Posted on September 14 2020
Source: The Australian, 20th January 2018 Read the full article below.
Yanchep was a faltering housing subdivision well beyond Perth’s northern fringe when Figge Boksjo first visited the west coast of Australia from Sweden in 1988. Entrepreneur Alan Bond had tried hard to will the development into a metropolis — he even had coastal sand dunes spray-painted green for promotional brochures.
It did not work. For years the tiny hamlet was known for cheap houses and not much else. But Yanchep’s time has come — it is among a handful of townships and communities across Australia that more than doubled in size as falling commodity prices collapsed the populations of boomtowns such as Karratha in the Pilbara.
Mr Boksjo, an IT consultant, and his wife Daniela, a tai chi instructor, joined an influx of small- business owners when they moved to Yanchep from Sydney’s north shore last May. They tell friends they found paradise. In Yanchep, 56km north of Perth and bordered by national park, they socialise with tradesmen and other professionals who work for themselves and often work from home.
“People here have that ‘go west’ spirit where they think: ‘We are out here, we have to support ourselves’,” Mr Boksjo said.
Ms Boksjo, who studied tai chi after a karate injury, now teaches locals in a studio at the couple’s hilltop home. “We loved this place so much and we felt this is going to be our destiny,” she said.
Demographer Bernard Salt has mapped Yanchep in a thriving heartland of hard-working, community-focused, sports-obsessed townships removed from big city life.
Between the censuses of 2011 and 2016, Yanchep’s population grew from 4246 to 8862, making it one of the fastest growing towns in the nation. Only 10 per cent of the workforce is employed by a government department or agency and everyone else works for private enterprise, according to Salt’s analysis. The percentage of residents working in the private sector is the equal-highest in the state with the southwest satellite city of Busselton and second-highest in the nation, behind Colac in Victoria where 91 per cent of residents work for the private sector. Large modern townhouses are cheek by jowl on the coast at Yanchep. The basic brick houses that Bond sold as part of his Yanchep Sun City dream — called “Bondies” by locals — are now popular because they are on big blocks.
Attorney-General Christian Porter and his wife Jen are among the more than 4000 people who moved to Yanchep during the five-year period analysed by Salt. The township is inside the sprawling urban and rural electorate of Pearce that Mr Porter won in 2013 after former Howard government minister Judi Moylan retired. Mr Porter describes Yanchep as a fantastic place to raise a family “and the decision that Jen and I made in 2012 to move to Yanchep has been one of our best ones”.
He says the township has real and exciting urban growth and development prospects, a reference to plans that include the extension of Perth’s northern rail line to Yanchep and his own campaign to lengthen the city’s main freeway to join Yanchep. A new high school will soon be completed and an “innovation hub” for private enterprise and research has begun.