RAFT BUILDERS: Team Muff Balls including Jaimi-Lee Toohey, Kurt ‘Muff’ Rayner, Bianca Mavir and Billy ‘Balls’ Eller, of Coraki, preparing for the raft race at the Australia Day celebrations.
RAFT BUILDERS: Team Muff Balls including Jaimi-Lee Toohey, Kurt ‘Muff’ Rayner, Bianca Mavir and Billy ‘Balls’ Eller, of Coraki, preparing for the raft race at the Australia Day celebrations. Samantha Elley

THERE can be no greater compliment a person can give a count

THERE can be no greater compliment a person can give a country than to choose to become a permanent citizen.

That is what our newest Australians Arceli Oakes, originally from the Philippines, and Yanmei He, originally from China, did when they took their Australian citizenship pledge on Sunday at the Australia Day celebrations in Coraki.

The ladies, who now live in Casino, were welcomed as Australian citizens with huge applause.

In Kyogle the newest Australian to take the pledge was Christoph Pfzenmaier from Germany.

Another introduced Australian walked away with the Richmond Valley Citizen of the Year award as well.

Dr Juriaan Beek, of Casino, not only took the top honour but also received an OAM for his work in the community.

"In 1950 I came to Australia from the Netherlands and spoke not one word of English," he said.

"I never thought I would be up here saying an acceptance speech for this award."

The streets of Coraki came alive for all Australian citizens yesterday with the Australian and Aboriginal flags decorating all areas of the town.

The various arenas held numerous novelty events from live music to rabbit hopping, vintage cars, market stalls, hip hop dancing, dog shows and dragon boat and home-made raft racing.

AWARD RECIPIENTS

Young Sportsperson of the year - Tim Williams, Coraki

Sports Person of the Year - Dean Casey, Casino

Volunteer of the Year - Ross Cole, Rappville

Young Citizen of the Year - Matthew Jackson, Casino

Indigenous Citizen of the Year - Russell Kapeen, Coraki

Citizen of the Year - Dr Juriaan Beek, Casino



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