandfather to come with her on her this wild adventure – months by boat to the other side of the world. They landed in Melbourne in 1958 and made a life for themselves there with all the other recently-arrived immigrant families.

Australia’s future became their future and they never returned home to Britain.

Myself, I grew up in Ipswich, Queensland and I also felt the need for wild adventure. My immigration journey took me in the opposite direction, back to Britain on an Ancestry visa. I went back and forth between the UK and Australia before finally settling permanently in the UK. I currently live with my partner in our little house by the Sussex shoreline.

Emigrating to another country has been a hugely positive experience. England has given me pubs, banter and friendship. I’ve tried to convince them that Vegemite is superior to Marmite (I’m not sure they’re going for it) and have brought with me the breezy optimism and “can do” attitude that Aussies do best.

Although I have chosen to make my home here, as all immigrants will tell you, you never forget where you came from. Part of my heart will always be in Australia and I will always still call it home.

Tell us a bit about what you do and your interests

I work remotely from the UK for an Australian immigration law firm. It’s wonderful to help people on their immigration journey and make a positive impact in such an important step in their lives. In my off time, I enjoy doing genealogy and exploring where my ancestors came from. I also very much enjoy travelling and hiking – I’ve hiked the W trail in Patagonia and the Camino walk across Spain to Santiago de Compostela.

What excites you about your future in Australia?

I’m looking forward to coming home to Australia for the first visit since before the COVID 19 pandemic started. I want to give my Mum a big hug.

I’m also in the middle of gigantic research project on some of my convict ancestors – they are a scurvy bunch. One of my convict ancestors was arrested for highway robbery when he was only 16 and only narrowly escaped the noose. He had a very large adventure when he came out to Australia and I want to write his story.