Well Anthony I think I've solved your problem.
I went hunting the same quarry last night with a group of beginner astronomers. I knowd where it was, I had the time right, it was right at the meridian, plenty of clearance from trees and buildings, no streetlights in the direction. Couldn't go wrong you'd think. It took me damn well nearly 5 minutes to find! I was really starting to feel the fool not being able to show this group what I had promised them as an awe inspiring site.
What happened???? THAT DAMN MOON!!!! It was so bright with so much moisture in the air that M31 just looked like a smudge on the ol' 10x50s. It was so bad that earlier on I was hard pressed to find 47 Tuc.
My suggestions to you then would be get away from those street lights, wait two weeks, and then head to Qld for the Barambah Dark Sky camp, when you should arrive just in time if you have cruised up stopping to surf at all the best spots. M31 will be much higher in the sky at Barambah.