Australia Day is the 26th January but our local council, a few years ago, changed the Australian Day Citizenship and Awards Ceremonies to the week before. Due to increased numbers of attendees at the ceremonies, Council thought hosting a more formal evening separate from the more relaxed and recreational Australia Day celebrations was a better option.
From what we experienced this evening it was the right decision.
This year the event was in our nearby town so there was no need to travel an hour or so north to the administrative hub, Nowra, and back in the busy holiday traffic.
So, along with 40 others from all over the world, the co driver took the final step in her commitment to becoming an Australian citizen by taking the pledge and receiving her certificate from the Mayor, Joanna Gash, in front of around 200 people.
It was a constant source of amusement to everyone that so many of the British conferees had taken so long to become citizens. One had lived here 64 years!!!!! Of course there are historical reasons for this but nevertheless they were all given a light hearted ribbing by the audience and even by the mayor herself who was originally from Holland.
The ceremonies were followed by nibbles and drinks.
did the new Australian celebrate the occasion? At a Thai restaurant of
course. Fish cakes, chicken satay, sweet potato curry with prawns and
stir fried chicken with chilli jam, dried chilli and cashews.
we are busy applying for an Australian passport (her permanent
residency visa was immediately cancelled on citizenship being
formalized) just in case we need to travel urgently.
She will also
be registering to vote as soon as possible in case the current
'terminally ill' government calls an early election. Voting at all
levels of government is compulsory in Australia.