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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Pining for Perth: Kieran keen to get back to family

The Western Australia border is set to open on 14 November, and Canberra-based 26-year-old Kieran is one of many Australians looking to get back and see his family for the first time since February.

Born and bred in Perth, Kieran moved to Canberra at 22 years of age for a government job after completing his university degree.

Leaving behind his two older brothers, an older sister, Mum and Dad, like many other Australians he never imagined not being able to go back and see them for such a prolonged period.

“I would usually head back every couple of months, or if someone had a birthday or something along those lines,” he said.

“Basically, work would see me go back home every so often, but I haven’t been able to go home since late February.”

Western Australia has had a hard border with all other jurisdictions since 5 April, with uncertainty over that time as to whether it would reopen before December 2020.

WA Premier Mark McGowan made the long-awaited announcement on Friday 30 October that those hard border rules would ease this month.

Kieran said he and his family had relied on the likes of Zoom and Facetime to stay in touch during the restrictions. 

“I would normally chat in a group chat with my brothers and chat to Mum a couple of times a week, but it’s been a bit tougher through COVID,” he said. 

“I have missed some birthdays and Dad had some skin cancers cut out as well and I wasn’t able to go home for that or just go home and see them at all.

“For Easter we did a Zoom call and for my birthday and they sent me a present over and we did a Zoom call to open those so that was pretty nice.”

At the absence of his family, Kieran spent his birthday in July with close friends and with a birthday cake made by a friend’s mum.

He is now holding out for the sign-off from work and to apply for a G2G Pass to enter WA and plans to spend from 20 December until late January in his home state.

“It was just the little things like when people are doing it tough normally and you’re away from home, it’s about not having an option to go back at all,” he said.  

“It’s knowing that if things got really tough, you can’t go back at all – that is tough, but I got through it.”

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