Jenelle and Ron Milligan with daughters Jade, Jessie and Rachel.
Jenelle and Ron Milligan with daughters Jade, Jessie and Rachel. Warren Lynam

Seachange success for whole family

MOVING to a new place involves a lot more than finding the right house.

For most families, moving requires finding a new doctor, butcher, fruit and vege shop and, in many cases, new schools, jobs and social networks.

For University of the Sunshine Coast psychology lecturer Pru Millear, wanting to learn how people adapt to such change is what led to her latest research.

The expert psychologist is conducting a survey to find out more about Coast residents who have moved here in their lifetime, in an attempt to discover why they've made the change and how they've adapted to their new life.

Dr Millear said that so far, finding survey volunteers had been quite easy considering most of the region was made up of families who have migrated here.

"When you consider how young the Coast is, it's easy to meet people who have moved here," she said.

Dr Millear said finding out how residents formed new networks was a major part of her research.

"While the Coast is a beautiful place, I want to know if people find it hard when they first move here to establish themselves," she said.

"I want to know how hard it is and how long it takes to find new networks and new jobs."

For the Milligans, of Birtinya, meeting new people had been a major part of settling in to the Coast since the family moved from Forster, New South Wales, in 2004.

While parents Jenelle and Ron met friends through work and their love of recreation and sport, their daughters - 21-year-old Jessie, 20-year-old Jade and 18-year-old Rachel - started long-term friendships within days of being enrolled at Kawana Waters State College eight years ago.

Jenelle said the decision to move had come after she and husband Ron considered the opportunities their three girls would have when they finished school.

"Jessie had done one year of high school down there, and so we were considering where they'd go to uni if we stayed in Forster, and the closest one was in Newcastle," Jenelle said.

"So they'd have to either live on campus at Newcastle or rent accommodation.

"Even though all of our family lived in Forster, we were keen to make a break and give the kids more opportunities."

Jenelle said that when they moved to the region, she and Ron had not simply considered the entertainment, shopping and educational facilities.

"We were happy with the way the council spends a lot of money on recreation, activities and things," she said.

The Milligans have certainly embraced the Queensland life-style since moving here.

Dad Ron continues to windsurf, and mum Jenelle loves living near the beach.

Eldest daughter Jessie enjoys all things coastal after meeting boyfriend Jayden in high school along with her close group of friends.

Daughter Jade started putting down roots from the word "go" when she met fiancé Jackson at Kawana Waters State College.

All three girls have taken advantage of enrolling in courses offered at the university since graduating high school.

The family's love for the region's boundless opportunities, scenic beauty, coastal lifestyle and friendly people has turned it into the place they call home.

To participate in Dr Millear's research on moving to the Sunshine Coast, visit


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