We've talked about FIFO life in a couple of posts but obviously this isn't the only option available to mining employees and their families. Some choose to relocate, either to purpose built mining towns or to towns that happen to be close to mine sites. Whilst the partner employed by the mining company will have 'something' to do, the move is often not quite so easy on the other partner. Nevertheless many partners, predominantly women, have done it very successfully. Here are a few tips we hope will help you adjust to your new mining town life:
Ask around and find out if anyone knows anyone where you're going. Chances are someone will know someone who knows someone… This someone could prove to be a valuable contact in your new hometown. See if you can strike up some type of relationship with them before you move there. Email and social media are great for that! Then when you arrive you will at least know one person in town outside your immediate family.The Daily School Run
Many friendships start out during the daily school pick up run. You get to know the other parents and it's reasonably easy to start a conversation with relative strangers when you have children in common. Explain you're new in town and ask them about local watering holes, best places to eat, activities for children and so on. You could even suggest going for a cup of coffee instead of heading straight back home again. From there, who knows what friendships could blossom. Alternatively you can join parent's groups or offer to help out on canteen duty. Anything that gets you involved in community activities and meeting people is ideal.Use The Available Recreational Facilities, And Get Fit At The Same Time
Most if not all mining towns have a number of recreational facilities available – swimming pool, tennis courts, recreation centre, fitness centre and so on. Contact the local community office to find out what is available, how to use the facilities and how to join any groups. Then make a point of introducing yourself and talking to people you meet there.Hop Into A Hobby
Having a hobby is an excellent way to while away some time when you're new in town and don't know too many people yet. There are also a myriad of things you can do online these days – everything from getting involved in online social networking groups to starting up an online business to marketing your skills as a freelancer. If you had a career or were working before you moved you may find some way to continue utilising your skills. A lot of companies these days also hire remote employees who work from home; perhaps your previous employer has something available along those lines.Can Someone Use Your Talents?
Or maybe you'll see an opportunity to provide a service in your new town – if you're a great quilter or painter or have some other talent that you can teach others to do, consider doing it. There may also be some local jobs going – check the local newspapers, community notice boards and social media pages.Two's Company; Three Or More Is A Lot More Fun
Also along the same lines is starting up your own group; if you enjoy walking or cycling you could let people know when you're going and see if anyone wants to come along (social media is ideal for this). Or start up a regular coffee or lunch get together at the local deli / bar / café. Apart from anything else, you never know how many other newcomers like yourself may be in town looking to get involved and meet people too!Wining And Dining
Persuade your other half, the one with the mining job, to organise a night out with his colleagues and their partners. Or you could host a meet and greet dinner party yourself to meet them. Some of them may be new in town too and would welcome the opportunity to meet a few more people. Or throw a weekend barbecue …. Organise a street party…. Invite the neighbours around for drinks…. There are endless possibilities here. Take a deep breath, pluck up your courage and just DO IT!
Once you've been in town for a little while and have met a few people it won't hurt to throw a party then either – you can make it a 'bring along a friend I don't know' affair if you like (within reason of course). If you have kids, maybe one of them has a birthday coming up. Or you have an anniversary / birthday yourself. Use the occasion to host a social gathering of some type.Get Into The Community Minded Spirit
If you're a community minded person, look for other ways to get involved that will not only keep you occupied but will also get you out and about meeting people. Plus you'll have the satisfaction on knowing that you are contributing to your new community. Look for women's groups (like the CWA in Australia), or volunteer to help the local Salvos or other community groups. The best ways to find these groups is to check with the local council or community office or search online. Most of them these days will have a social media presence and you can find out more about their activities that way.Ah Yes, The Power Of Social Media
Speaking of social media, nearly every town these days has a Facebook page or dozen! There will be swap pages, what's on pages, buy and sell pages and local business pages. Join them all and participate in the group conversations. Need to find out something – just ask on one of these groups and you'll have an answer within a very short space of time. Want to volunteer your services for something – just put it up there and wait for takers.Finish Your Education Or Pick Up More Qualifications
Been thinking for a while that you'd like to finish a degree you started or that you'd like to learn some new skills or get more qualifications? Most tertiary institutions and TAFEs these days offer remote learning courses. If the town is big enough there may be evening classes for a range of things or even a local TAFE.
However you choose to do it, there are many ways to enjoy life in a mining town. But it all starts with your attitude; if you decide it's never going to work then it won't. If you make up your mind to create a good life whilst you're there it can be a very rewarding experience. Because the benefits of small town life are numerous, particularly for families. It's often a lot safer than life in the city. There's usually far less crime. People are more inclined to look out for each other. There's a sense of community you won't get in a city. Indeed, many people find it a lot harder to adjust to life back in the city after having lived in a mining town for a few years.