Moving to Melbourne

As most of you may know, I am somewhat of a token amongst the Almanac family. The kid from the bush, the boy from Waaia in northern Victoria. However, it has been over a month since I have relocated to Melbourne to undergo sports media studies at Holmesglen. Now living in Ashwood, not far from Chadstone and Burwood, I am still adjusting to the city lifestyle, seeing convertibles instead of tractors and having to strictly stick to a speed limit instead of cruising at 110 on the open roads (just kidding Dad).

It has been a month full of new experiences and steep learning curves. Like the other day when my clothes were drying outside and a massive storm hit. Again drenched, how would they dry in time for class the next morning? Or the time I got horribly lost on my way home from Caulfield, and ended up getting on a bus close to midnight heading in the opposite direction. Luckily, a cousin living in close proximity to me was able to help me out.

Since moving here, I have started playing footy for the Monash Gryphons in Caulfield East, which has granted me the opportunity to meet many new people. And of course, starting uni. The orientation day featured a guest speech from Cameron Ling, which was fascinating to listen to as he spoke about his progression from premiership captain to boundary rider at Channel 7. My class is full of Richmond supporters with a trickle of Brisbane followers, surprisingly.

Moving out of home for the first time coupled with the fact I have moved three hours away to a city of four million people has made me a fish out of water somewhat. It hasn’t taken me long to find my groove though. The city skyline deep in the horizon was something I always looked forward to viewing on the occasional trips to Melbourne; now I can see it from the kitchen window. The other night I went to Etihad Stadium to watch Port Adelaide take on Essendon. Just because I can. This Friday night I’m heading to Geelong to watch the Cats take on North Melbourne in a practice match. Because I can.

It is expensive though, although the expenses have been helped by being awarded a $5000 scholarship from Centrelink, as well as winning an extra thousand last week through FoxFooty’s NAB Challenge broadcast. The people in my area are lovely as well. When driving around, I always get a few toots from other drivers, obviously in good gesture. Shopping at the supermarket can be difficult by myself. Do I really need to buy this? Will this expire before I finish it all? I’ve learnt not to shop when I’m hungry.

My experience at uni has been fantastic so far. Some amazing opportunities have been lined up, such as a tour of The Age offices yesterday, getting weekly lectures from a Herald Sun journalist and an AFL boundary commentator, and the opportunity to head to a Collingwood or Richmond press conference in Round 5. And this is all in the first semester of the first of three years. But despite the new experiences and the thrill of living in the big city by myself, I do miss my parents, my hometown, my girlfriend, my cat and especially my dog. However, once the footy season rolls around, I can see myself quickly becoming entrenched in Melbourne’s football-mad lifestyle, which makes anything in the world worth it.

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.


  1. Enough with the ‘token’ stuff, Josh. This is a community of the weird, by the weird and for the weird. We just each have our unique form of weird,
    As Hunter S Thompson said of Richard Nixon “when the going gets weird, the weird get going.”
    No more of this self pity stuff. There isn’t a Knacker over 50 who wouldn’t swap places with you tomorrow (mind you the Avenging Eagle says she needs new blood, so long as she can get you out of stripes and into blue and gold – and the hot tub).
    I liked your line about Cameron Ling’s regression – at that rate he’ll be a talkback radio host soon.

  2. Josh, welcome to Melbourne. Will be in touch.

  3. cowshedend says

    Fantastic Josh, ahh youth,when the expiry date is merely a suggestion, and i reckon that Skyline you see from Ashwood is Auckland not Melbourne.
    Enjoy every minute of the life change.

  4. Good on you Josh. Love the way your girlfriend ranks in the list of things missed. In Europe a 3 hour road trip would be a marathon. In Australia its a 3 hour drive. You’re not far from home. But I reckon Melbourne will be home soon. It does that to people.

  5. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Fancy living in the suburb named after Rulebook

  6. Neil Anderson says

    After your next forty years as a journo the next stop heading west will be the Warrnambool district. Apart from the decent career coming up and your ability to write so well at a young age, you are following in my footsteps. I worked at Ashwood in the Education Department and lived in Burwood and Blackburn South before transferring to Warrnambool.
    I think all of us older knackers are envious of you as you start your writing journey at such a young age and to have the Almanac available as a testing ground is ideal.
    Coincidently, I recently made contact with a Year 12 student who lives in Boggy Creek,, home of Geelong Brownlow Medalist Paul Couch, who said he also wanted to pursue journalism. Of course I immediately introduced him to the Almanac and another Bulldog website (he was a mad Dogy fan) so he was rapt to have a couple of extra resources to refer to.
    Best of luck in your student years…and don’t get lost at Chadstone Shopping Centre.

  7. aussiegus says

    Wishing you all the best at that wonderful learning institute previously known as Caulfield Institute. Some tips from the wise. The Racecource Hotel is much quieter on a Monday morning to do your homework than the library. Try not to have Weds afternoons free as you will soon be seduced by that” volatile investment portfolio” that is housed across the road. If Richard Osborne is still coaching the Gryphons, dont be silly enough to tackle him.
    Have always loved Waaia as a town. As Greg Champion once said, “It must be a great town, 80% of it is made up of vowels”

  8. Bob Speechley says

    Great writing Josh. Some of us older Melburnians wouldn’t know how to get to Ashwood and become lost in suburbs outside the inner fringe of the city. There is much to absorb in “The Big Smoke” and you seem to have made a fantastic start to your journey. Keep on lapping up the experience and sharing it on the Almanac site. Good luck!

  9. Pamela Sherpa says

    All the best in Melbourne Josh . Your article brought back memories for me. I can remember my trip down from the country with dad over 40 years ago. He kept looking across at me in the car all the way down to Melbourne and said nothing until we pulled up and as I was about to get out of the car he said ‘And if I see you on TV in any demonstrations mixed up with those union ratbags I’ll be straight down to bring you home!”

  10. Andrew Starkie says

    Congrats and all the best, Josh. Which campus are you studying at? I’m at Holmesglen Glen Waverley these days. Let’s catch up if possible.

    Yes, memories for me as well. Mum and dad leaving me at the Lygon, Grattan St corner start of the 89 academic year. Overwhelmed, wanted to move home to Warrnambool after the first week; loved it after the second and have never looked back. Country folk in the big smoke have such an advantage – we have somewhere to escape to and can live two lives, sort of if you get my drift. One thing is for sure, once a country boy, always one.

  11. Malcolm Ashwood says

    All the best Josh love the suburb your living in ! Fellow almanac Rathaus for mixing with is a great starting point also

  12. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Bloody auto spell crap ratbags it should read

  13. Josh Barnstable says

    Thanks all.

    @Andrew, I’m at the Chadstone campus. Was at Glen Waverley last week, nice campus albeit confusing to get around.

  14. E.regnans says

    G’day Josh.
    Really enjoyed that! Funny stuff.
    Your story of car horn neighbourhood courteousy has me thinking that Kathmandu must have the most courteous drivers in the world. Happy Melbourne Town.

  15. Bob Morrow says

    Yeh I reckon I’s miss my dog too. In fact i reckon he would have been a tad up your list.

  16. Exciting times and I enjoyed reading about your move and loved the suggestion that you could do your homework at the Racecourse Hotel on a Monday morning .

  17. Good to her you’re chasing your dream Josh! I definitely think there’s a story in your move to the big smoke, show em some good ol’ country flavour in your writing!
    And maybe now it might be easier to catch up with you sometime.

  18. Andrew Gaylard says

    Josh, I’ve always envied your fluency of writing at such a ridiculously young age.

    I was going to reminisce about my country-kid-coming-up-to-Melbourne-uni moment, then Pamela Sherpa (above) wrote it for me. It happened just like that.

    I’ve always enjoyed your work here and look forward to seeing it in increasingly “respectable” publications.

  19. An excellent article, Josh; amusing on many levels. Having recently (okay, today!) stumbled across this site, I hope this is only the first instalment tracking your progression from wide-eyed country lad to Cynical Sport Journo* (if that indeed is your goal). The bookends (goalposts if you will) each struck a chord for me: first, the town of Waaia, home of the mighty Waaia Bombers. Aside from adorning the majestic red-and-black jumper, I’ll always remember the famous After the Siren flag (1990? 1991?) against Blighty, for whom a mate was playing that day. One of the most remarkable finishes I’ve witnessed.
    Secondly, well done in locating the suburb of Ashwood. For years I thought it was a section of Warrigal Road containing only a block of flats, a servo and a right-hand turn into the labyrinth which is Chadstone.

  20. Josh's dad says

    NINDY, 1990 was the one point win,Josh’s mum, Jenny videoed the game and we had to run off nearly 50 copies in the next couple of weeks. Waaia won in 1989,90, 91 and 92. In 1993 they led Mathoura by 6 goals at half time only to be beaten. Waaia won flags again in 1994 and 95, so had 6 flags from 7 consecuitive Grand Finals. The reserves also won flags in that era.

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