THE Port Stephens community welcomed 17 new Australian citizens in a ceremony held at the Port Stephens Council Chambers last Wednesday.
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The ceremony was attended by the local Federal Member for Patterson Meryl Swanson MP with Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer presiding over proceedings.
“It is such a great privilege to bear witness to the citizenship ceremonies of our newest Australians,” Ms Swanson told News Of The Area.
“Citizenship is a mark of identity and it’s a very considered choice.”
“Many of us may take our Australian citizenship for granted, but we should never underestimate what a defining and life-changing choice it can be,” she said.
Our newest ‘Aussies’ have come from all around the globe to call Port Stephens home, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Philippines, India, South Africa and Canada.
One Port Stephens family who became as dinky-di as you and I were the Kruger family.
“We came over from South Africa in 2011 on a business visa and obtained our permanent residency in 2014, living in Medowie ever since we arrived,” Yolande Kruger told News Of The Area.
“Immigration is a big and emotional roller coaster.’”
“Leaving our family and friends behind, we decided to take this journey to build our lives far away from the known, but we have quickly integrated into the community, made friends and ensured that we embrace everything that Australia offers.”
Yolande and her family, consisting of husband Johan and sons Brandon and Dylan, have been in Australia for almost seven years now and say they feel so privileged to be able to become Australian citizens.
“We fell in love with Australia and its people and the ceremony was an emotional event for us with lots of happy tears,” said Yolande.
“We can now finally call Australia home.”
The Kruger family are expecting a new baby in September, so this week’s ceremony has given them an extra special feeling, that the whole family will be Australians when their new baby arrives to join their family.
By Rachael VAUGHAN