New citizens proud to be Australian
THEY walked into the Lismore Town Hall wearing saris and skirts, suits and jeans, t-shirts and dresses, but they all walked out with smiles as new Australians.
From countries as diverse as Pakistan, India, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Thailand, Britain and Bangladesh, the community of Lismore welcomed 19 new Australians.
During the moving citizenship ceremony with Thomas George MP as MC, there may have been a few tears, but when the hall erupted with cheers and applause, our newest citizens couldn't help but feel the love from family and friends who had come to cheer them on as mayor Isaac Smith with Lismore's special Australia Day ambassador, chef David Bitton, presented the new Australian with their certificates and a native plant.
After the ceremony, everyone gathered for refreshments, take photos and relieve the moment where their lives had changed forever.
Dressed in a lovely sari Tania Farzana held her two-year-old daughter Zunairah while her five-year-old son Md Rawak who was the day's youngest new citizen, waved his flag at dad Md Sudur Rahmanan.
The couple who were born in Bangladesh and studying at Southern Cross University, said how happy they are to be Australian.
Charlotte Musgrove said she was delighted to become an Australian.
"I love Australia, I love the ocean here," she said.
Ceres Biag who wore a brilliant organge blouse said Australia offered so much more than her native Philippines.
"I like Australia, there's good people and it's safe," she said.
"I'm very excited to be an Australian."
Eva Yballe said she was thrilled to become an Australian.
Standing next to here partner Douglas Marks, Ms Yballe said this country offered so many opportunities.
"Australia is a safe and beautiful country," she said.
Meanwhile, the five members of the Van Tonder family said Australia offered them many opportunities.
Dad Willem and mum Marie said they were happy to swap South Africa for this wide brown land for their sons Wikus, 16, Johan, 13 and Jaco, 17.
He said citizenship ceremonies were a wonderful part of his job and an integral element of Australia Day
"This is a clear opportunity to help celebrate Australia's past, present ands future," he said.
Lismore Council chief officer Gary Murphy said it was a marvellous opportunity to meet people who chose to become part of Australia's future.