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February 3, 2022

Dating diplomacy

Although South Australia has a long-documented problem attracting young people to move into the state, it’s not so difficult when love is involved.

  • Words: Kurtis Eichler
  • Pictures: Thomas McCammon

Cat & David

Catriona Morgan never expected to find her partner while searching for a flatmate.

Four years ago, she was looking for a share house in the Spanish capital city of Madrid while living abroad and working remotely for an Australian environmental charity.


This article first appeared in CityMag’s Love Edition, which is on streets now.
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She responded to an advertisement from Madrid-born and bred David Gallardo, who was looking for a new roommate.

“We became really good friends,” Catriona says.

“In six weeks of me moving into the flat, I had a 30th birthday and invited David and we had a pash on the dance floor in the club and that was it.”

The couple bonded over their love of food, fun, wine, art, tennis and, more importantly, Rafael Nadal. Catriona would tell David stories about Adelaide’s culture and lifestyle.

“I was interested in Australia, and had been learning about the economy and the politics and its history,” David says.

“I learned about Adelaide and I was really surprised to see it was in the top 10 most liveable cities in the world.”

The couple got engaged in October 2019, and, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Australian shores, Catriona and David moved to Adelaide.

They were planning a Spanish wedding in September last year, but will have a smaller ceremony in 2022 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“I enjoyed the rhythm of the city,” David says.

“I think the thing I needed at this moment of my life was somewhere not so busy like Madrid, somewhere calm.”

David was surprised at the size of houses here compared to those in Spain, as well as the freedoms allowed in Australia by comparison to his homeland.

“We are still having a normal life, but in Spain, for seven months or more, my family there can’t go out of their tiny apartments,” he says.

The couple bought local business Natural Floors when they moved to Adelaide. David has since moved away from the business to pursue his dreams of opening a Madrid-inspired small bar in the city.

“People here are like the people in Madrid,” he says. “They like food and a good place to have a good time.”


Kaurna & Julie

A simple twist of fate led Kaurna Cronin to Julie Thornberg-Thorsøe.

The pair met at a concert in Copenhagen 10 years ago when Kaurna, a folk-rock artist, was on a hitchhiking tour through Europe. Five years later, they met again spontaneously at a Berlin concert while Kaurna was touring Europe.

“We’ve been together ever since,” Kaurna tells CityMag.

The couple did long distance for a time, before Julie, who is an aspiring fashion designer, decided to make the move to Adelaide, taking an internship with designer Naomi Murrell.

“You don’t really hear about Adelaide much when you live in Europe,” Julie says.

“I found out when I moved here that it was a really beautiful place. I love the nature that’s around – you both have the hills, and the beach and the wine regions.”

Kaurna says the couple initially talked about doing alternate summers in Europe and Adelaide but COVID-19 has stopped the travel between the continents.

Calling Adelaide home has enabled Julie to break into the fashion scene, launching her label Jutho last year.

“Adelaide is quite an affordable place to build a community and a network,” Kaurna says.

“Even though we didn’t know a lot about the fashion movement in Adelaide, we thought starting something could be achievable.”

Julie says her line is inspired by an interest in “the visual identity people have, and their personal aesthetics”.

“I never had a huge passion to be hired at a company,” she says. “So coming here, it opened up an opportunity to become a sole trader and start my own thing.”


Casey & Amy

Amy Saunders was riding a tram in Melbourne six years ago when she caught a glimpse of Casey Foley. They’d never met, but there was something about him.

Amy had moved from Adelaide to Melbourne in 2011, never expecting her morning commute would deliver romantic prospects.

“He was taking up three seats, and I thought ‘This guy’s a total dickhead’,” the kindergarten relief teacher says.

“I went to sit on the fourth seat, because he had his skateboard on one seat and his camera on the other and he was really taking up a bit of space. I thought he was cocky, but I also thought he was cute.”

The pair kept bumping into each other, connected on social media and then went on a date.

“I was sort of in my own world with my skateboard and my music,” New Zealand-born Casey says.

“Then I popped up on her Instagram and she decided to follow me, so I followed her back and just sent her my number.”

The couple moved to Adelaide last June, on the back of tough lockdowns and the high cost of living in Melbourne.

Amy also wanted to be closer to her family, who live in Belair.

“Melbourne is wonderful and there is so much to do, but at the same time, it’s so busy and if you want to get out of the city, you have to dedicate a whole day to that,” Amy says.

Casey, who works in social media marketing, found it tough making friends in his new city but says the skateboard community has been very welcoming.

 “You can be a skateboarder from the middle of nowhere and come to the city and you’ll have someone to hang out with,” he says.

“You are all just sharing the same passion and you’re all doing it for the same common cause: to have fun and be productive.”

Amy, who is also completing her Masters in Child Play Therapy, says Adelaide feels “wholesome and accepting” after her time away. Casey agrees.

“We’re putting a deposit on a place in Bowden,” he says. “We’re here forever.”

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