I am Australian: Lismore welcomes 10 new citizens
On Tuesday 10 people stepped up and achieved their desire to become citizens of a country they hold dear in their hearts.
At Lismore Town Hall, friends and relations cheered and clapped as Mayor Isaac Smith welcomed the new Australians at a citizenship ceremony as part of the city’s 2021 Australia Day celebrations.
“This ceremony brings them to the final step which shows their loyalty to Australia,” Cr Smith said.
“This means they wish to become one of us and want to call Australia home.”
The 10 new citizens are: Mr Hani Baghdan, Mr David Effer, Mr Richard Lang, Mrs Rachel Nolde, Mrs Simona-Georgeta Pacleanu, Ms Christine Scott, Ms Olivia Stevens and husband and wife, Dr Iman Izadgoshasb and Niloofar Karimian.
Each new Australian after having their citizenship conferred upon them was given a certificate, a book and a native plant.
“I look forward to seeing the contribution each of you makes to Lismore, our community and to Australia,” Cr Smith said.
Outside in the bright sunshine, Niloofar Karimian and her husband Dr Iman Izadgoshasb, could hardly contain their excitement.
“I love Lismore, I love Australia”, Ms Karimian, 39, said.
“We came out more than eight years from Iran after I was offered a place to do my PhD at Southern Cross University.”
Dr Izadgoshasb said they both now lecture at SCU after undertaking PhD studies there, Ms Karimian in environmental science and Dr Izadgoshasb, 44, in engineering.
“We are so happy to be part of Lismore, to be Australian,” he said.
New citizen Hani Baghdan was cheered on by his friends when he collected his certificate.
“I came here from Damascus in Syria six years ago,” he said.
“I’ve spent most of my time in Sydney but my home for a while will be in Lismore.”
Former Kiwi Christine Scott who owns Lismore’s popular vintage store Gleanings, said she felt a sense of purpose in becoming an Australian citizen.
“We started doing our family history and found out my father’s family came out to Tasmania in 1815, so our ties are probably stronger to Australia than to New Zealand,” she said.
”I am really looking forward to voting.”