Moving back to Ballarat has meant Christopher Zeegers can share childhood experiences with his daughter.
Last year he bought his seven-year-old daughter’s first bicycle from the same shop where his father bought his first bike decades ago.
“It was amazing to think the same gentleman who helped my dad and me 40 years ago helped my daughter all that time later,” he said.
Mr Zeegers moved to Ballarat from Melbourne with his wife and daughter in 2012, with a memory of Ballarat as an ideal place to raise a family.
“It is a much more relaxed pace and atmosphere than we were living in in Melbourne,” he said.
“Plus we have got a lifestyle where we are closer to family and friends and can have a better community feel than we probably had in Melbourne.”
Mr Zeegers grew up in Cardigan Village on a property with motorbikes and went to school at St Patrick’s College.
He originally moved to Melbourne with his partner, who is also from Ballarat, in the search for work and increased opportunities.
Mr Zeegers now travels to Melbourne on the train every day, continuing to work in Melbourne in the IT department of a large company.
He said the hour and a half journey could be challenging with punctuality and reliability issues, but it was worth it to return home to Ballarat.
“We have one family member two blocks away and the rest within 20km. Before when we were in Melbourne it was 150km, and we would have to plan weeks in advance to get back for birthdays,” he said.
Mr Zeegers said he was amazed to see Ballarat’s growth when they returned to the city about six years ago.
Years ago it was paddocks. But with growth comes opportunity.Christopher Zeegers
“With the landscape of Ballarat changing markedly we are seeing things like wine bars and restaurants and all of the great places that have been established in the last five or six years in Ballarat.
“Now we can take advantage of things like walking down to the Rockabilly Festival or White Night.
“Having Ballarat as a vibrant destination for people to come to is great, and the locals like us can take advantage of these festivals too.”
According to Mr Zeegers, his family have no plans to move again.
With a great CBD located home, a daughter happily in grade one at school, and Mrs Zeegers working in Ballarat, Mr Zeegers is here to stay.
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