Norwich Down Under? Renovator spreads the Fine City’s name around Sydney


They say you can take the boy out of Norwich, but you can't take the Norwich out of the boy.

And now a former resident is spreading the word about the Fine City around Sydney, Australia, where he has lived since 2000.

Phil Turner moved Down Under after finishing his bachelor of arts at Norwich's University of East Anglia.

After first struggling to make a living in the harbourside metropolis he got into 'flipping' - the process of buying and renovating houses before selling them on for a profit.

The 44-year-old is now on his fifth house, and before leaving each premises he attaches a plaque, christening it with the name 'Norwich'.

Mr Turner said: 'We wanted to name a house and what better than 'Norwich'?

'It's a fine city and I'm still a Norfolk boy at heart even now I'm an Australian citizen. We'll just keep going and hopefully no one from Ipswich ever buys any of the houses and changes the sign.

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'I often get travellers from Norwich asking me about the sign and that normally leads to a long conversation over a cup of tea and lamingtons on the veranda.'

Mr Turner said he had needed to put in as lot of 'hard yakka' - Australian slang for hard work - balancing a job in human resources with renovating in his spare time.

He said: 'I had some tough times when I first moved to Sydney, including struggling to get a job and at one point finding myself homeless.

'But what I like about Australia is the 'fair go' mentality and you don't give up.

'We bought our first house in Sydney in 2008 and I got the renovation bug. After nine months I'd flipped that house and it's just kept going.'

Mr Turner now lives in an 1880s colonial house in the suburb of Annnadale with his wife Aivy and son Benjamin, 12.

They last visited family in Norwich at Christmas, where Benjamin, a keen football player, picked up a new Norwich City shirt. Mr Turner said Andrew had dreams of taking to the pitch at Carrow Road.

He said: 'He's currently playing in the National Premier League for the Balmain under 14s team, and was recently lucky enough to train with Barcelona FC. He hopes to one day play for the Canaries.'

Mr Turner grew up in Gorleston and went to Cliff Park High School.

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