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Consul s home away from home
Consul's home away from home

New Belgian consul for WA, Shoalwater resident Peter Roaen, relaxes at home, which will also be his office.

A quiet seaside suburb more than 50km from the Perth CBD, Shoalwater may seem like an unusual place to find an international embassy, but it is now the new home of the Belgian consulate.

Shoalwater resident Peter Roaen has been appointed as the official Belgian consul for WA and will work from his home office in his new role.

When the previous Belgian consul left WA last year, the search was on to find a suitable replacement among the Belgians living in Perth.

‘‘There are only about 250 of us living in WA, so they did not have many to choose from,’’ Mr Roaen said.

They take our backgrounds and careers into consideration, and whether we are going to stay inWAfor a long time. They also consider wherewe live and normally prefer to appoint someone who lives closer to the city, but they chose me this time.’’

Mr Roaen said his former work as an events organiser for the Belgian royal family may have played a role in him securing the position.

‘‘I used to work for the Belgian king and queen,’’ he said.

‘‘I organised anniversary parties for the royal family for the whole nation to celebrate as well as more intimate gatherings for the royals.’’

Despite a life of rubbing shoulders with royalty, Mr Roaen has even dined with the Belgian queen, the father-oftwo had no qualms leaving his former life behind to set down his roots in WA.

He and his family moved to Shoalwater five years ago after visiting the area for the first time in 2000.

‘‘My wife and I met a couple from Shoalwater when we were holidaying in Malaysia in 1999,’’ he said.

‘‘They urged us to come visit them, so a year laterwe did and just fell in love with this place. After that we visited them almost every year and saw a lot of Australia.

‘‘But no matter where we went we always found ourselves back in Shoalwater and just spending more and more time here.

‘‘We never intended to migrate, but eventually we just found that we were happier here than anywhere else in the world and it made sense to make the move.’’

Mr Roaen said it was an honour to be able to serve his home country and more importantly to be able to assist Belgians in Perth when they needed help.

‘‘I have a social work background, so I am just glad I can be of assistance to people when they are in need in a foreign country,’’ he said.

‘‘I think its important for people to be able to speak to someone from their country and know they are looked after even if they are far away from home. I’m glad I can be that person for Belgians in WA.’’