The lamingtons were fresh and the smiles were wide in Speers Point on Wednesday Lake Macquarie welcomed more than 50 new citizens hailing from 16 nations.
The citizenship ceremony at Lake Macquarie City Council’s Speers Point administration building included new Aussies ranging in age from school children to seniors, with one participant finally taking the pledge of commitment after living in Australia for 58 years.
Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Kay Fraser, said it was always a joy to welcome new citizens.
“Becoming an Australian citizen is much more than just a formality for a lot of these people,” Cr Fraser said.
“It’s an acceptance of our way of life and everything Australia has to offer.”
“Welcoming people from all walks of life and all corners of the globe to Lake Macquarie enriches our community and makes us who we are today.”
Countries of birth of people participating in today’s ceremony were: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, China, England, India, Iraq, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Ireland, Russia, South Korea, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
Lake Macquarie resident Anand Gopal Dube decided to become a citizen after moving to Australia from India 15 years ago.
“Today is a very emotional time for me,” Dr Dube said.
“I did it to completely assimilate with my adopted country. It’s a beautiful place and this is really about fully embracing Australia.”
Dr Dube’s wife and two children became naturalised earlier this year.
Also taking part in today’s ceremony were Texas native Stacy Allen and her three children, Samuel, 7, Sydney, 9 and Brett, 16.
Cr Fraser said Lake Macquarie had welcomed more than 150 new citizens across four citizenship ceremonies in 2018.
“Lake Mac is increasingly becoming a city of choice for new migrants, with the number of residents born overseas now comprising almost 15 per cent of the population,” Cr Fraser said.
“We’re proud of our diversity and of the welcoming nature of our city.”