Moving 14,000km from Germany to Australia

Removalists off to load up our container in Heilbronn

I’m normally good on anniversaries but it was my husband who realised that today is exactly five years since we landed in Australia. I was returning after living overseas for about five and half years, and he was bravely arriving for the first time, ready to look for a job and settle in to an entirely new life.

Bye bye belongings!

That means that a bit over five years ago, we were nervously supervising the removalists who were loading up our container ready to ship to Australia. Whether or not to ship a container-load of our belongings was a big question for us but it definitely ended up being worthwhile; yes, it was pricey, but nothing like the cost of replacing a house full of furniture. I’d got used to living out of a backpack, but my husband was living in his home town with the belongings of a lifetime and it seemed crazy to get rid of them only to have to buy similar stuff in Australia.

So then our container was ready to be driven up to Hamburg and put on a boat bound for Perth, via Singapore (the same route we would take, but by plane – we took advantage of one of those Singapore packages for a stopover that makes long journeys much more tolerable). Numerous “friends” had been entertaining us with stories of containers that had fallen off ships, or had got lost, or other exciting mishaps. On the strength of someone’s story I made sure I took photos including the unique code of the container … as if that might help? There was quite a delay with our container sitting in the harbour in Singapore, and then another delay as customs and quarantine had to check it over once it reached Australian soil …

And then one day, our container arrived. Only it wasn’t our container … it was red instead of blue. Miraculously, it had our stuff inside. Yay!


  1. That is annoying! We actually had a slightly damaged sofa out of it all but the insurance covered it quite handsomely and we were pleased (and still use the sofa, I must admit!). I assume that they transfer the stuff to another container during the bit where customs/quarantine check? But it is just a guess …

  2. It is strange that somehow your stuff gets transferred to another container, the same happened to ours, but a couple of things went missing in the transfer!! Nothing major, but still annoying, as no one accepted responsibility.

  3. Amanda Slavinsky says

    That is so strange that they switched containers. I can’t imagine how nervous you must have felt when you saw the red one pull up 🙂

  4. Amanda, the funny thing that I must admit is – neither of us noticed! We only realised yesterday when I put the photos together!! So actually we were quite relaxed 🙂

  5. Maybe they had a container respray en route 🙂 When my family returned from Australia, a load of stuff went missing, but that was a long time ago and I think things are more organised now.

    These days I think, wow, giving up your settled life to start an entirely new one. It doesn’t enter into my radar any more because extended family has become more important than they used to be.

  6. Blimey what a grammatically muddled sentence that last one was. Better have another cup of strong coffee before attempting any work this morning!

  7. I remember a similar day, when my half container arrived. And yes it was worth it. It was not a lifetime of posessions, just a host of beautiful things that I had bought in Dubai when I was living there. They are ‘things’, sure, but they also hold memories of experiences, people, places…and that is why it was worth keeping them.

  8. @Jenny – don’t worry, I still understood you! I was always impressed at my husband being willing (keen, even) to move his entire life over to Australia “sight unseen” – I was used to moving around by that stage but he had been living in the same town basically his whole life.

    @Andrea – yes, I certainly have a similar collection of “things” which are reminders for me of some amazing experiences – nothing wrong with wanting to have these things around you, I think!

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