Leap of faith reaps rewards in Rockhampton

When South African architect Colin Strydom moved to Australia, he never imagined regional Rockhampton was where he’d make a name for himself.

“My fiancé Christelle and I thought we’d eventually wind up in Sydney or Melbourne,” Colin explains.

Rockhampton, they imagined, was just a convenient landing pad. The Queensland town had a shortage of architects which meant businesses were allowed to sponsor professionals from overseas.“It was a big move, coming from another country and a major city like Pretoria to a regional area where everything was different,” says Colin.

But the couple soon made good friends and “really started embracing what’s on offer in this part of the world – the weather, beautiful scenery and beaches nearby, combined with good infrastructure and a range of schools and hospitals. And it’s only an hour’s flight to Brisbane.”

Colin also began to see the business potential of ‘Rocky’ and after five years, started his own design and architecture business. Eight years later, it has multiple employees and has won awards for its innovative and unique designs.

“The impact you can make here is much more than you could make in a major city. Because there is so much more happening in cities, it’s difficult to stand out. You can do prominent work more readily in a place like this,” Colin says.

“The right mindset is everything.

“It’s all about your attitude and your willingness to adapt. You could be anywhere – in Antarctica or Somalia. If you are prepared for it and open to it, you will make the right friends along the way and you will access the right opportunities.”

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