Why do people choose to stay or leave Katoomba?

Katoomba study: Francesca Sidoti is looking at why young people choose to stay or leave Katoomba.

Katoomba study: Francesca Sidoti is looking at why young people choose to stay or leave Katoomba.

Should I stay or should I go?

Western Sydney Uni PhD student Francesca Sidoti is hoping to discover why young people leave Katoomba, and why others stay.

Ms Sidoti, who grew up in Katoomba, left the town herself after she finished school to study in Sydney but has since returned.

She started looking at the issue when doing a masters degree, interviewing 18 young people who had either stayed or left the town.

“I was interested in ideas about choice, particularly for young adults. I really wanted to look at whether they really felt they had a choice,” she said.

For some it was a case of need – employment or education opportunities were only available elsewhere.

But for others, “it was like a rite of passage”, Ms Sidoti said. “There’s a culture around it – most spoke about feeling that they should leave at some point.”

She said many had “a sense of being stuck, of feeling they have to justify why they are staying if they don’t want to leave”.

“The thing I found really exciting was the participants had this really evocative and complex way of talking about Katoomba… Sometimes it was ambivalent but it was far more complex and detailed and interesting than I imagined.”

How place influences our lives intrigued Ms Sidoti enough to decide to continue the subject for her PhD at the university’s Institute for Culture and Society.

She is seeking people between the ages of 19 and 35 willing to take part in her survey or, in some cases, interviews. See https://surveyswesternsydney.au1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cCFAvBcxw1hSqmp or email Ms Sidoti at f.sidoti@westernsydney.edu.au.