Ex-pat series: Enjoying what Oz has to offer

Leyland ex-pat Peter Harris is now living in Australia, and works on oil rigs
Leyland ex-pat Peter Harris is now living in Australia, and works on oil rigs
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Kay Taylor speaks to one former Leyland lad who jetted off around the world and ended up in Australia.

Peter Harris was just 26 when he decided to leave Leyland and pursue a globe-trotting career.

The engineer, who grew up in the Broadfield estate and went to Leyland St Mary’s high school, spends most of his time with his family in Australia, but regularly works abroad in the offshore oil and gas industry.

Peter, 50, says: “I travel a lot with my work, mainly Asia, but at present I also have five sites in Germany, two in Japan, and one each in Malaysia and Indonesia.”

For that reason, he treasures the time he spends with his wife Piona, a Bidayuh Dayak from North Borneo, and daughter Rebecca, who Peter describes as being a ‘true Blue Aussie’.

“My family are my main hobby,” he says. “We do all sorts of good things together and we all have the same sense of humour.

“I like to relax with a beer and a barbecue, and we live in the city of Perth, where I can read the scoreboard of the WACA Cricket Ground from my balcony.

“I also play a guitar (very badly) for relaxation, and we have a pool table at our place that I like to try every now and then.”

The trio also visit Peter and Piona’s hometowns occasionally, and come back to Leyland up to four times a year.

Peter’s dad John, a former Leyland Motors worker and part-time fireman, has now died, but his mum Marie still lives in the Broadfield estate.

Peter, who worked for British Gas in Preston when he lived in South Ribble, says: “I had a lot of good friends in Leyland, and we still catch up when I’m over. Some have even visited me in Australia.

“In January this year I met Jim McCartan, who was my best mate at school when I was doing some work in London.”

He adds: “My daughter loved Blackpool, there is no equivalent to Blackpool anywhere.”

Although he has fond memories from his childhood and teen years, Peter has never once regretted leaving Leyland in 1987.

“Emigrating was the best thing I have ever done,” he reveals.

“It opened my eyes to a new world full of wonder and difference.

“It also gave me the opportunity to make my own way in the world, and I am part of a wonderful family here and in Lancashire.”

- Do you know a Chorley or Leyland ex-pat who would like to be featured in our new series?

Email kay.taylor@lep.co.uk