City living has a price

I LIVED in Ipswich for many years. Some days I think part of me is still there – basking in the heat, drinking my Jacaranda coffee milk and growling at neighbours who can’t work out the water restrictions.

But times have changed.

I don’t know how the water usage stands since the floods, but I’m guessing it’s relaxed a bit; the F111s sit wingless at Amberley (sob); and even the Booval Dairy Farmers factory has closed (though the staple drink still exists – even if it is from Logan).

Ipswich did great things for me. I started my career there, made my first foray into the property market there, got married there (well, in nearby Kalbar) had my babies there… got walked in on by Kevin Rudd and his entourage while breastfeeding at the hospital there. Good times.

But a survey on the cost of living showed that people in the good ole Swich are paying more for food and clothing than their Brissie counterparts.

It showed (in May 2010): food was 0.6% dearer in Ipswich; clothing and footwear was 3.3% more costly and transport was 3.2% more. Though recreation and household contents and services were found to be cheaper in Ipswich.

Whether or not this is still the case, I’m reluctant to agree. I always found prices competitive and the fact alone that I could buy a home on my single income (when I was barely more than a cadet!) means I’ll always argue just how cheap living is in Ipswich.

The survey also showed that the two cheapest Queensland cities to live in are Gympie and Maryborough.

Which just goes to show – cheaper prices don’t necessarily make a town more inviting. Or maybe it’s a town’s reputation that forces prices down?

Tell any Brisbanite that you’re from Ipswich, and they’ll snort into their frappuccino. Same if you tell a Sunshine Coaster that you live in Gympie (though they’re probably drinking a fruit smoothie). Ditto: Hervey Bay and Maryborough.

It hasn’t escaped my attention that my “I don’t want to live in Maryborough despite the amazing houses at ridiculous prices!” smacks of hypocrisy when I proudly declared Ipswich’s quality living in the face of snooty Brisbanites not more than two years ago.

But I’m hard to budge. I’m still adjusting to life here and even though Maryborough is less than half an hour away, it would mean finding everything over again.

That said, I won’t enter into disparaging the Maryborough community. I’ve been on the receiving end of that and know just how it feels.

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