Australia’s Best Citizenship Ceremonies: How Local Councils Are Helping Forge a New Australia - GLOMO

Australia’s Best Citizenship Ceremonies: How Local Councils Are Helping Forge a New Australia

From this time forward, under God*
I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people,
whose democratic beliefs I share,
whose rights and liberties I respect, and
whose laws I will uphold and obey.
*A person may choose whether or not to use the words “under God”

Every year, tens of thousands of new Aussies are welcomed into this wide brown land. Not by birth, that curious accident of geography and biology, but by pomp and circumstance at official citizenship ceremonies held by local councils across the country. Arguably (more on this below), it is fitting that most local councils choose to host these ceremonies on Australia Day, gathering together people of all origins to recite the pledge of commitment, the final step in their journey to become Australians.

Most of us are aware of this on some level, but how many of us have attended a citizenship ceremony? What actually happens? And by what special enchantment do these councils transform people of every origin imaginable into true blue, fair dinkum Aussies?

Well, Global Mobility Lawyers & Migration Agents decided to find out – not just what goes on at citizenship ceremonies, but what lies at the very heart of what it means to be Australian in 2019.

As well as a whole bunch of trivia.

Ever wondered which food is the most Australian of Australian foods, or which music is the most Aussie to be found in the land?

We now have the answers!

Or are you curious about how many new citizens your own council welcomed in the past year?

Search our interactive map below – the numbers are in!

We interviewed 72 of local government’s best and brightest, and their answers were nothing short of inspirational.

We laughed, we cried, we ate meat pies (not always in that order).

Search the heat map below to see how many new citizens your local government area welcomed in 2017-2018 (as reported by Department of Home Affairs)

A Really Brief History of Citizenship Ceremonies

The first ever “naturalisation ceremony” took place at Canberra’s Albert Hall on the 3rd of February, 1949. It was a small, sombre affair compared to the celebrations we hold today, but it marked the historic moment that we stopped calling ourselves “British subjects” and became full-fledged Australians.

Australia’s inaugural “naturalisation” ceremony: black & white photograph of white & white men

Seven men attended, representing one person from each state and the ACT. These first seven official Australian citizens hailed from everywhere: Greece to Norway, Czechoslovakia to Spain, France, Denmark and Yugoslavia. Multiculturalism was off to a good start. Well, as long as you were white, European and male.

Of course there is another side of Australian history. Accordingly, a number of councils invite local Indigenous Elders to speak, sing or perform Welcomes to Country at their citizenship ceremonies. Amongst the thoroughly modern trappings of the day, these ancient traditions help remind conferees of the tens of thousands of years of history of which they’re now a part.

Modern Citizenship Ceremonies:  Lamingtons, Karaoke and Goats

Modern citizenship ceremonies: more oomph in general

A lot has changed in the nearly 70 years since that first ceremony. Today’s events are bigger, more colourful and embrace a more exuberant notion of Australian culture. Councils from across the country hold celebrations where friends and family feast on lamingtons, belt out karaoke versions of the national anthem and then listen, rapt, to the haunting tones of ‘Down Under’ by Men At Work, as their loved one takes the solemn pledge to go full Aussie.

The rites of passage are as varied as the people participating. The Shire of Augusta-Murray River spoke to us of one conferee who brought a goat to one of their ceremonies, as it was a significant animal in his culture. Meanwhile the City of Armadale told us about a trio of young boys dressed for the occasion in flashy three piece suits, while the City of Moreland recounted a conferee slightly holding up the ceremony by taking the time to high-five all of his friends on the way back to his seat.

Of course, there are still some formalities involved, including inviting the Minister for Immigration. Speeches from the Minister or their representative are a must, while other prominent Australians in attendance are encouraged to get up and say a few words of encouragement to our newest citizens. Incorporating aspects of Indigenous culture is also encouraged. Logan City Council, for instance, accompanies each ceremony with a performance by the Nunukul Yuggera Dance Troupe

Mayor Joe Paronella of Tablelands Regional council, a second generation Australian himself, refers to his role administering citizenship ceremonies as “an honour and a privilege”. Mayor Greg Christensen of Scenic Rim Regional Council recalled young Alfie, a two year old dressed in a tiny suit who was “a wonderful reminder of the essence of citizenship, full of joy, hope and excitement about his dreams for life in Australia.”

The Top 10 Aussiest Foods

Lamingtons, statistically proven to be the most Australian food

We are a young country, not famed for our curry or croissants. Our land abounds in nature’s gifts, yet we boast of no gnocchi, wontons, gyoza, pierogi or any form of national dumpling.

Nevertheless, there’s still a basket of quintessentially Aussie food that can be served up to new citizens. While a tub of Vegemite might just scare some of them off, meat pies (served by 15% of councils), Tim-Tams (served by 6% of councils) and, of course, laminations (served by 52% of councils), are all on the menu. Some councils (9%) even harken back to our British roots and serve scones with jam and cream, under the stern gaze and stiff upper lip of the obligatory portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Top 10 most Australian foods, as served at citizenship ceremonies

The hospitality doesn’t just go one way either. Bega Valley Shire council recounts one conferee who drew on the grand Australian tradition of BYO – bringing her own lamingtons to share, because this was “the Aussie thing to do, to bring a plate to any get- together”. Similarly, Albury City council spoke fondly of an attendee who brought a cake in the shape of Australia, baked in the colours of the Australian flag, adorned with kangaroos and koalas.

What People Wear to Citizenship Ceremonies

It’s hard to strike a solemn tone in a country whose closest approximation of a national dress is a cork hat and flip-flops (sorry cobber: thongs). While the Minister or their representative is obligated to dress formally at a citizenship ceremony, the conferees and guests are not.

Sartorial choices range from suits to singlets; conferees and guests come draped in everything from the Australian flag to traditional Indigenous art.

But that freedom of fashion may now be under threat. While councils such as Tweed Shire and Shellharbour City have, for many years, welcomed new citizens decked out in full Aussie regalia – shorts, Australian flag t-shirt and stubbie in hand – the Prime Minister has recently suggested a potential dress code banning boardshorts and thongs.

It’s almost…unAustralian.

Thongs and boardies aside, successive generations of immigrants have found ways to incorporate their cultures of origin into their Australian identities, and this is often made apparent by their choices of garb in citizenship ceremonies. Cessnock City council, for example, spoke of one older conferee who arrived in traditional Thai dress. She solemnly took to the stage to collect her certificate, then broke into an excited “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!”.

With moments such as these, can anyone really doubt former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s oft- repeated claim that we are the most successful multicultural society on earth?

The Top 10 Most Australian Music

The national anthem is an obligatory feature at every ceremony, but it’s hardly their sole soundtrack.

No-one can recall the Anthem’s second stanza – especially when it’s projected behind them

We discovered that several councils invite their official Town Criers to open the ceremonies. Local school choirs and music groups have also been invited to sing the national anthem and then follow it up with an Australian song of their choice.

This made us wonder: what qualifies as an Australian song? Well, if there was ever any doubt as to what music takes the mantle of most Australian – Barnsy? Farnsy? – our meticulous research puts that to rest. We found the most common musical accompaniments include Waltzing Matilda (played at 9% of ceremonies), ‘I Am Australian’ by The Seekers (also played at 9% of ceremonies) and Home Among The Gumtrees by John Williamson (played at 6% of ceremonies). Sing-alongs are always encouraged.

Top 10 Aussiest music, as played at citizenship ceremonies

When the Kangaroo Droppings Hit the Fan

Council staff play an important role in citizenship ceremonies. Selfies of freshly minted Aussies together with beaming Mayors and Councillors are a common feature of many ceremonies across the country. Councillors have also been known to get more informally involved in the ceremonies themselves. Henry Zelones OAM, mayor of the City of Armadale, told us that at one event, some of the children felt too shy to climb up on stage in front of the assembled crowd.

In a flash of genius, one of the councillors “jumped out during the singing of Home Among the Gum Trees and started hopping around the stage like a Kookaburra.” This break in the formality gave all of the smallest new citizens the confidence to climb up on stage and join in the festivities.

The cuter side of citizenship ceremonies

Of course, things don’t always go exactly according to plan.

After one particularly dry summer in Bourke Shire council, in which the kangaroos had moved into town to graze, one new citizen took her solemn pledge surrounded by  “the largest amount of kangaroo droppings that had been seen in a long time”.

In the Shire of Peppermint Grove an unusually strong breeze blew the official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II clean off stage in the middle of the ceremony.

Facts and Figures: Bloody Oath

Taking the Oath or Affirmation

According to Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers & Migration Agents’ research, there are marked differences from state to state. For example, conferees can choose whether or not to mention God when they take the pledge of commitment. We discovered that Queensland and South Australia had the most God-fearing ceremonies, with 74% of new citizens choosing to mention God. On the other end of the spectrum, Tasmania had the lowest number, with only 49% pledging in the name of the big Citizen upstairs.

Oath vs Affirmation: a comparison by state

While citizenship ceremonies are overwhelmingly happy occasions, they are often the end of a difficult journey and a complicated legal process, and tears of joy are not unknown. Observations of council staff across Australia, indicate that Tasmania are the most likely to well up during a ceremony (as mainlanders may have already suspected) with 50% of attendees crying. Meanwhile Queensland are the most cool, calm and collected, with only 1% needing to reach for their handkerchiefs.

Of councils observing tears, how different states compare

Frankly, some of the stories we heard had us misting up a little ourselves. Bundaberg Regional council, for example, told us about a conferee who had been diagnosed with cancer during her citizenship approval process and had not long to live. The council agreed to perform a private ceremony at her home with only her family in attendance. Similarly, Towong Shire Council spoke of an attendee who sought citizenship to please his Aboriginal wife – she died before the process was complete, but he completed the ceremony anyway because he felt that he wanted to honour her.

Controversy

Australia Day is, in some respects, the perfect day to celebrate citizenship of a nation that has been so profoundly shaped and reshaped, made more generous and welcoming, by immigration. However it must also be acknowledged that some people  (and some councils) object to this date and the history it represents to our Indigenous citizens. It’s a vexed issue, reflective of the fact that there are aspects of our past that we are not particularly proud of and still struggle to come to terms with.

A handful of councils have stopped holding citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day. In response, Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently announced his government’s intention to update the Citizenship Ceremonies Code to require all councils to hold ceremonies on January 26th.

Clearly, the debate over what Australia Day represents – or should represent – is ongoing. Nonetheless, most councils still use Australia Day to celebrate the positive aspects of our past. Many invite members of local Indigenous communities to participate in their ceremonies on January 26th, a small step to reconciling the meaning of this contentious date.

What Citizenship Ceremonies Tell Us About Who We Are

Beyond the controversies, beneath the intoxicating veneer of lamingtons and the froth and bubble of assorted Australiana, one might still wonder what exactly is being conferred at these ceremonies. Ostensibly, some very specific rights, responsibilities and a commemorative coin or two.

But what do these rites and symbols actually symbolise? And what do all these people, of every race, religion and ethnicity, share in common?

In other words: what does it mean to be Australian?

The answer, to state the obvious, is somewhere in between what it has meant to be Australian in the past and what it will mean in future – a cultural continuum shaped by the differing waves and splashes of immigration we have known since 1788.

Perhaps a nation is merely the sum total of its citizens – and our new ones hail from India (22% of new citizens in 2018), the Phillipines (6%), South Africa (4%), Sri Lanka (4%), Ireland (3%), South Korea (3%), Malaysia (2%), New Zealand (2%) – too many to list..

Top 10 nationalities of origin of new citizens 2017-2018, as reported by Department of Home Affairs

But we are also more than just the sum of our parts. We are a nation, magnificent and flawed, with a culture still defined by transformation. And nowhere is this more evident than in the ceremonies conducted by councils around Australia, to make a stranger, as if by miracle, one of us.

by Global Mobility Immigration Lawyers & Migration Agents

https://glomo.com.au

Text by Mason Keene-McCann & Ariel Brott

See below for Australia’s best citizenship ceremonies – and what each council said…

Interviews conducted by Jean Morton and Cindy Cameronne, Oct-Dec 2018.

Bundaberg Regional Council

Areas covered: Abbotsford, Abington, Alloway, Apple Tree Creek, Ashfield, Avenell Heights, Avoca, Avondale, Bargara, Boolboonda, Booyal, Branyan, Bucca, Bullyard, Bundaberg Central, Bundaberg East, Bundaberg North, Bundaberg South, Bundaberg West, Bungadoo, Burnett Heads, Buxton, Calavos, Childers, Coonarr, Coral Cove, Cordalba, Dalga, Dalysford, Damascus, Delan, Doolbi, Doughboy, Drinan, Duingal, Electra, Elliott, Elliott Heads, Eureka, Fairymead, Farnsfield, Gaeta, Gin Gin, Givelda, Gooburrum, Goodwood, Good Night (part), Gregory River, Horse Camp, Horton, Innes Park, Isis Central, Isis River, Kalkie, Kalpowar (part), Kensington, Kepnock, Kinkuna, Kolonga, Kullogum, Lake Monduran, Maroondan, McIlwraith, Meadowvale, Miara, Millbank, Molangul, Monduran, Mon Repos, Moolboolaman, Moore Park Beach, Moorland, Morganville, Mullett Creek, Nearum, New Moonta, North Gregory, North Isis, Norville, Oakwood, Pine Creek, Promised Land, Qunaba, Redhill Farms, Redridge, Rosedale (part), Rubyanna, Sharon, Skyring Reserve, South Bingera, South Isis, South Kolan, St Agnes, St Kilda, Svensson Heights, Takilberan, Thabeban, Tirroan, Walkervale, Wallaville, Watalgan, Waterloo, Welcome Creek, Windermere, Winfield, Wonbah, Wonbah Forest, Woodgate, Woongarra and Yandaran.

Interviewee: Kim Ovens, Protocol Officer

Most common country of origin: UK and India

Australian foods served: Lamingtons and sausage rolls

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Recipient appearing at Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony in shorts, singlet and thongs

Gifts provided: Australian native plant and commemorative gold coin

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 90% oath, 10% affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment:We were requested to do a private ceremony for a Citizenship Recipient who had been  approved,  however during the approval process they had been diagnosed with cancer and had not long to live. We went out to their home and did the Citizenship Ceremony with the lady and her close family. It was an honor to do this, but also a very sad occasion.

Tablelands Regional Council

Areas covered: Atherton, Barrine, Beatrice, Butchers Creek, Carrington, Danbulla, East Barron, Ellinjaa, Evelyn, Gadgarra, Glen Allyn, Glen Ruth, Gunnawarra, Herberton, Innot Hot Springs, Jaggan, Kaban, Kairi, Kalunga, Kirrama, Koombooloomba, Kureen, Lake Barrine, Lake Eacham, Lake Tinaroo, Maalan, Malanda, Middlebrook, Millaa Millaa, Millstream, Minbun, Minnamoolka, Moomin, Moregatta, Mount Garnet, Mungalli, North Johnstone, Palmerston (part), Peeramon, Ravenshoe, Silver Valley, Tarzali, Tinaroo, Tolga, Topaz, Tumoulin, Upper Barron, Wairuna, Walkamin, Wondecla, Wongabel, Wooroonooran (part) and Yungaburra

Interviewee: Mayor Joe Paronella

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 3-4 ceremonies per year

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 80

Most common country of origin: varied

Australian foods served: Lamingtons and sausage rolls

Australian music played: just the National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: When people come dressed in t-shirts and thongs, the ocher look and a family brought a cake to share, and there was enough for the 80 people in attendance

Gifts provided: Certificate signed by the Mayor and the Minister for Immigration, Native Australian Plant from the Council nursery

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 70-80% oath, 30-20% affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: I love doing Citizenship Ceremonies, it such a big decision that those people have to make. I try to make it as jovial, as formal as we can, there is no degree of ah you have just signed a piece of paper and off you go…

Although I have not seen people cry, there is a lot of pride. The amount of photos I am invited to join with and things like that. It is a very proud day and it always a very joyous occasion. It is something I love doing, and seeing the expression on people’s faces.

If I could have 500 people from the community coming to the Ceremony I would. I am second generation Australian myself, my family are originally from Spain. It is something that my grandparents went through and they were always proud of their Citizenship. I think it is a very lucky country we have, and if you have something to offer the country then you are welcome.

Toowoomba Regional Council

Areas covered: Acland, Anduramba, Ascot, Athol, Aubigny, Back Plains, Balgowan, Bergen, Biddeston, Birnam, Blue Mountain Heights, Bongeen, Boodua, Bowenville, Branchview, Bringalily, Brookstead, Broxburn, Brymaroo, Budgee, Bulli Creek, Cabarlah, Cambooya, Canning Creek, Captains Mountain, Cattle Creek, Cawdor, Cecil Plains, Centenary Heights, Charlton, Cherry Creek, Clifton, Clontarf, Coalbank, Condamine Farms, Condamine Plains, Cooyar, Cotswold Hills, Cranley, Cressbrook Creek, Crows Nest, Cutella, Cypress Gardens, Darling Heights, Devon Park, Djuan, Doctor Creek, Domville, Douglas, Drayton, Dunmore, East Cooyar, East Greenmount, East Toowoomba, Ellangowan, Elphinstone, Emu Creek, Evanslea, Evergreen, Felton, Felton South, Finnie, Forest Ridge, Formartin, Geham, Gilla, Glenaven, Glencoe, Glenvale, Googa Creek, Goombungee, Gowrie Junction, Gowrie Little Plain, Gowrie Mountain, Grapetree, Grassdale, Grays Gate, Greenmount, Greenwood, Groomsville, Haden, Hampton, Harlaxton, Harristown, Headington Hill, Highfields, Highgrove, Highland Plains, Hirstglen, Hodgson Vale, Irongate, Irvingdale, Jondaryan, Jones Gully, Kearneys Spring, Kelvinhaugh, Kilbirnie, Kincora, Kings Creek, Kings Siding, Kingsthorpe, Kleinton, Kooralgin, Kooroongarra, Kulpi, Kurrowah, Lavelle, Lemontree, Leyburn, Lilyvale, Linthorpe, Maclagan, Malling, Malu, Manapouri, Meringandan, Meringandan West, Merritts Creek, Middle Ridge, Millmerran, Millmerran Downs, Millmerran Woods, Millwood, Missen Flat, Motley, Mount Binga, Mount Darry, Mount Emlyn, Mount Irving, Mount Kynoch, Mount Lofty, Mount Luke, Mount Molar, Mount Moriah, Mount Rascal, Mount Tyson, Mountain Camp, Muldu, Muniganeen, Nangwee, Narko, Nevilton, Newtown, Nobby, North Branch, North Maclagan, North Toowoomba, Norwin, Nutgrove, Oakey, Palmtree, Pampas, Pechey, Peranga, Perseverance, Pierces Creek, Pilton, Pinelands, Pittsworth, Plainby, Preston, Prince Henry Heights, Punchs Creek, Purrawunda, Quinalow, Ramsay, Rangemore, Rangeville, Ravensbourne, Redwood, Rockville, Rocky Creek, Rosalie Plains, Rossvale, Ryeford, Sabine, Sandy Camp, Scrubby Mountain, Silverleigh, South Toowoomba, Southbrook, Spring Bluff, Spring Creek, Springside, St Aubyn, St Helens, St Ruth, Stonehenge, Stoneleigh, The Bluff, The Pines, Thornville, Tipton, Toowoomba City, Top Camp, Torrington, Tummaville, Turallin, Umbiram, Upper Cooyar Creek, Upper Pilton, Upper Pinelands, Upper Yarraman, Vale View, Victoria Hill, Wainui, Wattle Ridge, Wellcamp, West Haldon, West Prairie, Westbrook, Western Creek, Whichello, Wilsonton, Wilsonton Heights, Woodleigh, Woolmer, Woondul, Wutul, Wyreema, Yalangur, Yandilla, Yargullen, Yarraman and Yarranlea.

Interviewee: Kate Tawns, Mayoral Support Officer, Governance Branch

Number of new citizens processed in the past year:At the moment, we have a Ceremony generally every 2 months. The last ceremony we had, we welcomed 93 new Citizens into the region. The average amount is between 60 and 100 candidates. Each year, we definitely have a ceremony the day before Australia Day and on Citizenship Day which is the 17th September. These ceremonies are the most popular

Most common country of origin: Sudan, South Africa, India, the Philippines, China, etc

Australian foods served: Lamingtons, Bushels Tea and sandwiches

Australian music played: Australian Anthem at the closing of every Ceremony, Waltzing Matilda, True Blue, Home Among the Gum Trees, Land Down Under, etc.

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Sometimes new Citizens or their families who come to support them wear funny/classic Australian outfits/accessories. It’s great when a Candidate or their family cheer when their name is called and chant Aussie Aussie Aussie or they’re Australian nickname they’ve given them.

Gifts provided: native plant, Australian flag, Australian Citizenship coin and badge, photos from the ceremony (sent afterwards)

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 17% affirmation? (Our last ceremony we had 16 candidates out of 93 who swear by affirmation)

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Albury City Council

Areas covered: Albury, East Albury, Ettamogah, Glenroy, Hamilton Valley, Lake Hume Village, Lavington, North Albury, South Albury, Splitters Creek, Springdale Heights, Table Top (part), Thurgoona, West Albury and Wirlinga

Interviewee: Ros Wells, Events Team Leader

Number of ceremonies in the past year: six ceremonies per year

Most common country of origin: India

Australian foods served: no catering provided

Australian music played: National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: The most Australian thing I have seen was a cake that was made especially for two of the clients by a friend – it was the shape of Australia, colours of the flag and had their names written across the top as well as a kangaroo and koala on top, it was brilliant.

Gifts provided: welcome pack that include a card with the word of the national anthem, branded AlburyCity ‘keep cup’, drink bottle, vegemite and native plant and children are given a native wildlife toy

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 50/50

Percentage of people who cry: 0% (lots of smiles)

Ballina Shire Council

Areas covered: Alstonvale, Alstonville, Bagotville, Ballina, Broken Head (part), Brooklet, Cabbage Tree Island, Coolgardie, Cumbalum, Dalwood, East Ballina, East Wardell, Empire Vale, Fernleigh, Goat Island, Keith Hall, Knockrow, Lennox Head, Lynwood, Marom Creek (part), Mcleans Ridges (part), Meerschaum Vale, Newrybar (part), Patchs Beach, Pearces Creek (part), Pimlico, Pimlico Island, Rous, Rous Mill, Skennars Head, South Ballina, Teven, Tintenbar, Tuckombil, Uralba, Wardell, West Ballina and Wollongbar

Interviewee: Mayor, Cr David Wright

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 4 or 5 a year

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 33

Most common country of origin: United Kingdom

Australian foods served: Meat pies, lamingtons, fairy bread, lots of fruit, Australian flags in the food

Australian music played: Traditional – just National Anthem, although sometimes will do a country version, or a karaoke version.

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony:We like to create a relaxed Australian atmosphere, lots of people do not want to leave at the end, they want to ask us questions and keep talking.

We had a couple two ceremonies back, and one lady had been here for fifty years or so, and she just cried her eyes out.

Gifts provided: Australian Native Plant (from Ballina Shire Nursery), Gold Dollar coin minted each year (commemorative of Citizenship)

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: about 50/50

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: We had one conferee from a non-English speaking background arrive with a plate of lamingtons to share, even though Council had advised that catering would be provided. She stated this was because it was the “The Aussie thing to do was to bring a plate to any get together”

Bega Valley Shire Council 

Areas covered: Angledale, Bald Hills, Barragga Bay, Bega, Bemboka, Bermagui, Berrambool, Black Range, Bournda, Boydtown, Broadwater, Brogo, Buckajo, Burragate, Candelo, Cathcart (part), Chinnock, Cobargo, Coolagolite, Coolangubra, Coopers Gully, Cuttagee, Devils Hole, Dignams Creek (part), Doctor George Mountain, Eden, Edrom, Frogs Hollow, Green Cape, Greendale, Greenlands (part), Greigs Flat, Jellat Jellat, Kalaru, Kameruka, Kanoona, Kiah, Kingswood, Lochiel, Merimbula, Millingandi, Mirador, Mogareeka, Mogilla, Morans Crossing, Mount Darragh, Mumbulla Mountain, Murrah, Myrtle Mountain, Nadgee, Narrabarba, Nelson, Nethercote, New Buildings, Nullica, Numbugga, Nungatta (part), Nungatta South, Pambula, Pambula Beach, Pericoe, Quaama, Reedy Swamp, Rocky Hall, South Pambula, South Wolumla, Steeple Flat (part), Stony Creek, Tanja, Tantawangalo, Tarraganda, Tathra, Timbillica, Tinpot (part), Toothdale, Towamba, Tura Beach, Verona, Wadbilliga (part), Wallaga Lake, Wallagoot, Wandella, Wapengo, Wog Wog, Wolumla, Wonboyn, Wonboyn North, Wyndham, Yambulla, Yankees Creek, Yellow Pinch and Yowrie (part)

Interviewee: Janelle Curtis, Acting Governance Coordinator

Most common country of origin:Thailand, United Kingdom and India

Australian foods served: Anzac Biscuits, Lamingtons, Scones

Australian music played: National Anthem

Gifts provided: Native Plant, Certificate signed by the Mayor (with words to National Anthem), Locally published books on history or Inidgenous Culture, Citizenship $1 Commemorative coin, Pewter Letter opener featuring Australian Fauna(one or two of the above are selected)

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 50/50

Percentage of people who cry: 10%

Comment: A married couple whose country of origin was India had purchased a service station in a small village within the Shire. The husband had converted part of their garage into a “man cave” as he had embraced the Lyrics of Australian Country and Western Artist, John Williamson’s song “The Shed – “Yeah, all Australian boys need a shed” The husband sang the song and related an anecdote on how he had negotiated with his wife to have time off from their 24 hour a day 7 day a week business on weekends, to spend time with his “Aussie mates” in the shed. As dedicated as they both were to their cultural work ethic he had convinced his wife that this was a necessary part of assimilation into his new community.

Edward River Council

Areas covered:  Moulamein, Barratta, Booroorban, Willurah, Morago, Wanganella, Steam Plains, Four Corners, Mabins Well, Moonbria, Conargo, Pretty Pine, Wandook, Warragoon, Birganbigil, Lindifferon, Hartwood, Coree, Logie Brae, Myrtle Park, Pine Lodge, Tuppal

Interviewee: Belinda Perrett, Executive Assistant

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 4

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 15 , (10 families)

Most common country of origin: Philippines, South Africa

Australian foods served: Sponge cake

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem

Gifts provided: Commemorative coin for all conferees, Native Plant for the adults and an Australian Native animal soft toy for the children

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 90% oath, 10% affirmation

Comment:We are a small regional council, and so we do not have that many conferees per year becoming citizens. Our ceremonies are small and I think this gives them a warm and intimate atmosphere. With our recent ceremonies we have them in the Heritage Centre, in the gallery room, which gives it quite an intimate atmosphere..

City of Cantebury Bankstown Council

Areas covered: Ashbury (part), Bankstown, Bankstown Aerodrome, Bass Hill, Belfield (part), Belmore, Beverly Hills (part), Birrong, Campsie, Canterbury, Chester Hill (part), Chullora, Clemton Park, Condell Park, Croydon Park (part), Earlwood, East Hills, Georges Hall, Greenacre (part), Hurlstone Park (part), Kingsgrove (part), Lakemba, Lansdowne, Milperra, Mount Lewis, Narwee (part), Padstow, Padstow Heights, Panania, Picnic Point, Potts Hill, Punchbowl, Regents Park (part), Revesby, Revesby Heights, Riverwood (part), Roselands, Sefton, Villawood (part), Wiley Park and Yagoona

Interviewee: City of Canterbury Bankstown Mayor, Khal Asfour

Number of ceremonies in the past year: Monthly ceremonies (12)

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: typically 120 candidates

Most common country of origin: China, Lebanon, Vietnam, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Nepal

Australian foods served: tea, coffee, lamingtons and muffins

Australian music played: National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Simply how proud people are when they become a citizen and how eager they are to be fully immersed in our City.

Gifts provided: City of Cantebury Bankstown drink bottle and photo with the Mayor

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: varies from ceremony to ceremony

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment:As an incredibly multicultural and diverse City, we have people from many different backgrounds attending our ceremonies.

I am always moved by how proud people are to become Australian citizens. It is an important time in their lives and I am humbled to be a part of that experience.

Each of our ceremonies are welcoming of our new citizens and I make sure they understand the great honour it is not only to be an Australian citizen, but also part of our great City. (Cantebury Bankstown City)

Cessnock City Council

Areas covered: Aberdare, Abermain, Abernethy, Allandale (part), Bellbird, Bellbird Heights, Big Yengo, Bishops Bridge (part), Black Hill (part), Branxton (part), Brunkerville, Buchanan, Bucketty (part), Buttai, Cedar Creek, Cessnock, Cliftleigh (part), Congewai, Corrabare, East Branxton, Ellalong, Elrington, Four Mile Creek, Greta, Greta Main, Heddon Greta, Kearsley, Keinbah, Kitchener, Kurri Kurri, Laguna, Lochinvar (part), Lovedale, Loxford, Millfield, Moruben, Mount View, Mount Vincent, Mulbring, Neath, North Rothbury, Nulkaba, Olney, Paxton, Paynes Crossing (part), Pelaw Main, Pelton, Pokolbin (part), Quorrobolong, Richmond Vale, Rothbury, Sawyers Gully, Stanford Merthyr, Stockrington, Sweetmans Creek, Weston and Wollombi

Interviewee: Cessnock City Mayor, Councillor Bob Pynsent

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 4

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 80 people (approx.)

Most common country of origin: UK

Australian foods served: Lamingtons and vanilla slices

Australian music played: Students from local high schools sing the Australian National Anthem and another song chosen by Music Department

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: A lady dressed in national Thai dress, an older lady, and she came to collect her certificate she yells out Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi and it broke the formality

Gifts provided: Native Plant, Citizenship Coin, minted in Perth

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 70% oath, 30%  Affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: There is nothing like seeing the Town Crier, he has a large bell and calls out ‘he ye’ and does the traditional spiel and sing the “Barbeque Song”. We involve students from the local high schools, they sing the National Anthem and a second Australian song. I think it is very important for these students, who are 16 or 17 years old to have the experience of seeing a Citizenship Ceremony, which they would not have seen before.

It is the most moving thing I do as Mayor. It is a very important thing, and before I started doing the Citizenship Ceremonies I did not realise, but after I did my first one, I saw what it meant to these people, it is a very moving thing. When there is a family becoming citizens, we do it as one family unit, the adults and the children come up together, and this is important because it binds the family together.

We are always thinking about how we can improve our Citizenship Ceremonies, and we go to other Council Ceremonies, to see how they also do it, and how they make them as personal as possible

Eurobadalla Shire Council

Areas covered: Akolele, Batehaven, Batemans Bay, Belowra, Benandarah, Bergalia, Bimbimbie, Bingie, Bodalla, Broulee, Buckenbowra, Cadgee, Catalina, Central Tilba, Coila, Congo, Corunna, Currowan (part), Dalmeny, Denhams Beach, Deua, Deua River Valley, Dignams Creek (part), East Lynne (part), Eurobodalla, Guerilla Bay, Jeremadra, Kianga, Kiora, Lilli Pilli, Long Beach, Maloneys Beach, Malua Bay, Meringo, Merricumbene, Mogendoura, Mogo, Moruya, Moruya Heads, Mossy Point, Murrengenburg, Mystery Bay, Narooma, Nelligen, Neringla (part), Nerrigundah, North Batemans Bay, North Narooma, Potato Point, Rosedale, Runnyford, South Durras, Sunshine Bay, Surf Beach, Surfside, Tilba Tilba, Tinpot (part), Tomakin, Turlinjah, Tuross Head, Wamban, Woodlands and Yowrie (part)

Interviewee: Kylie Green – Executive Services Coordinator

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 3

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 20 people

Most common country of origin: Philippines, Indonesia and then UK

Australian foods served: Lamingtons, Scones, sausage rolls

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem, ‘I am Australian’

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: one year we had an Australian Flag cake

Gifts provided: Native Australian Plant, Painting by a local Indigenous Artist

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 40% oath, 60% affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: less than 5%

Comment: Our ceremonies range in size, this year we had a ceremony we conducted in January for one man who was keen to become a Citizen, and we were not conducting another ceremony until a few months later. The atmosphere was quite different having just one person…

We have had ceremonies with 14 people, and then others with 2 to 4 people. I think the small, intimate ceremonies are nice, and people are able to talk to each other…

We have also had people ask if they can bring a cake, and they bring one to share with all the other people attending the ceremony. We encourage people to invite as many guests as they would like in attendance. We invite local schools to come and sing and perform at the ceremony, including the National Anthem and another song of their choice.

The Council of the Shire of Hornsby

Areas covered: Arcadia, Asquith, Beecroft (part), Berowra, Berowra Creek, Berowra Heights, Berowra Waters, Berrilee, Brooklyn, Canoelands, Castle Hill (part), Cheltenham, Cherrybrook, Cowan, Dangar Island, Dural (part), Epping (part), Fiddletown, Forest Glen, Galston, Glenhaven (part), Glenorie (part), Hornsby, Hornsby Heights, Laughtondale, Maroota (part), Middle Dural (part), Milsons Passage, Mount Colah, Mount Kuring-gai, Normanhurst, North Epping, Pennant Hills, Singletons Mill, Thornleigh, Wahroonga (part), Waitara, West Pennant Hills (part), Westleigh and Wisemans Ferry (part)

Interviewee: Louise De Stradis (Event Officer), Julie Williams (Manager)

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 19

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 720 approx

Most common country of origin: India, then South Korea and UK

Australian foods served: Scones and cream, ANZAC Biscuits

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem, and also as people are leaving: We are Australian (The Seekers)

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Typically the sense of community we try and foster, the Mayor and three or four Councillors in attendance

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Conferees bringing Australian flags and Australian stuffed animal toys

Gifts provided: ‘Basket’ of locally produced gifts from our tourist information centre, ie: locally grown produce (honey, cotton, fruit jams, oils), and also products sourced from our local community as well (where possible).

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 75% Affirmation, 25% Oath

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: At one of the ceremonies last year, one man, he got his certificate, and he burst into tears and hugged the Mayor and all the other Councillors that were there on the day.

You can see from their faces that they are happy and excited and it is a privilege to get their Citizenship.

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council

Areas covered: Bagnoo, Bago, Ballengarra, Banda Banda, Batar Creek, Beechwood, Bellangry, Birdwood, Black Creek, Blackmans Point, Bobs Creek, Bonny Hills, Boorganna, Bril Bril, Brombin, Byabarra, Cairncross, Camden Head, Comboyne, Cooperabung (part), Crosslands, Deauville, Debenham, Diamond Head, Dondingalong (part), Doyles River, Dunbogan, Ellenborough, Fernbank Creek, Forbes River, Frazers Creek, Gearys Flat, Grants Beach, Gum Scrub, Hacks Ferry, Hartys Plains, Herons Creek, Hollisdale, Huntingdon, Hyndmans Creek, Innes View, Jolly Nose, Kendall, Kerewong, Kew, Kindee, Kings Creek, Kippara, Lake Cathie, Lake Innes, Lakewood, Laurieton, Limeburners Creek, Logans Crossing, Long Flat, Lorne, Lower Pappinbarra, Marlo Merrican, Middle Brother, Mortons Creek, Mount Seaview, North Brother, North Haven, North Shore, Pappinbarra, Pembrooke, Pipeclay, Port Macquarie, Rawdon Island, Redbank, Riverside, Rollands Plains, Rosewood, Rossglen, Sancrox, Swans Crossing, Telegraph Point, The Hatch, Thrumster, Toms Creek, Upper Pappinbarra, Upper Rollands Plains, Upsalls Creek, Wauchope, Werrikimbe, West Haven, Yarras and Yippin Creek

Interviewee: Linda Kocis, Executive Assistant to the Mayor

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 9 ceremonies

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 94 (80 adults/14 under 16yo)

Most common country of origin: UK, then India and then the Phillipines (25 different countries in past year)

Australian foods served: Scones with Jam, Lamingtons, Caramel slice, small cakes and fruit (strawberries and rockmelon etc), tea and coffee

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem only

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: people turning up in classic “Australian dress”

Gifts provided: Australian paper flag, balloon, sticker, words to the National Anthem, Australian Citizenship Coin

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 62.5% Oath, 37.5% Affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: We invite our Birpai Aboriginal Elder, Uncle Bill O’Brien OAM, to our ceremonies and he does his very unique and beautiful “Welcome to Country”.

We also invite a Special Guest for the presentation part of the ceremony, generally one of our current Australia Day Award winners, ie. Citizen of the Year, Senior Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the year or a rep from the Community Group of the Year.

One guy turned up in his work gear and high viz vest as he came straight from roadworks. One guy after he received his Certificate, put an Australian Wallabies jumper on for his photo. One lady hand-made a flower lapel with Australian Natives. Some guys have just turned up in jeans, t-shirt and thongs.

Tweed Shire Council

Areas covered: Back Creek, Banora Point, Bilambil, Bilambil Heights, Bogangar, Bray Park, Brays Creek, Bungalora, Burringbar, Byangum, Byrrill Creek, Cabarita Beach, Carool, Casuarina, Cedar Creek, Chillingham, Chinderah, Chowan Creek, Clothiers Creek, Cobaki, Cobaki Lakes, Commissioners Creek, Condong, Crabbes Creek, Crystal Creek, Cudgen, Cudgera Creek, Doon Doon, Dulguigan, Dum Dum, Dunbible, Dungay, Duranbah, Duroby, Eungella, Eviron, Farrants Hill, Fernvale, Fingal Head, Glengarrie, Hastings Point, Hopkins Creek, Kielvale, Kings Forest, Kingscliff, Kunghur, Kunghur Creek, Kynnumboon, Limpinwood, Mebbin, Midginbil, Mooball, Mount Burrell, Mount Warning, Murwillumbah, Nobbys Creek, North Arm, North Tumbulgum, Numinbah, Nunderi, Palmvale, Piggabeen, Pottsville, Pumpenbil, Reserve Creek, Round Mountain, Rowlands Creek, Sleepy Hollow, Smiths Creek, South Murwillumbah, Stokers Siding, Stotts Creek, Tanglewood, Terragon, Terranora, Tomewin, Tumbulgum, Tweed Heads, Tweed Heads South, Tweed Heads West, Tyalgum, Tyalgum Creek, Tygalgah, Uki, Upper Burringbar, Upper Crystal Creek, Upper Duroby, Urliup, Wardrop Valley, Wooyung (part) and Zara

Interviewee: Carole Goodwin, PA to the Mayor and Councillors

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 3 in 2018

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 93 in 2018

Most common country of origin: United Kingdom and then New Zealand

Australian foods served: Lamingtons, season fruits, local teas and coffees

Australian music played: National Anthem, local musician plays songs such as ‘Give me a home among the gum trees’ (encourages a sing-a-long)

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Thongs and stubbies and an Australian flag t-shirt

Gifts provided: local Native plant, Australian flag waver, words to Advance Australia Fair

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 50/50

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: A new citizen attending on his own was pulled into a group photo with friends and family of other new citizens.

The daughter of one of our new citizens (her mother) presented me and the representative from the Australian Electoral Commission with hand written affirmations on their arrival. Her mother followed up after the ceremony with beautiful hand written heart-felt letters to thank the Mayor and myself, saying how pleased she was to now be an Australian citizen and officially part of this beautiful country.

At the end of one of our bigger ceremonies, everyone was standing when the Mayor sung out ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie’. With a wonderfully loud cheer and arms raised they all returned a huge ‘Oi, Oi, Oi’ – it was fantastic.

Holding Citizenship Ceremonies is a favourite part of my job. The new citizens, friends and family are so happy to have reached this point. It is a big deal for them and a big deal for us.

Wagga Wagga

Areas covered: Alfredtown, Ashmont, Belfrayden, Big Springs, Bomen, Book Book, Boorooma, Borambola, Bourkelands, Brookdale, Brucedale, Bulgary, Burrandana, Cartwrights Hill, Charles Sturt University, Collingullie, Currawarna, Downside, East Wagga Wagga, Estella, Euberta, Eunonoreenya,  Forest Hill, Galore (part), Ganmain (part), Gelston Park, Glenfield Park, Gobbagombalin, Gregadoo, Gumly Gumly, Harefield (part), Hillgrove, Humula (part), Kapooka, Kooringal, Kyeamba, Ladysmith, Lake Albert, Lloyd, Lockhart (part), Mangoplah, Marrar (part), Matong (part), Maxwell, Moorong, Mount Austin, North Wagga Wagga, Oberne Creek, Oura, Pulletop, Rowan, San Isidore, Springvale, Tarcutta, Tatton, The Gap, The Rock (part), Tolland, Turvey Park, Uranquinty, Wagga Wagga, Wallacetown and Yarragundry

Interviewee: Elizabeth Cox, Executive Assistant to the Mayor

Number of ceremonies in the past year: one per month generally

Most common country of origin: India, Sri Lanka and UK

Australian foods served: Scones and Lamingtons

Australian music played: Local choir or the Australian Army Band Kapooka to attend and perform two ceremonial songs that are Australian. One is the Australian Anthem and the other is decided upon by the performing group (as long as it is an Australian song)

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony:People have worn thongs to a ceremony on Australia Day

Gifts provided: Commemorative coin and Native Australian Plant

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 90% Oath and 10% Affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: less than 10%

Comment: There are 112 nationalities represented in the City and 107 different languages spoken. Our current and previous Mayors are strong supporters of refugees. Out of all of the events, functions and ceremonies that he attends – monthly citizenship ceremonies are one of his favourites.

As we are such a multicultural city we hold an annual event to celebrate multiculturalism in Wagga called Fusion, please see link to our website https://www.wagga.nsw.gov.au/city-of-wagga-wagga/events/fusion

We invite a local Aboringal Elder to perform a Welcome to Country at the beginning of each ceremony. And the Local Member for Wagga Wagga and the Member for the Riverina to attend these important ceremonies.

I personally love to see all of the native/country dress that the clients wear, it is truly amazing some of their culture and love that goes into how they dress.

City of Karratha 

Areas covered: Cossack, Dampier, Karratha, Point Samson, Roebourne, Whim Creek, Wickham

Interviewee: Brittany Cover, Arts and Culture Coordinator

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 4

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: approximately 1,000 Conferees attend each year

Most common country of origin: India, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, United Kingdom

Australian foods served: Yes – soft drinks, orange juice.  Food – vegemite scrolls and/or cakes

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Someone wearing a Akurbra hat with corks!   Australian flag t-shirts.  No thongs!

Gifts provided: Yes – A plant and $1 coin created by Perth Mint

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 70% Oath – 30% Affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: Over my 20 years at these ceremonies I have only seen one person cry – everyone is so happy to receive their certificate and proud to become an Australian citizen.

Shire of Peppermint Grove

Areas covered: Peppermint Grove

Interviewee: Community Development Officer (works on citizenship specifically)

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 4

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: approximately 1,000 Conferees attend each year

Most common country of origin: Philippines

Australian foods served: A local cafe caters with Australian themed food, such as bush lollies, lemon and myrtle, damper, rocky road with bush lolly in it. It is regarded as an aboriginal social enterprise.

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: headbands of Australian flags

Gifts provided: Books and tea towels with pilsborough theme, created by a local art group

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 65% pledged to God and 35 to affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

City of South Perth

Interviewee: Maria Noakes Media Officer

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 4

Most common country of origin: The United Kingdom and India.

Australian foods served: The City provides new citizens and their guests a mix of finger foods, including the traditional favourites such as sausage rolls and lamingtons.

Australian music played: The Australia National Anthem is always played at the City’s citizenship ceremonies. We regularly invite a local choir to perform at citizenship ceremonies, these performances include well recognised Australian songs, such as I am Australian and We Are One.

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: The sense of overwhelming pride that washes over people’s faces. People are proud to be granted citizenship. It’s beautiful to see.

Gifts provided: We present each new citizen with an Australian native plant grown at the City of South Perth nursery as well as a Perth Mint Australian Citizenship coin.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: Each citizenship ceremony is very different, overall a majority of new citizens make their pledge by oath.

Percentage of people who cry: Usually one to two new citizens or family members will become emotional at a citizenship ceremony. It can be an overwhelming experience for people, especially those who have left countries where there is turmoil and unrest. To be granted Australian citizenship is an important moment in people’s lives and often the emotion spills over.

Comments/Anecdotes: A recent moment we witnessed was a grandparent giving her two granddaughters who had just become Australian citizens, a large bag of Cadbury’s Caramel Koalas, their little faces just lit up with excitement. Part of what makes the City such a vibrant and unique community is the diversity of cultures and people who have settled into the area.

We recently welcomed 63 new Australian citizens into the community at its Citizenship Ceremony held on Monday 17 September, which also marked Australian Citizenship Day. Making their Pledge at the ceremony were the Consen family – Sergio Consen and his wife Iris Belliot, and children Zara, 11 and Alex, 4. Sergio, Iris and Zara were born in the Republic of Suriname, a small country in the north east of South America. With a population of just over 500,000, it’s not uncommon for residents of Suriname to travel overseas for university studies and employment opportunities. Having lived and worked in countries including the Netherlands, the USA and Malaysia, Iris said it wasn’t until she came to Australia in 2013 that she finally felt like she fitted in.

City of Perth

Areas covered: Perth, Crawley, East Perth, Nedlands, Northbridge, Subiaco, West Perth

Interviewee: Chair Commissioner, Eric Lumsden

Australian foods served: The City provides light and tasty refreshments including prawns and lamb as well as a variety of hors d’oeuvres and other dishes from around the world to include all cultures in attendance. The City also provides Australian beverages.

Australian music played: We have pianist for general background relaxation music.  The National Anthem is played after the presentation of certificates and all people are asked to stand and participate in the singing of the anthem.

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: The Welcome to Country with didgeridoo playing by Aboriginal performers is profoundly Australian.

Gifts provided: All adults are offered an Australian minted coin.  Duly presented with red ribbon and gold City of Perth seal. Children are offered an “Australiana” booklet which includes information on Australian history, native animals, first peoples and explorers, fun facts, and Australian currency etc.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: The City does not record this information. The Department of Home Affairs may be able to assist

Percentage of people who cry: It’s an emotional experience for many. A proud, exciting and joyous time that is reflected mainly through smiles and happy embraces. There are not too many people who cry, but are very excited about their future.

Comments/Anecdotes: Some come dressed in national costume out for respect to their culture, which is very impressive and warming to see. It’s simply a wonderful opportunity to be involved with people genuinely happy to be becoming Australian citizens.

City of Mitcham

Areas covered: Bedford Park, Belair, Bellevue Heights, Blackwood, Brown Hill Creek, Clapham, Clarence Gardens, Colonel Light Gardens, Coromandel Valley, Craigburn Farm, Cumberland Park, Daw Park, Eden Hills, Glenalta, Hawthorn, Hawthorndene, Kingswood, Leawood Gardens, Lower Mitcham, Lynton, Melrose Park, Mitcham, Netherby, Panorama, Pasadena, Springfield, St. Marys, Torrens Park, Upper Sturt, Urrbrae, Westbourne Park

Interviewee: Nat Franklin, Events and Grants Officer

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 4

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: I haven’t seen anything extremely Australian, generally people rock up in their traditional dress to represent the country they have come from rather than celebrating their Australian-ness.

Gifts provided: We like to provide Australian seedlings as a gift, as well as a gift that is of an Indigenous nature, at the moment we are using jam variations.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: The variation between pledge 1 and 2 varies between ceremony. For instance my last ceremony, out of roughly 42 people only 6 said pledge 2 with the majority saying pledge 1 under God, but the previous ceremony it was the other way around.

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comments/Anecdotes: I place a lot of Australian flags around the room as decorations, I generally use wattles and gum leaves as decorations on the tables and have flags that new citizens can take home.

City of Mandurah

Areas covered: Barragup, Bouvard, Clifton, Coodanup, Dawesville, Dudley Park, Erskine, Falcon, Furnissdale, Greenfields, Halls Head, Herron, Lakelands, Madora Bay, Mandurah, Meadow Springs, Parklands, San Remo, Silver Sands, Stake Hill, Wannanup Interviewee: Bobbi-Lee Fairclough, Communications Consultant Mayor / Elected Members,  Corporate Communications

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 6

Most common country of origin: United Kingdom

Australian foods served: Lamingtons, Watermelon, ANZAC Biscuits, Sausage Rolls and Mince Pies

Australian music played: Australian Rock Classics after the ceremony when everyone is mingling

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: We had a citizen wear an Australian flag as a cape for all the photographs with the new citizens and Mayor.

Gifts provided: Minted Citizenship Coin and a Native Plant

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 85% Oath – 15% Affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: Port Hedland is very culturally diverse for a Town of our size, with only 30% the population being of Australian ancestry (2016 Census). Our ceremonies are very intimate and special for all of our new citizens and guests.  We hold outdoor ceremonies overlooking the spectacular Indian Ocean during the winter months when the average temperature is a balmy 25 degrees.

Yankallila

Areas covered: Back Valley, Bald Hills, Cape Jervis, Carrickalinga, Deep Creek, Delamere, Hay Flat, Inman Valley, Mount Compass, Myponga, Myponga Beach, Normanville, Pages Flat, Parawa, Rapid Bay, Second Valley, Sellicks Hill, Silverton, Torrens, Vale, Tunkalilla, Waitpinga, Wattle Flat, Willow Creek, Wirrina Cove and Yankalilla

Interviewee: Lisa Colquhoun, Executive Administration Support Officer

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 1

Most common country of origin: There seems to be a wide variety of nationalities.  Most have travelled and come to the area and stayed, or meet someone from this area and come back to settle here.

Australian foods served: Yes, we purchase Lamingtons from our local Bakery and have a sausage sizzle.

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: The new Citizens, their friends and family came dressed in Australian T-Shirts or colours and fancy hats.

Gifts provided: We also give a native plant and frame their certificates.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: The majority take the Oath, probably 98%.

Percentage of people who cry: In my experience, I haven’t seen anyone cry.

Comments/Anecdotes: When they are held in conjunction with Australia Day, we personalise the event as much as possible, read out a Bio, invite their friends and relatives.  We also give a native plant and frame their certificates.   The areas are always decorated and we often hand out Australia Day flags, and we purchase Australia Day cups and plates and decorate the vicinity.  When held in the Chambers, in addition to the above, we also try to find Australian gifts like koala/kangaroo keyrings, etc.  The Mayor always finishes all of our Citizenship Ceremonies with Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Ow, Ow, Ow.

Cleve

Interviewee: Bridget Johnstone, Tourism & Community Development Officer

Most common country of origin: United Kingdom

Australian music played: National anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Children love the Australian flag at the ceremony.

Gifts provided: Pewter Australian animal.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 50%/50%

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: Our ceremonies are conducted in a way the citizen requests (private or public), we try to encourage all ceremonies to be conducted in conjunction with our Australia Day Breakfast event, although this is not always possible.

Waratah Wynyard

Areas covered: Sisters Creek, Sisters Beach, Boat Harbour Beach, Boat Harbour, Flowerdale, Table Cape, Wynyard, Seabrook, Somerset, Doctors Rocks, Elliot, Yolla, Henrietta, Oonah, Parrawe, Guildford, Corinna, Savage River, West Takone, Takone, Meunna, Preolenna, Calder, Kellatier, Oldina, Milabena, Lapoinya, Moorleah, Myalla, Mount Hicks, Waratah

Interviewee: Sally Blanc, Executive Officer, General Managers Office

Most common country of origin: Great Britain

Australian foods served: We do not serve food and drink as a general rule.  Occasionally if there is a large crowd we will do so and yes lamingtons are on the menu.

Australian music played: We play the Australian National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Kids running around having a great time during the ceremony and nobody minds.

Gifts provided: We give each conferee a native plant and a medallion to commemorate the day.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 50/50

Percentage of people who cry: 20%

Comments/Anecdotes: A lady from Brazil – dressed in the brightest dress you could find – who was naturalised on Australia Day was so excited that she took the microphone from the Mayor and made a wonderful speech about how proud she was to become an Australia and how grateful she was to live in our town (more than 50% had a tear in their eye that day!)

City of Launceston

Areas covered: Bangor, Blessington (part), Bridport (part), Burns Creek, Dilston, East Launceston, Golconda (part), Invermay, Karoola, Kings Meadows, Lalla, Launceston, Lebrina, Lilydale (part), Lower Turners Marsh (part), Mayfield, Mount Direction (part), Mowbray, Myrtle Bank (part), Newnham, Newstead, North Lilydale (part), Norwood, Nunamara, Patersonia, Pipers Brook (part), Pipers River (part), Prospect, Punchbowl, Ravenswood, Relbia (part), Retreat (part), Rocherlea, South Launceston, Springfield (part), St Leonards, Summerhill, Swan Bay, Targa, Tayene (part), Trevallyn (part), Tunnel, Turners Marsh, Underwood, Upper Blessington (part), Waverley, West Launceston, White Hills (part), Windermere, Wyena (part) and Youngtown.

Interviewee: Elizabeth Clark, Civic Affairs Coordinator

Most common country of origin: Bhutan

Australian foods served: Lamingtons, pavlovas, pies, sausage rolls and fruit. We also serve a range of Halal-friendly food.

Australian music played: National anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Small children from other countries proudly waving the Australian flag.

Gifts provided: Nine organisations attend each ceremony providing gifts to conferees. These include: Red Cross – hand-made teddy bears, CWA – covered coat hangers, Good Neighbour Council – mugs and pens, Migrant Resource Centre Launceston – certificate frames, Rotary Club of Launceston and Inner Wheel Club of Launceston – Recyclable bags, Bible Society Tasmania – bibles (these are offered to anyone who’d like one), Australian Electoral Commission – drink bottles and pens, City of Launceston – small native plants

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 70%/30%

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: As coordinator of citizenship ceremonies, I feel privileged to meet our newest community members from around the world. It is also wonderful to see long-term members of our community receiving their Australian citizenship. We are fortunate to have dedicated, caring staff at the Home Affairs citizenship office in Tasmania who keep in regular contact and support us extremely well.

Circular Head Council

Areas covered: Alcomie, Arthur River, Black River, Brittons Swamp, Broadmeadows, Christmas Hills, Corinna (part), Couta Rocks, Cowrie Point, Crayfish Creek, Detention, Edgcumbe Beach, Edith Creek, Forest, Hellyer, Irishtown, Lileah, Marrawah, Mawbanna, Mella, Mengha, Meunna (part), Milabena (part), Montagu, Montumana (part), Nabageena, Nelson Bay, Port Latta, Redpa, Rocky Cape (part), Roger River, Scopus, Scotchtown, Sisters Creek (part), Smithton, South Forest, Stanley, Temma, Togari, Trowutta, West Coast (part), West Montagu, West Takone (part), Wiltshire and Woolnorth.

Interviewee: Kelly Sweeney, Executive Officer Civic Governance

Most common country of origin: New Zealand

Australian foods served: Lamingtons and anzac biscuits

Australian music played: National anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Thehusband of a conferee threw her an Australian citizenship party at the local tavern as a surprise party. There was fairy bread and every Australian food you could think of. He presented her with a group of gifts, including an Akubra, Australian flags, a t-shirt with the phrase ‘fair dinkum aussie’ he had specifically made, and a book on Australian slang words. He had gone to a lot of trouble and she was very surprised and very humble

Gifts provided: Native plants, children get gift bags with stuffed toys of Australian animals, sunscreen, stickers and a small Australian book

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 30%/70%

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: One of the conferees invited her friends to come along to the ceremony. They cooked their traditional food and arrived in their native dress. The conferree didn’t know that they were doing that and was very thrilled that her friends had gone to so much trouble.

Central Highlands Council

Areas covered: Bothwell, Bronte Park, Derwent Bridge, Hamilton, Liawenee, Miena, Ouse, Tarraleah

Interviewee: Katrina Bezandale

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 2

Australian foods served: cake and sandwiches

Australian music played: National anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: A wombat

Gifts provided: Gifts vary from Flowers / Plants and Certificates

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 90%/10%

Percentage of people who cry: 80%

Comment: One was videoed and she got that emotional that we had to stop and restart the ceremony, we had a great laugh about it afterwards

City of Clarence

Areas covered: Acton Park, Bellerive, Cambridge, Clarendon Vale, Geilston Bay, Howrah, Lauderdale, Lindisfarne, Flagstaff Gully, Montagu Bay, Mornington, Mount Rumney, Oakdowns, Otago, Risdon, Risdon Vale, Roches Beach, Rokeby, Rose Bay, Rosny, Rosny Park, Tranmere, Warrane

Interviewee: Helen Pooley

Most common country of origin: Bhutan

Australian music played: National anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony:  Aussie flag waving by guests

Gifts provided:  Native plant and book on the History of Clarence

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 75% affirmation, 25% oath approximately

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: One lady of African origin ululated joyfully (and very loudly) at the end of the ceremony and everyone jumped out of their skin! The attainment of Australian Citizenship means a great deal to conferees and over the years we have endeavoured to make the experience more meaningful with appropriate gifts and extended time to mingle after the ceremony at the afternoon tea.

Latrobe Council

Areas covered: Wesley Vale, Northdown, Hawley Beach, Shearwater, Port Sorell, Squeaking Point, Thirlstane, Bakers Beach, Merseylea, Sassafras, Harford, Moriarty, Latrobe, Tarleton.

Interviewee: Candice Winter, Business Support – Executive Officer

Most common country of origin: United Kingdom and Poland

Australian foods served: Refreshments are usually not provided given a typical ceremony is for one conferee and one or two family members / friends attending.

Australian music played: No music is played other than the National Anthem at the appropriate time during the ceremony.

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Flag waving by conferee’s friends and family.

Gifts provided:  Gifts range from an Australian Native plant to a Commemorative Citizenship coin from the Perth Mint. Children are usually presented with a plush Tasmanian native animal.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 50 / 50

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: Probably the most moving thing is an elderly lady wanted to become an Australian Citizen before she passed away. Citizenship ceremonies are always a joyous occasion and a privilege to witness and to be involved.

City of Canning

Areas covered: Bentley, Canning Vale, Cannington, East Cannington, Ferndale, Leeming, Lynwood, Parkwood, Queens Park, Riverton, Rossmoyne, Shelley, St James, Welshpool, Willetton, Wilson

Interviewee: Kylie Pitman, Leader – PR & Marketing

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: approximately 1,000 Conferees attend each year

Most common country of origin: India, China, Pakistan, Indonesia, United Kingdom

Australian foods served: Yes – soft drinks, orange juice.  Food – vegemite scrolls and/or cakes

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Someone wearing a Akurbra hat with corks! Australian flag t-shirts. No thongs!

Gifts provided: Yes – A plant and $1 coin created by Perth Mint

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 70% Oath – 30% Affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: Over my 20 years at these ceremonies I have only seen one person cry – everyone is so happy to receive their certificate and proud to become an Australian citizen.

Shire of Waroona

Areas covered: Hamel, Lake Clifton, Nanga Brook, Preston Beach, Wagerup, Waroona, Yalup Brook

Interviewee: Annette Mason, Records/Administration Officer

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 4

Most common country of origin: English and Philippines

Australian foods served: No we don’t do any catering for the event.

Australian music played: No we don’t play any music.

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: The families inviting other family members to watch the ceremony.  Some wear Aussie shirts or hats.

Gifts provided: We give them an Australian plant and a Citizenship lapel pin and a Citizenship coin.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: Half and half by oath and affirmation.

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comments/Anecdotes: One family brought Aussie Meat Pies to eat after the ceremony.

City of Joondalup

Areas covered: Burns Beach, Connolly, Currambine, Iluka, Joondalup City Centre, Kinross, Edgewater, Heathridge, Mullaloo, Ocean Reef, Beldon, Craigie, Kallaroo, Woodvale, Hillarys, Padbury, Sorrento, Duncraig, Marmion, Warwick, Greenwood, Kingsley

Interviewee: City’s CEO Garry Hunt

Most common country of origin: Largely United Kingdom, followed by South Africa.

Australian music played: Yes, classic Australian songs are played before the ceremony and include Waltzing Matilda and Home Among the Gum Trees.

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Some yell out ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, oi, oi oi,’ after taking the pledge.

Gifts provided: All new citizens receive an Australian citizenship medallion, native seedlings are given to adults and children receive an Australian native animal soft toy. Australian flags are offered to all attending the ceremony.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: Approximately 70% under God and 30% not under God.

Percentage of people who cry: Small percentage, less than 5% estimated, though many people are emotional at the time of taking the pledge.

Comments/Anecdotes: The most moving part of the ceremonies is when you can see how much becoming a citizen means to so many of our attendees and their families.

Shire of Chapman Valley

Areas covered: Nabawa, Howatharra, Mount Erin, Nanson, Naraling, Narra Tarra, Oakajee, Protheroe, Rockwell, Whelarra, Yetna, Yuna

Interviewee: Karen McKay, Executive Services Administrator

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 1

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 1

Most common country of origin: South Africa

Australian foods served: Yes generally a morning tea including lamingtons and party pies

Australian music played: Australian anthem

Gifts provided: Native plant local to the region to plant in their garden

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: Since 2011 all our ceremonies have only included the affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comments/Anecdotes: The last ceremony conducted by our President was a staff member who had moved to Geraldton and joined our team at the Shire.  She was from South Africa.  It was wonderful to have her work friends there to help her celebrate this milestone and hear about where she had come from.

City of Armadale

Areas covered: Armadale, Ashendon, Bedfordale, Brookdale, Camillo, Champion Lakes, Forrestdale, Harrisdale, Haynes, Hilbert, Karragullen, Kelmscott, Lesley, Mount Nasura, Mount Richon, Piara Waters, Roleystone, Seville Grove and Wungong.

Interviewee: Mayor Henry Zelones OAM, JP

Most common country of origin: India

Australian foods served: lamingtons, sausage rolls, anzac biscuits, choose their own soft drink, vegemite sandwiches

Australian music played: Waltzing Matilda, I Still Call Australia Home, Home among the Gum Trees

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: At the last Australia Day ceremony, they had face painting for the children to match Aussie flags. There were three boys who were wearing three piece suits.

Gifts provided: book about Armadale wrapped as a gift

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 80%/20%

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: Some of the children were feeling shy about getting on stage so one of the councillors jumped out during the singing of Home Among the Gum Trees and started hopping around the stage like a Kookaburra. The children then joined in on stage.

Shire of Augusta-Murray River

Areas covered: Augusta, Cowaramup, Flinders Bay, Gracetown, Karridale, Kudardup, Margaret River, Witchcliffe, Alexandra Bridge, Boranup, Bramley, East Augusta, Forest Grove, Gnarabup, Hamelin Bay, Molloy Island, Nillup, Osmington, Prevelly, Rosa Brook, Rosa Glen, Warner Glen

Interviewee: Megan Smith, Executive Assistant

Most common country of origin: South Africa

Australian foods served: No food

Australian music played: Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: 2 ladies wearing T-shirts with aboriginal flags on them and waving aussie flags

Gifts provided: Stuffed Koala or Kangaroo, Australian flag

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 50%/50%

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: Someone brought a goat the ceremony one year as it is a significant animal in their culture.

Town of Port Hedland

Areas covered: Port Hedland, Finucane Island, Mundabullangana, Shellborough, South Hedland, Wedgefield

Interviewee: Tammy Wombwell, Governance Officer

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 4

Most common country of origin: Philippines

Australian foods served: Lamingtons, Watermelon, ANZAC Biscuits, Sausage Rolls and Mince Pies

Australian music played: Australian Rock Classics after the ceremony when everyone is mingling

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: We had a citizen wear an Australian flag as a cape for all the photographs with the new citizens and Mayor.

Gifts provided: Minted Citizenship Coin and a Native Plant

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 85% Oath – 15% Affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: Port Hedland is very culturally diverse for a Town of our size, with only 30% the population being of Australian ancestry (2016 Census). Our ceremonies are very intimate and special for all of our new citizens and guests.  We hold outdoor ceremonies overlooking the spectacular Indian Ocean during the winter months when the average temperature is a balmy 25 degrees.

Port Pirie Regional Council

Areas covered: Arno Bay,  Bungama, Collinsfield, Coonamia, Crystal Brook, Koolunga, Lower Broughton, Merriton, Napperby, Nelshaby, Pirie East, Port Davis, Port Pirie South, Port Pirie West, Redhill, Risdon Park, Risdon Park South, Solomontown, Wandearah East, Wandearah West and Warnertown, and part of Clements Gap, Mundoora, and Crystal Brook.

Interviewee: Tricia Thoman, Personal Assistant to Port Pirie Regional Council Mayor John Rohde

Most common country of origin: Philippines

Australian foods served: No food

Australian music played: National anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Families who bring along Australian Flags to the ceremony

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: Majority take the Oath

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: Mainly the excitement that the recipients exhibit

Banana Shire Council

Areas covered: Biloela, Moura and Taroom, Banana, Baralaba, Dululu, Goovigen, Jambin, Thangool, Theodore, Wowan and Cracow

Interviewee: Nev Ferrier, Mayor of Banana Shire

Most common country of origin: Sri Lanka

Australian foods served: None

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem

Gifts provided: Australian Citizenship $1 Coin and children also received a small plush toy (either a kangaroo or koala)

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 90% oath and 10% affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment/Anecdote: Citizenship Ceremonies are held in conjunction with Council’s Monthly Ordinary Meetings, generally being on a Wednesday at 10.30am. Recipients and their family and friends are invited to join the Mayor and Councillors for morning tea following the ceremony… Ceremonies are generally quite small and therefore personal.

Logan City Council

Areas covered: Bahrs Scrub, Bannockburn, Beenleigh, Belivah, Berrinba, Bethania, Boronia Heights, Browns Plains, Buccan, Carbrook, Cedar Creek (part), Cedar Grove, Cedar Vale, Chambers Flat, Cornubia, Crestmead, Daisy Hill, Eagleby, Edens Landing, Flagstone, Flinders Lakes, Forestdale, Glenlogan, Greenbank, Heritage Park, Hillcrest, Holmview, Jimboomba, Kagaru (part), Kairabah, Kingston, Logan Central, Logan Reserve, Logan Village, Loganholme, Loganlea, Lyons, Marsden, Meadowbrook, Monarch Glen, Mount Warren Park, Mundoolun, Munruben, New Beith, North Maclean, Park Ridge, Park Ridge South, Priestdale, Regents Park, Riverbend, Rochedale South, Shailer Park, Silverbark Ridge, Slacks Creek, South Maclean, Springwood, Stockleigh, Tamborine (part), Tanah Merah, Underwood, Undullah (part), Veresdale (part), Veresdale Scrub (part), Waterford, Waterford West, Windaroo, Wolffdene, Woodhill, Woodridge and Yarrabilba

Interviewee: Jason Oxenbridge, Media Manager

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 6

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 590 in 2018

Australian foods served: Lamingtons and Anzac biscuits

Australian music played: National Anthem, music by John Williamson

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: At each Ceremony our Presiding Officer will introduce the new Aussie citizens to the Aussie chant – ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie – Oi, Oi, Oi’.

Gifts provided: Native plant, words of the National Anthem, Logan City Council items such as pens, badges and booklets

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 76.8% oath, 22.2%  affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment/Anecdote: The formalities are combined with Australian entertainment with a warm and welcoming atmosphere and feature indigenous content. For each ceremony we have an indigenous dance performance by the Nunukul Yuggera Dance Troupe.

Mackay Regional Council

Areas covered: Andergrove, Bakers Creek, Beaconsfield, Blacks Beach, Bucasia, East Mackay, Eimeo, Eton and North Eton, Finch Hatton, Glenella, Habana, Mackay, Marian, Mackay Harbour, Midge Point, Mirani, Mount Pleasant, North Mackay, Northern Rural Area, Ooralea, Pioneer Valley, Rural View, Sarina and Beaches, Seaforth, Shoal Point, Slade Point, South Mackay, Walkerston,West Mackay

Interviewee: Mackay Regional Council Mayor, Greg Williamson

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 5

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 142

Most common country of origin: Philippines, United Kingdom, South Africa, and India.

Australian foods served: Lamingtons (with an Australian flag are served at our Australia Day ceremony)

Australian music played: We use the services of a local singer/student from CQUniversity to lead the National Anthem.

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: It’s great to see candidates and families staying after each event to take photos with myself and the Australian banners at the event. They will often stay for another 30-60 minutes and are in no rush to leave which is great to see.

Gifts provided: During the Australia Day ceremony we provide a bookmark with the family history of one of our local Yuibera elders, Philip Kemp. The bookmark is decorated with his families artwork and is a great memento of the Mackay region’s indigenous history.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: Varies from ceremony to ceremony but generally more people take the oath than the affirmation.

Percentage of people who cryI’m sure there are quite a few that shed a tear during the ceremonies but I’m unsure of the exact percentage of people.

Comment/anecdote: I consider it an honour to officiate our citizenship ceremonies throughout the year and to be the first to welcome our new citizens. The Mackay region is home to a diversity of people and our new citizens add to the culture and richness of our beautiful region that we call home.

Scenic Rim Regional Council

Areas covered: Allandale, Allenview, Anthony, Aratula, Barney View, Beaudesert, Beechmont, Benobble, Biddaddaba, Binna Burra, Birnam, Blantyre, Boonah, Boyland, Bromelton, Bunburra, Bunjurgen, Burnett Creek, Cainbable, Cannon Creek, Canungra, Carneys Creek, Charlwood, Chinghee Creek, Christmas Creek, Clumber, Coleyville, Coochin, Coulson, Croftby, Cryna, Darlington, Dugandan, Fassifern, Fassifern Valley, Ferny Glen, Flying Fox, Frazerview, Frenches Creek, Gleneagle, Harrisville, Hillview, Hoya, Illinbah, Innisplain, Josephville, Kagaru (part), Kalbar, Kents Lagoon, Kents Pocket, Kerry, Knapp Creek, Kooralbyn, Kulgun, Lamington, Laravale, Limestone Ridges, Lower Mount Walker (part), Maroon, Merryvale, Milbong, Milford, Milora, Moogerah, Moorang, Morwincha, Mount Alford, Mount Barney, Mount Edwards, Mount Forbes (part), Mount French, Mount Gipps, Mount Lindesay, Mount Walker, Mount Walker West (part), Munbilla, Mutdapilly (part), Nindooinbah, Oaky Creek, Obum Obum, O’Reilly, Palen Creek, Peak Crossing (part), Radford, Rathdowney, Roadvale, Rosevale, Running Creek, Sarabah, Silverdale, Southern Lamington, Tabooba, Tabragalba, Tamborine (part), Tamborine Mountain, Tamrookum, Tamrookum Creek, Tarome, Templin, Teviotville, Undullah (part), Veresdale (part), Veresdale Scrub (part), Wallaces Creek, Warrill View, Washpool, Wilsons Plains, Witheren, Wonglepong, Woolooman and Wyaralong

Interviewee: Mayor, Cr Greg Christensen

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 3

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 48

Most common country of origin: UK and the Philippines

Australian foods served: Lamingtons and Anzac biscuits

Australian music played: various and National Anthem

Gifts provided: Native plant and a Perth Mint Australian Citizenship $1 Coin

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 50/50

Comment/Anecdote: One of the most poignant moments for me was seeing a dear senior lady become an Australian citizen. She and her husband, who had lived in Australia for many years, had finally made the decision to apply for citizenship and were to have gone through the ceremony together. Sadly, he passed away just weeks beforehand. Officiating at this ceremony was a particularly touching experience for me. The most joyous new citizen I recall has been young Alfie, just two years old and dressed smartly in a tiny suit. He was, for me, a wonderful reminder of the essence of citizenship, full of joy, hope and excitement about his dreams for life in Australia. As only a child can be, he was oblivious to the solemnity of the occasion and monopolised every camera in the house, photobombing every picture.

Sunshine Coast Regional Council

Interviewee: Katherine Morgan, Senior Events Officer

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 5

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 539

Gifts provided: Native Plant (from the local nursery)

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 50/50

Percentage of people who cry: 1%

Comment/anecdote: Candidates are invited to attend the ceremony with their families and/or friends. The ceremony includes a traditional Welcome to Country performance by the local Gubbi Gubbi Peoples, a welcome speech from the Mayor, the reading of the Minister’s message and Preamble reading, the candidates making their Pledge and the Australian National Anthem led by a local performer. Certificates are handed out individually and the candidates have a photo opportunity with the banners (Queen and Coast of Arms, and the National flags) and the Mayor or presiding officer. The venue is decorated with flag bunting, highlighted the trio of flags Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island. Candidates especially enjoy the Welcome to Country and the fact that they can have their family and friends seated with them.

Benalla Rural City Council 

Areas covered: Baddaginnie, Benalla (Broken River, Kilfeera, Mokoan West, White Gate Creamery, White Gate, Karn, Yin Barun), Boweya (1877–1963 Mokoan), Boxwood (1890–1976), Broken Creek (1877–1978 see Devenish), Bungeet (1892–1967), Bungeet West (1902–1922), Chesney Vale (1928–1947 Chesney) , Devenish (Major Plains, Nooramunga), Glenrowan West (1915–1947), Goomalibee (1902–1963 Goomalibee Creamery, Blackfields, Thorley), Goorambat (Goorambat East), Lima (1922–1970), Lima East (1902–1970), Lima South (1902–1970), Lurg (1889–1968), Lurg Upper (1922–1968 Upper Lurg, Mason’s Hill), Major Plains, Molyullah (1902–1976 Ryan’s Creek, Dodds Crossing), Moorngag (1902–1952 Mallum, Mallum Creek), Mount Bruno  • Myrrhee (1889–1970), Samaria (1877–1962), Stewarton (1902–1962), Swanpool (Swan Pool), Taminick (1877–1891), Tarnook (1888–1948), Tatong, Thoona (1882- ), Upper Ryans Creek (1905–1963 Benalla Saw Mill), Wangandary, Warrenbayne (1882–1973 Warrenbayne West), Winton (1864–1960), Winton North (1889–1960 Lake Mokoan)

Interviewee: Sharon Geer, Events Coordinator

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 5

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 174

Most common country of origin: Phillipines

Australian music played: National anthem is performed by a local singer

Gifts provided: Australian native plant as a memento of the occasion

Golden Plains

Areas covered: Anakie (shared with Greater Geelong), Bamganie, Bannockburn, Barunah Park, Batesford (shared with Greater Geelong), Berringa, Berrybank (shared with Corangamite), Cambrian Hill, Cape Clear, Corindhap, Cressy (shared with Corangamite and Colac Otway), Dereel, Durdidwarrah, Durham Lead (shared with Ballarat), Enfield, Garibaldi, Gheringhap, Grenville (shared with Moorabool), Haddon, Happy Valley, Hesse, Illabarook, Inverleigh (shared with Surf Coast), Lethbridge, Linton (shared with Pyrenees), Mannibadar, Maude, Meredith (shared with Moorabool), Mount Bute (shared with Corangamite), Mount Mercer, Morrisons (shared with Moorabool), Murgheboluc, Napoleons, Newtown, Nintingbool, Piggoreet, Pitfield, Pittong (shared with Corangamite and Pyrenees), Rokewood, Rokewood Junction, Ross Creek, Russells Bridge, Scarsdale, Shelford, She Oaks, Smythes Creek (shared with Ballarat), Smythesdale (shared with Pyrenees), Springdallah, Staffordshire Reef, Steiglitz, Stonehaven, Sutherlands Creek, Teesdale, Wallinduc, Werneth (shared with Corangamite), Willowvale, Wingeel (shared with Colac Otway)

Interviewee: Sharon Naylor, Executive Assistant – Chief Executive Officer

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 4

Most common country of origin: United Kingdom

Australian foods served: lamingtons, mini pavlovas and Anzac Biscuits.

Australian music played: Anthem

Gifts provided: native plant and commemorative coin

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 80% oath, 20% affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comments/Anecdotes: Our ceremonies are very intimate and personal. As we don’t normally have too many people becoming citizens it means that they are not just a part of the crowd. Also having the ceremony just before the Council Meeting in our Council Chambers really adds to the importance of the ceremony. I think just seeing the family members in the audience and all the children and grandchildren. It is lovely for them to witness such an important occasion and they get so excited for their parents/grandparents.

Colac Otway

Areas covered: Aire Valley, Alvie, Apollo Bay, Balintore, Barongarook, Barongarook West, Barramunga, Barunah Plains, Barwon Downs, Beeac, Beech Forest, Birregurra (shared with Surf Coast), Bungador, Cape Otway, Carlisle River (shared with Corangamite), Carpendeit (shared with Corangamite), Chapple Vale (shared with Corangamite), Colac, Colac East, Colac West, Coragulac, Cororooke, Corunnun, Cressy (shared with Golden Plains and Corangamite), Cundare, Cundare North (shared with Corangamite), Dreeite, Dreeite South, Elliminyt, Eurack, Ferguson, Forrest, Gellibrand, Gellibrand Lower (shared with Corangamite), Gerangamete, Glenaire, Grey River, Hordern Vale, Irrewarra, Irrewillipe, Irrewillipe East, Jancourt East (shared with Corangamite), Johanna, Kawarren, Kennett River, Larpent, Lavers Hill, Marengo, Mount Sabine, Murroon, Nalangil, Ombersley (shared with Surf Coast), Ondit, Pennyroyal (shared with Surf Coast), Petticoat Creek, Pirron Yallock (shared with Corangamite), Separation Creek, Skenes Creek, Skenes Creek North, Simpson (shared with Corangamite), Stonyford (shared with Corangamite), Sugarloaf, Swan Marsh, Tanybryn, Warncoort, Warrion, Weeaproinah, Weering, Whoorel, Winchelsea (shared with Surf Coast), Wingeel (shared with Golden Plains), Wongarra, Wool Wool, Wye River, Wyelangta, Yeo, Yeodene, Yuulong

Interviewee: Karen Borch, Executive Assistant – Corporate Services

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 3

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 17

Most common country of origin: India

Australian foods served: Basic catering of party pies, slices/cake/scones & fruit

Australian music played: We play the national anthem at each ceremony.  Over the past 4 years we have had the Trinity College Choir or a student piano player, play the anthem plus another Australian song.

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Indigenous dance at Australia Day ceremony about 20 years ago, didgeridoo played at another.  Very few indigenous persons in Colac to call on.

Gifts provided: New Citizens receive a Steve Parish book titled Australia,  if a couple they receive a book and partner presented with Buttonworks timber coasters  (both made in Australia)

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 50/50

Percentage of people who cry: 20%

Comments/Anecdotes: South African lady telling her stories of terror living in that country & an Indonesian man told guests that when he arrived and looked out of the plane thought he has come to the best country in the world.

Hindmarsh

Areas covered: Albacutya, Antwerp (Antwerp North), Broughton, Dimboola, Glenlee, Jeparit, Kenmare, Kiata, Lake Hindmarsh, Little Desert, Lorquon, Netherby, Nhill, Rainbow, Tarranyurk, Yanac

Interviewee: Shelley Gersch, Executive Assistant

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 2

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 3

Most common country of origin: Denmark, Canada and India

Australian foods served: Lamingtons and Tim Tams as well as an assortment of fresh fruit

Australian music played: The Australian National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: The current Mayor supplies a personal gift of a pie and Fosters lager to the new citizens

Gifts provided: Yes, a native tree/plant

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Towong Shire Council

Areas covered: Bellbridge, Berringama, Bethanga, Biggara, Bullioh, Bungil, Burrowyne, Colac Colac, Corryong, Cudgewa, Dartmouth, Eskdale, Georges Creek, Granya, Guys Forest, Huon, Jarvis Creek, Koetong, Lucyvale, Mitta Mitta, Mount Alfred, Nariel Valley, Old Tallangatta, Pine Mountain, Shelley, Talgarno, Tallandoon, Tallangatta, Tallangatta East, Tallangatta South, Tallangatta Valley, Thologolong, Thowgla Valley, Tintaldra, Tom Groggin, Towong, Towong Lower and Walwa.

Interviewee: Diana Snaith, Executive Assistant

Most common country of origin: United Kingdom

Australian foods served: Scones

Australian music played: Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: One attendee wore a hat with corks hanging from it with friends and family chanting Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi at the ceremony.

Gifts provided: Native plant

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 20%/80%

Percentage of people who cry: 1%

Comment: An attendee was married to an Aboriginal lady who died before he was able to become a citizen. He completed the ceremony because he felt that he wanted to honour her.

City of Moreland

Areas covered: Brunswick, Brunswick East, Brunswick West, Coburg, Coburg North, Fawkner, Glenroy, Gowanbrae, Hadfield, Oak Park, Pascoe Vale, and Pascoe Vale South.

Interviewee: Sally Curran, Unit Manager of Governance

Most common country of origin: Sri Lanka

Australian foods served: Meat pies

Australian music played: Saxophone and guitar duo play a range of songs including I am, You are, We are Australian

Gifts provided: Aussie flag, Moreland showbag

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 66%/34%

Percentage of people who cry: 2%

Comment: One conferree took a very long time to get back to his seat because he was so busy high-fiving his friends after the conferral.

Berrigan Shire Council

Areas covered: Barooga, Berrigan (part), Boomanoomana, Finley (part), Lalalty, Mulwala (part), Oaklands (part), Pine Lodge (part), Savernake (part) and Tocumwal

Interviewee: Jacq-Lyn Davis

Number of ceremonies in the past year: none last year

Australian foods served: Australian foods not served (morning tea but not Australian)

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem

Gifts provided: Native Plant

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: I guess the atmosphere is created by the warmth in our Councillors and Council staff.   True Aussie’s are very warm and welcoming and accepting of others and we try our best to integrate this… One of our Councillors loved to sing and would sing the National Anthem so loud it would be heard right through our offices.

Blue Mountains City Council

Areas covered: Bell, Blaxland, Blackheath, Bullaburra, Faulconbridge, Glenbrook, Hazelbrook, Katoomba, Lapstone, Lawson, Leura, Linden, Medlow Bath, Megalong, Mount Irvine, Mount Riverview, Mount Tomah, Mount Victoria, Mount, Wilson, North Katoomba, Shipley, Springwood, Sun Valley, Valley Heights, Warrimoo, Wentworth Falls, Winmalee, Woodford, Yellow Rock and Yosemite

Interviewee: Mikaela Sherlock, Communications Officer

Number of ceremonies in the past year: about 150

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 4 to 5 annually

Most common country of origin: UK and then NZ

Australian foods served: Fruits, cakes and slices

Australian music played: National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: the welcoming atmosphere

Gifts provided: Native Plant

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 50/50

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment/Anecdote: We try to make the end process as smooth and easy as possible for candidates. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the process of acquiring Australian Citizenship can sometimes be a very lengthy process, so we want them to be able to relax and enjoy the day. Every ceremony is different and offers something unique. Sometimes, people turn up in very formal attire while others wear ugg boots and trackies.

Bourke Shire Council

Areas covered: Bourke, Byrock, Enngonia, Fords Bridge, Wanaaring and Louth

Interviewee: Kai Howard-Oakman, Executive Assistant to the Mayor & General Manager

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 2

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 2

Most common country of origin: Nepal and Belgium (one each)

Australian foods served: none, attendees are shouted to lunch

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: At the August 2018 Ceremony at Louth NSW and due to the long drought that we have been going through, the kangaroos have been in all the villages and towns and eaten all the grass that they can, so whilst our newest Citizen was being naturalised, she was surrounded by the largest amount of kangaroo droppings that has been seen for some time.

Gifts provided: Native tree, framed poem, framed National anthem and an Australian Citizenship pin

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: majority affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: In 18 years of being part of Naturalisation Ceremonies, I would say that I have seen one (1) person shed a tear

Comment/anecdote: We are out at the Back of Bourke, beyond the black stump, it doesn’t get much more Aussie than that. In August this year we travelled 95km to the village of Louth, which is in our Shire and with a population of 43, to hold our monthly Council meeting and held one of our Naturalisation Ceremonies there under a tree outside the tennis shed. It was beautiful. Our new citizens are always very appreciative and so thankful of everything that is done for them prior to during and after the ceremony. It is wonderful to see and I am grateful to be part of making someone so happy even if my part is only in a small way.

Cabonne Council

Areas covered: Canowindra, Cargo, Cudal, Cumnock, Eugowra, Manildra, Molong and Yeoval

Interviewee: Heidi Thornberry, Administration Officer

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 1

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 2

Most common country of origin: India and the Republic of Ireland

Australian foods served: Lamingtons, fruit, tea and coffee

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem

Gifts provided: Card with words of the National Anthem

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: two conferees – two oaths

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: Every Citizenship is special, Cabonne Council make everyone feel very welcome as they get to have a chat and meeting the Mayor, General Manager, Philip Donato, Andrew Gee and another staff involved before the official proceedings. Council also have booklets of the program so each people can follow the ceremony.

Carrathool Shire Council

Areas covered: Goolgowi. Merriwagga, Rankins Springs, Carrathool, Hillston

Interviewee: Cheryl Wray, Corporate Services Coordinator

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 2-4

Most common country of origin: United Kingdom

Australian foods served: Tea, Coffee, Orange Juice, Anzac Biscuits, Cake/Slice/Scones

Australian music played: National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: A few years ago at a ceremony for a husband and wife with a small child that was born in Australia, a Council employee gave the child a small Kangaroo soft toy so that the child had a memento of its parents becoming Australian Citizens, the mother was in tears at the kind gesture.

Gifts provided: All certificates are framed, Native Plant and Hat for the adults, Native animal soft toy and/or hat for the children

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 50/50

Comment/Anecdote: We are a small rural community that has between 2-4 ceremonies a year consisting of a single citizen to a family.  Ceremonies are conducted when required as part of our monthly Council Meeting, after the ceremony the new citizen and their family are invited to stay for a short morning tea with the Councillors and Executive Officers.  An employee also takes photographs of the new citizen with the Mayor, and their families as a memento for the citizen and for Council publications.

Edward River Council

Areas covered:  Moulamein, Barratta, Booroorban, Willurah, Morago, Wanganella, Steam Plains, Four Corners, Mabins Well, Moonbria, Conargo, Pretty Pine, Wandook, Warragoon, Birganbigil, Lindifferon, Hartwood, Coree, Logie Brae, Myrtle Park, Pine Lodge, Tuppal

Interviewee: Belinda Perrett, Executive Assistant

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 4

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 15, (10 families)

Most common country of origin: Philippines, South Africa

Australian foods served: Sponge cake

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem

Gifts provided: Commerative coin for all conferees, Native Plant for the adults and an Australian Native animal soft toy for the children

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 90% oath, 10% affirmation

Comment: We are a small regional council, and so we do not have that many conferees per year becoming citizens. Our ceremonies are small and I think this gives them a warm and intimate atmosphere. With our recent ceremonies we have them in the Heritage Centre, in the gallery room, which gives it quite an intimate atmosphere.. Everybody is very happy, it is quite emotional, especially when the Mayor is congratulating them as individuals. For some people it takes such a long time… and they are very happy to have reached the final stage. We had a South African couple with a daughter who were becoming citizens, and the daughter was in grade one at one of our local primary schools. The parents had asked for their daughter to be taken out of school for the morning so she could attend the ceremony, and the teachers asked if the whole school could attend! I said yes, and within half an hour we had moved everything down into the Foyer so would could fit all the people in. We had the preps and grade ones attend, and all of their teachers, which was a wonderful opportunity for them to see the ceremony. It really was delightful. We even had people who were coming into the council building to pay their rates stopped and joined in as well!

Gunnedah Shire Council

Areas covered: Blue Vale, Boggabri (part), Breeza, Caroona (part), Carroll, Curlewis (part), Emerald Hill, Ghoolendaadi, Goolhi (part), Gunnedah, Keepit, Kelvin, Marys Mount, Milroy, Mullaley, Orange Grove, Piallaway (part), Premer (part), Rangari, Spring Ridge (part), Tambar Springs (part), The Pilliga (part), Wean (part), Werris Creek (part) and Willala (part).

Interviewee: Mayor Councilor Jamie Chaffey

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 3

Most common country of origin: UK, Philippines, Zambia

Australian music played: National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: It is common for family and friends to be there for a special ceremony – and I see this as part of Australian culture

Gifts provided: Native Plant, Literature from local area, for younger people more age appropriate – story book

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 50/50

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment/anecdote: It is one of the absolute highlights of becoming the Mayor, you get the rare opportunity to do something the average Australia cannot do, and that you are able to naturalise a person who is committing to becoming an Australian by choice we as Australians are Australians by birth. It is very special that someone would come from another nation that is chose to come to Australia. I am one of the very few people who has the privilege to able to fulfill that on behalf of Commonwealth. The last 12 months we have been thinking what we can do to improve our ceremony and the experience for the new Australians so that they will continue to remember and for their families. On Australia Day we go down to the riverfront and so it is under a gum tree and our local award winning brass band and play several Australian musical items.

Gwydir Shire Council

Areas covered: Warialda and Bingara, Bangheet, Caroda, Cobbadah, Coolatai, Copeton, Crooble, Croppa Creek, Dinoga, Elcombe, Gineroi, Gravesend, Gulf Creek, Gundamulda, Myall Creek, North Star, Pallal, Riverview, Upper Bingara, Upper Horton, Warialda Rail, Yagobe, and Yallaroi

Interviewee: Robyn Phillips, Executive Assistant

Number of ceremonies in the past year: last one was June 2017

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 7 people in previous 12 months

Most common country of origin: Philippines

Australian foods served: cake with Australian flag on it, sausage rolls

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem

Gifts provided: Native Plant

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 25% affirmation, 75% oath

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment/Anecdote: We talk to the applicant in the lead up to ceremony, we have several conversations with them so that we can find out about them. We talk about why they came to our community and how long they have lived in Gwydir Shire – and then on the day when we introduce them to the room. We ask them things like what is their occupation in their home country, when did they come to Australia, where they lived before they moved to our Shire, and why they want to become an Australian citizen. They say all the things you imagine, that it is a lovely country and they say how good it is. They have all mentioned how safe our community is.

Inverell Shire Council

Areas covered: Inverell, Gilgai, Stannifer, Elsmore, Bukkulla, Ashford, Bonshaw, Yetman, Wallangra, Graman, Oakwood, Delungra and Mount Russell

Interviewee: Christy Galbraith, Corporate Support Officer

Most common country of origin: Philippines

Australian foods served: cakes and slices

Australian music played: National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: A random recital of “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie Oi Oi Oi”

Gifts provided: Commemorative Coin from the Perth Mint

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 56% oath and 44% affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment/anecdote: We are a rural community, which means every citizenship ceremony is special and celebrated. As a small community, we share each ceremony in our public media. We encourage family, work colleagues and friends to come along with Australian memorabilia and create a fun, celebratory atmosphere.

Murrumbidgee Council

Areas covered: Argoon, Berrigan (part), Bundure, Carrathool (part), Coleambally, Coree (part), Darlington Point, Finley (part), Four Corners (part), Gala Vale, Jerilderie, Logie Brae (part), Mabins Well (part), Mairjimmy, Nyora, Oaklands (part) and Steam Plains (part).

Interviewee: Julie Conn, Executive Assistant

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 3

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 7 conferees

Most common country of origin: UK (Scotland)

Australian foods served: Lamingtons

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem

Gifts provided: Australian book, Australian flag, Native Plant, Certificate from Council (additional to one from the Department)

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 100% affirmation (in the last year)

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment/anecdote: We work hard to make it a special occasion.  Council provides a morning tea, light lunch or afternoon tea for the function.  We allow the conferees to invite as many people as they would like, as our ceremonies are small and personal.  Very often we have a personal relationship with the conferee and I believe this make them feel comfortable and welcomed at the event.  We take photos for them to have as a record. A Citizenship Ceremony is a very special occasion for the conferee and their family, and we want to make it a  day they will remember as a special time in their life.

Narrabri Shire Council

Areas covered: Narrabri, Baan Baa, Bellata, Boggabri, Edgeroi, Gwabegar, Pilliga, and Wee Waa.

Interviewee: Delece Hartnett, Personal Assistant to GM and Mayor

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 2

Most common country of origin: Iran and Zimbabwe

Australian foods served: normally do not provide food

Australian music played: National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Conferees bringing Australian flags and Australian stuffed animal toys

Gifts provided: ‘Basket’ of locally produced gifts from our tourist information centre, ie: locally grown produce (honey, cotton, fruit jams, oils), and also products sourced from our local community as well (where possible).

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 75% Affirmation, 25% Oath

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: We have a small rural population, so we do not perform many Citizenship Ceremonies per year. People love taking photos with the Mayor – including selfies – and the Mayor is of course always accommodating.

Shellharbour City Council

Interviewee: Mayor Cr Marianne Saliba

Number of ceremonies in the past year:  4 (4/1-31/10)

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 80

Most common country of origin: United Kingdom

Australian Foods served: Sausage rolls and lamingtons

Australian must played: Australian National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: People dress in the Australian Flag, hats and costumes of all sort.

Gifts provided: Australian native plant, commemorative gold coin and Australian Flag lapel

Percentage of oaths vs affirmation: 60/40

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment/anecdote: As a naturalised Australian I recognise the importance of taking the steps to become an Australian Citizen. I’m proud of my community and feel honoured to preside at the citizenship ceremonies.

Singleton Council

Areas covered: Singleton, Broke, Bulga, Howes Valley, Putty, Warkworth, Jerrys Plains, Camberwell, Ravensworth, Mount Olive, Carrowbrook, Mirranie, Elderslie, Belford and Branxton.

Interviewee: Chery Smith, Executive Assistant

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 2

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 10

Most common country of origin:  South Africa, Philippines, Thailand andIndia

Australian foods served: Lamingtons, party pies, sliced fruit and biscuits (tim tams or iced vovo)

Australian music played: National Anthem

Gifts provided: An engraved Council plaque, commemorative coin for all conferees and their children.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 70% oath, 30% affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment/Anecdote: At the ceremony the flag for the country of origin of our conferees is displayed.

Sutherland Shire Council

Areas covered: Alfords Point, Bangor, Barden Ridge, Bonnet Bay, Bundeena, Burraneer, Caringbah, Caringbah South, Como, Cronulla, Dolans Bay, Engadine, Grays Point, Greenhills Beach, Gymea, Gymea Bay, Heathcote, Holsworthy (part), Illawong, Jannali, Kangaroo Point, Kareela, Kirrawee, Kurnell, Lilli Pilli, Loftus, Lucas Heights, Maianbar, Menai, Miranda, Oyster Bay, Port Hacking, Royal National Park, Sandy Point, Sutherland, Sylvania, Sylvania Waters, Taren Point, Waterfall, Woolooware, Woronora, Woronora Dam (part), Woronora Heights, Yarrawarrah and Yowie Bay

Interviewee: Trish Anderson, Event Coordinator – Arts & Culture

Number of ceremonies in the past year: four ceremonies a year

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 100 clients per ceremony

Australian music played: An Australiana Bush Band provide entertainment before and after the ceremony

Gifts provided: movie vouchers and a voucher for council’s nursery, and a leaflet “Sutherland Shire is Dharawal Country”

Tamworth Regional Council

Areas covered: Appleby, Attunga, Banoon, Barraba (part), Barry, Bective, Bendemeer, Bithramere, Borah Creek, Bowling Alley Point, Bundarra (part), Calala, Crawney (part), Daruka, Duncans Creek, Dungowan, Duri, East Tamworth, Garoo, Garthowen, Gidley, Goonoo Goonoo, Gowrie, Gulf Creek (part), Halls Creek, Hallsville, Hanging Rock, Hillvue, Ironbark, Kentucky (part), Kingswood, Klori, Kootingal, Limbri, Lindesay, Longarm, Loomberah, Manilla, Mayvale, Moonbi, Moore Creek, Mulla Creek, Namoi River, Nemingha, New Mexico, Niangala (part), North Tamworth, Nundle, Ogunbil, Oxley Vale, Piallamore, Red Hill, Retreat, Rushes Creek, Somerton, South Tamworth, Taminda, Tamworth, Thirloene, Timbumburi, Tintinhull, Upper Horton (part), Upper Manilla, Wallamore, Warrabah, Warral, Watsons Creek, Weabonga, West Tamworth, Westdale, Wimborne, Winton, Wongo Creek, Woodsreef, Woolbrook (part) and Woolomin.

Interviewee: Libby Lantz, Administration Supervisor

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 5

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 54

Most common country of origin: Phillipines

Australian foods served: Lamingtons, meat pies

Australian music played: National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: vocalists performing a lively rendition of Waltzing Matilda

Gifts provided: Pewter Australian animal figure (children get a soft toy), Golden guitar pin (Tamworth Country Music Festival), Australian flag, photos sent afterwards

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 80% oath, 20% affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment/anecdote: A few ceremonies ago, we had two candidates in attendance with same name, same spelling, same country of origin, and they both took the same pledge, the only way to tell them apart before the day was their date of birth. That does not happen very often!

Temora Shire Council

Areas covered: Temora, Springdale, Sebastapol, Ariah Park, Gidginbung, Narraburra and Wallundry

Interviewee: Anne Rands, Executive Assistant to the General Manager and Mayor

Australian foods served: Afternoon tea

Australian music played: National Anthem

Gifts provided: Australian flag, $1 Commemorative coin and a Native Australian Plant

Comment/Anecdote: The ceremony is held in the Council chambers, and they are more than welcome to bring family and friends.

Upper Hunter Shire Council

Areas covered:  Scone, Aberdeen, Murrurundi, and Merriwa, Bunnan, Gundy, Moonan Flat, Ellerston, Wingen, Blandford and Cassilis

Interviewee: Daele Healy, Communications Officer

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 4

Most common country of origin: Ireland and the Phillipines

Australian foods served: Fairy bread, Lamingtons, Timtams, Anzac biscuits and tea

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: A woman was presented by her friends after the Ceremony with a meat pie with an Australian flag stuck in it, a toy kangaroo, a jar of vegemite and a pair of ‘plugger’ thongs.

Gifts provided: Native plant (Lilley pilley or Tiny Trev), a library bag, and a Commerative Australian Citizenship $1 coin from The Perth Mint

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 50/50

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

City of Greater Bendigo

Areas covered: South Elmore, Elmore South, May Reef, Axedale, Big Hill, Costerfield, Derrinal, Elmore, Emu Creek, Eppalock, Goornong, Heathcote, Hunter, Huntly, Huntly North, Junortoun, Ladys Pass, Lockwood, Lockwood South, Longlea, Lyal, Maiden Gully, Mandurang, Marong, Mia Mia, Myers Flat, Myrtle Creek, Neilborough, Raywood, Shelbourne, Strathfieldsaye, Wellsford, Whipstick, Wilsons Hill, Woodvale

Interviewee: Kathleen Tonini, Communications Specialist

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 5

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 174

Most common country of origin: Phillipines

Australian music played: National anthem is performed by a local singer

Gifts provided: Australian native plant as a memento of the occasion

Central Highlands Regional Council

Areas covered: Albinia Alsace Anakie Arcadia Valley Arcturus Argyll Balcomba Barnard Bauhinia Belcong Bingegang Blackdown Blackwater Bluff Bogantungan Boolburra Buckland Cairdbeign Capella Carbine Creek Carnarvon Park Cheeseborough Chirnside Comet Cona Creek Consuelo Coomoo Coorumbene Cotherstone Crinum Dingo Dromedary Duaringa Emerald Fernlees Fork Lagoons Gainsford Gindie Goomally Goowarra Gordonstone Hibernia Humboldt Jellinbah Khosh Bulduk Lilyvale Lochington Lowesby Lowestoff Mackenzie Mantuan Downs Mimosa Minerva Mount Macarthur Mungabunda Nandowrie Oombabeer Orion Retro Rewan Rhydding Rolleston Rubyvale Sapphire Springsure The Gemfields Theresa Creek Tieri Togara Wallaroo Wealwandangie Willows Willows Gemfields Withersfield Wooroona Wyuna Yamala 

Interviewee: Andrea Ferris, Coordinator Communications

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 5

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 45

Most common country of origin: South Africa, USA, India, the Philippines, Fiji, Thailand, Zimbabwe, UK and NZ

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem

Gifts provided: Australian flags and Certificates and a photo

Comment/anecdote: The formality of the occasion makes it special, and we hold the ceremonies in the Council Chambers with the Mayor in attendance. We welcome all the new citizens’ family and friends, and they can all sit in the gallery. Australia Day is our most popular day to become a Citizen, and we have a cake that is cut by anyone who has their birthday on 26 January.

Cassowary Coast Regional Council

Areas covered: Bamboo Creek, Basilisk, Belvedere, Bilyana, Bingil Bay, Birkalla, Bombeeta, Boogan, Bulgun, Camp Creek, Cardstone, Cardwell, Carmoo, Carruchan, Coconuts, Comoon Loop, Cooroo Lands, Coorumba, Coquette Point, Cowley, Cowley Beach, Cowley Creek, Cullinane, Currajah, Damper Creek, Daradgee, Daveson, Dingo Pocket, Djarawong, Djiru, Dunk, East Feluga, East Innisfail, East Palmerston, Eaton, Ellerbeck, El Arish, Etty Bay, Eubenangee (part), Euramo, Feluga, Fitzgerald Creek, Flying Fish Point, Friday Pocket, Garners Beach, Garradunga, Germantown, Goolboo, Goondi, Goondi Bend, Goondi Hill, Granadilla, Gulngai, Hinchinbrook, Hudson, Hull Heads, Innisfail, Innisfail Estate, Jaffa, Japoonvale, Jarra Creek, Jubilee Heights, Kennedy, Kooroomool, Kurrimine Beach, Lower Cowley, Lower Tully, Lumholtz, Maadi, Mamu, Maria Creeks, Martyville, McCutcheon, Mena Creek, Merryburn, Midgenoo, Midgeree Bar, Mighell, Mission Beach, Moresby, Mount Mackay, Mourilyan, Mourilyan Harbour, Mundoo, Munro Plains, Murray Upper, Murrigal, Nerada, New Harbourline, Ngatjan (part), No 4 Branch, No 5 Branch, No 6 Branch, O’Briens Hill, Palmerston (part), Pin Gin Hill, Rockingham, Rungoo, Sandy Pocket, Shell Pocket, Silkwood, Silky Oak, South Innisfail, South Johnstone, South Mission Beach, Stockton, Stoters Hill, Sundown, Tam O’Shanter, Tully, Tully Heads, Upper Daradgee, Utchee Creek, Vasa Views, Walter Hill, Walter Lever Estate, Wangan, Wanjuru, Warrami, Warrubullen, Webb, Wongaling Beach and Wooroonooran

Interviewee:Kim Agli, Events Coordinator

Number of ceremonies/citizens processed in the past year: We have had a lowest numbers of citizens for the past 7 years – with only 40 participants from 1st July 2016 to 30th June 2018. For the previous 7 years we could have up 40 at each event and would have 4 per year.

Most common country of origin: India, and then the Philippines

Australian foods served: Sao & Vegemite, scones jam & cream or Damper , Lamingtons, TimTams sometimes Pavlova

Australian music played: The sound engineer will play all Australian music if we don’t have a live performer

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: ‘One gentleman after reciting the oath and everyone clapping, he bent down, took off his socks and sandals and pulled out a set of Australian Flag thongs for him and his partner to put on before they received their certificates’

Gifts provided: Children get Australian Flags, and adults receive a plant of our floral emblem

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 70% oath, 30% affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: A very small amount  – but a bigger number are just overcome by the situation and can’t thank you enough for the event and what it means to them – many of them can’t believe they get to meet the mayor and have their photo taken with him.

Comment: Each time we try for one special unique  aspect for their event it could be:

  • Different Cultures cater
  • Indigenous Welcome to Country
  • Indigenous Performers
  • Multicultural theme with performers
  • Video of the region on the big screen – which is what we had for the last  Naturalisation – on a large LED screen

‘When we had Indian male  dancers performing and at the end of their show they formed a Congo line and got the audience up joining the line or clapping to end the event – this left everyone with a tremendous high’

Bathurst Regional Council 

Areas covered: Abercrombie, Abercrombie River, Arkell, Bald Ridge (part), Bathampton, Bathurst, Billywillinga, Brewongle, Bruinbun, Caloola (part), Charlton (part), Clear Creek, Colo, Copperhannia, Cow Flat, Crudine (part), Curragh, Dunkeld, Duramana, Eglinton, Evans Plains, Fitzgeralds Mount, Fitzgeralds Valley, Forest Grove, Fosters Valley, Freemantle, Gemalla, Georges Plains, Glanmire, Gormans Hill, Gowan (part), Hill End, Kelso, Killongbutta, Kirkconnell, Laffing Waters, Limekilns, Llanarth, Locksley, Meadow Flat, Milkers Flat, Millah Murrah, Mitchell, Mount Panorama, Mount Rankin, Napoleon Reef, O’Connell (part), Orton Park, Paling Yards, Peel, Perthville, Raglan, Robin Hill, Rock Forest, Rockley (part), Rockley Mount, Sallys Flat, Sofala (part), South Bathurst, Stewarts Mount, Sunny Corner, Tambaroora (part), Tannas Mount, Tarana (part), The Lagoon (part), The Rocks, Triangle Flat (part), Trunkey Creek, Turondale, Upper Turon (part), Vittoria (part), Walang, Wambool, Wattle Flat, Watton, West Bathurst, White Rock, Wiagdon, Wimbledon, Winburndale, Windradyne, Wisemans Creek (part), Yarras and Yetholme.

Interviewee:Mayor of Bathurst, Cr Graeme Hanger OAM

Number of ceremonies in the past year:  2

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 19

Most common country of origin: India

Australian foods served: ANZAC biscuits, Tim Tams, and lamingtons

Australian music played: We have a local choir sing the national anthem and other Australian songs

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: We have previously had a local Aboriginal elder perform a smoking ceremony as part of the Citizenship ceremony.

Gifts provided: Native plant for adults, a small toy (koala/kangaroo) for children

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 30% oath, 70% affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: We have not witnessed anyone cry but you can tell that most people are genuinely happy and proud to become and Australian Citizen.

Comment: Ceremonies are held on average two to three times per year. They are relatively small functions with the new citizens joined by family and friends for the ceremony and a morning tea or supper that follows.

Bass Coast Shire

Areas covered: Almurta 3979, Bass 3991, Corinella 3984, Coronet Bay 3984, Glen Alvie 3979, Glen Forbes 3990, Grantville 3984, Gurdies, The 3984, Jam Jerrup 3984, Kernot 3979, Kongwak 3951, Krowera 3945, Pioneer Bay 3984, Pound Creek 3996, San Remo 3925, Tenby Point 3984, Wattle, Bank 3995, Woodleigh 3945, Wonthaggi 3995, North Wonthaggi 3995, Cape Paterson 3995, Harmers Haven 3995, South Dudley 3995, Anderson 3995, Archies Creek 3995, Hicksborough 3995, Kilcunda3995, Lance Creek 3995, Powlett River 3995, St Clair 3995, Wattle Bank 3995, Woolamai 3995, Rhyll 3923, Cape Woolamai 3925, Newhaven 3925, Phillip Island Cowes 3922, Silverleaves 3922, Smiths Beach 3922, Summerlands 3922, Sunderland Bay 3922, Sunset Strip 3922, Surf Beach 3992, Ventnor 3992, Wimbledon Heights 3992, Dalyston 3992 Blackwood Forest 3992, Ryanston 3992, West Creek 3992, Inverloch 3996

Interviewee: Caroline Moore, Mayor and Council Support Officer

Most common country of origin: England

Australian music played: We are very fortunate to have one of our local schools come along with their choir and not only perform the National Anthem but also a couple of Australian songs too.

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Having a local choir group perform that national anthem and other traditional Australian songs.

Gifts provided: Yes we provide them with a gift box.  This contains an Australian flag and tattoo; an Australian citizenship coin; Fairy penguin soft toy; local produce products from local producers in the Bass Coast region.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: Approx. 70% of new citizens swear the pledge by affirmation.

Percentage of people who cry: 1% – I haven’t witnessed anyone cry but have heard of it happening.

Comments/Anecdotes: It’s always really special when there are kids getting their citizenship and they come dressed in their traditional culture clothing.

City of Burnside

Areas covered: Kensington Park (Beulah Park, Hazelwood Park, Kensington Park and Leabrook), Kensington Gardens & Magill (Auldana, Kensington Gardens, Magill, Rosslyn Park and Skye), Burnside (Burnside, Erindale, Stonyfell and Wattle Park), Beaumont (Beaumont, Leawood Gardens, Linden Park, Mount Osmond, St Georges and Waterfall Gully), Eastwood & Glenunga (Eastwood, Frewville, Glen Osmond, Glenside and Glenunga), Rose Park & Toorak Gardens (Dulwich, Rose Park, Toorak Gardens and Tusmore)

Interviewee: Farlie Taylor, Group Manager Community Connections

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 2

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: We have on average approx. 85-100 people attend each ceremony.

Australian foods served: We host a good old fashioned BBQ and lamingtons out in the open.

Australian music played: National anthem and local youth orchestra

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Our Australia Day ceremony is held in the beautiful Hazelwood Park, under the lovely old gum trees, which makes the City of Burnside so special.

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

City of Hobart

Areas covered: Battery Point, Dynnyrne, Fern Tree, Glebe, Hobart, Lenah Valley, Mount Nelson, Mount Stuart, New Town, North Hobart, Ridgeway, Sandy Bay, South Hobart, Tolmans Hill, and West Hobart.

Interviewee: Kimbra Parker, Acting Associate Director  Community and Culture Division

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 4

Most common country of origin: India

Australian foods served: Lamingtons, vegetarian food, sandwiches, quiches, fruit

Australian music played: National anthem and We Are Australian

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: About 6 months ago, the entertainment didn’t turn up to the ceremony so the council staff became the choir. Now it’s become a tradition to create a choir to welcome the new citizens.

Gifts provided:  Native plant

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 60% affirmation, 40% oath approximately

Percentage of people who cry: 10%

Comment: The ceremonies are quite formal with the lord mayor dressing in robes and strong representation from local politicians.

Lockyer Valley Regional Council

Areas covered: Adare, Ballard, Black Duck Creek, Blanchview, Blenheim, Brightview, Buaraba South, Caffey, Carpendale, Churchable, College View, Crowley Vale, Derrymore, East Haldon, Egypt, Fifteen Mile, Flagstone Creek, Fordsdale, Forest Hill, Gatton, Glen Cairn, Glenore Grove, Grantham, Hatton Vale, Helidon, Helidon Spa, Ingoldsby, Iredale, Junction View, Kensington Grove, Kentville, Laidley, Laidley Creek West, Laidley Heights, Laidley North, Laidley South, Lake Clarendon, Lawes, Lefthand Branch, Lilydale, Lockrose, Lockyer, Lockyer Waters, Lower Tenthill, Lynford, Ma Ma Creek, Morton Vale, Mount Berryman, Mount Sylvia, Mount Whitestone, Mulgowie, Murphys Creek, Placid Hills, Plainland, Postmans Ridge, Preston (part), Regency Downs, Ringwood, Rockmount, Rockside, Ropeley, Seventeen Mile, Silver Ridge, Spring Creek, Stockyard, Summerholm, Thornton, Townson, Upper Flagstone, Upper Lockyer, Upper Tenthill, Veradilla, Vinegar Hill, West Haldon, White Mountain, Winwill, Withcott, Woodbine and Woodlands.

Interviewee:Annette Steinhardt, Business Support Officer, Marketing, Communications & Engagement

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 4

Most common country of origin: India

Australian foods served: Vegemite sandwiches, lamingtons, meat pies

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Friend of a conferee wearing khaki clothing and an Akubra hat.

Gifts provided: an indigenous plant, Australian flag pride pin, Australian Citizenship pledge card, Australian Citizenship Affirmation bookmark & Citizenship coin. After the ceremony the new citizens are emailed or posted personal commemorative photos from the ceremony.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 70% oath, 30% affirmation

Percentage of people who cry: 5%

Comment/Anecdote: The Mayor and staff class these special events as a highlight of the year.

Because the Lockyer Valley Regional Council hosts smaller ceremonies we can offer an intimate ceremony which specifically allows each attendee to feel special.

Once afour year old new citizen sang the Australian Nation Anthem verbatim at the top of her lungs.

Burwood Council

Areas covered: Burwood, Burwood Heights, Croydon (part), Croydon Park (part), Enfield and Strathfield (part)

Interviewee: Kayla Dinsdale, Executive Assistant to the Mayor and Councillors

Number of ceremonies in the past year: 4 in 2018

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 185 in 2018

Most common country of origin: There is always a wide variety of nationalities at our Ceremonies. Our last citizens were from Brazil, China, Colombia, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, South Korea, Lebanon, Nepal, Sierra Leone, Taiwan, Venezuela and Vietnam.

Australian foods served: Meat pies, lamingtons, Anzac biscuits and seasonal fruits.

Australian music played: National Anthem and Australian songs are performed before and after.

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: The Welcome to Country by an Aboriginal Elder followed by a traditional Indigenous smoking ceremony and performance.

Gifts provided: Native Australian Plant, Australian Commemorative Pin and a photo with the Mayor.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: Each citizenship ceremony is very different, overall the majority of new citizens make their pledge by oath to God.

Percentage of people who cry: There is generally one or two happy tears!

Comment: We generally don’t see Australian things, most citizens and families attending come dressed in formal attire or cultural attire as it marks a big occasion for most of them. It’s quite sweet to see their guests come with flowers and gifts to make their day extra special.

Southern Downs Regional Council

Areas Covered: Allan, Allora, Amiens, Applethorpe, Ballandean, Bapaume, Berat, Bony Mountain, Broadwater, Canningvale, Cannon Creek, Cherry Gully, Clintonvale, Cottonvale (part), Cunningham, Dalcouth, Dalveen, Danderoo, Deuchar, Diamondvale, Elbow Valley, Ellinthorp, Emu Vale, Eukey, Fletcher, Fleurbaix, Forest Springs, Freestone, Girraween, Gladfield, Glen Aplin, Glen Niven, Glengallan, Glenlyon, Goldfields, Goomburra, Greenlands, Greymare, Hendon, Junabee, Karara, Killarney, Kyoomba, Leslie, Leslie Dam, Leyburn (part), Loch Lomond, Lyra, Maryvale, Massie, Mingoola, Montrose, Morgan Park, Mount Colliery, Mount Marshall, Mount Sturt, Mount Tabor, Mount Tully, Murrays Bridge, North Branch, Nundubbermere, Old Talgai, Palgrave, Passchendale, Pikes Creek, Pikedale, Pozieres, Pratten, Rodgers Creek, Rosehill, Rosenthal Heights, Severnlea, Silverwood, Sladevale, Somme, Spring Creek (part), Springdale, Stanthorpe, Storm King, Sugarloaf, Sundown, Swan Creek, Swanfels, Talgai, Tannymorel, Thane, Thanes Creek, The Falls, The Glen, The Head, The Hermitage, The Summit, Thorndale, Thulimbah, Toolburrra, Tregony, Upper Freestone, Upper Pilton (part), Upper Wheatvale, Victoria Hill (part), Wallangarra, Warwick, Wheatvale, Wildash, Willowvale, Womina, Wyarra, Wyberba and Yangan

Interviewee: Jonno Colfs, Events Officer, Southern Downs Regional Council

Most common country of origin: The Philippines

Australian foods served: Lamingtons

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: The humour from some councillors present can be pretty ocker and sometimes misunderstood or flying straight over the head of those present.

Gifts provided: “All attendees go away with a native Australian plant and a big smile”

Percentage of people who cry: around 10%

When asked what makes their Ceremonies special: The same that makes them all special. The beginning of a new life for new Australians. The pride they feel in the step they’ve taken to become Australians.

Occasionally the Mayor will ask the people about their stories. These can be pretty harrowing or emotional, which adds to the feeling of the occasion and the realisation for those present that Australia really is the lucky country.

Balonne Shire Council

Interviewee: Kathy Elliott

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: Nil

Most common country of origin: South Africa

Australian foods served: None – Mayor takes conferee out for morning tea.

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: One Scottish couple many years, brought along a bottle of scotch and savouries for everyone to share. They then went to a local hotel known as “The Australian” to have an Australian beer at the Australian Hotel.

Gifts provided: Citizenship badge & Council Bible if they swear on one.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 20%

Percentage of people who cry: None

Narrandera Shire Council

Areas covered: Narrandera, Grong Grong, Barellan, Binya, Kamarah, Corobimilla, Colinroobie, Moombooldool, Sandigo, Ardlethan, Morundah, Galore, Boree Creek, Corbie Hill

Interviewee: Vicki Maher Personal Assistant to GM and Mayor

Number of new citizens processed in the past year:7 in 2018, 5 so far in 2019 (1 being arranged when she is well again)

Most common country of origin: England, Scotland, (United Kingdom), Nigeria, China, Philippines , Thailand, Canada, Samoa, Nepal, Kenya, Iraq

Australian foods served: BBQ

Australian music played: Advance Australia Fair

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Someone wearing an Aussie Flag Hat, sunglasses and thongs

Gifts provided: Citizenship Coin from Perth Mint, Aussie Key Rings, Coasters depicting Australian Landmarks, for children: a soft toy; Koala or Kangaroo. Until the forest nursery closed, I used to give the NSW State Plant the Warratah as a gift.

Percentage of people who cry: 50% it’s a very emotional time, I nearly cry at some.

Liverpool Plains Shire Council

Areas covered:Quirindi, Ardglen, Blackville, Caroona, Currabubula, Premer, Spring Ridge, Wallabadah, Werris Creek, and Willow Tree.

Interviewee: Andrew Ballard – Community Events Officer

Number of new citizens processed in the past year: 6-7 (5 – 2019 Australia Day)

Most common country of origin: UK

Australian food served: Fruit platters; dips and crackers

Australian music played: Country music

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: The amount of sweat on everyone that was on stage…

Gifts provided: Flowers; Koala toys; Council gift bag

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 100% affirmations

Percentage of people who cry: No tears but lots of nervous smiles

Adelaide Plains Council

Areas Covered: Calomba, Dublin, Fischer, Korunye, Lewiston, Lower Light, Mallala, Middle Beach, Parham, Port Gawler, Redbanks, Thompson Beach, Two Wells, Webb Beach and Windsor, and parts of Barabba, Grace Plains, Long Plains, Reeves Plains and Wild Horse Plains

Interviewee: Lynette Seccafien, Community Development Officer

Most common country of origin: The most predominant are UK (usually older people who came over as children during the ’10 pound pom’ emigration period), and Philippines (generally those who have come over here to work in pig and poultry industry).

Australian foods served: Usually a Devonshire tea (vegemite, pies, lamingtons, timtams, pavlova, damper) unless it is the Australia Day Event. Then we have a fully cooked breakfast prior to the ceremony.

Australian music played: Not at the ceremony, sometimes music is played in the background at Australia Day before and after the formal component is completed.

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Probably our Australia Day events that are held outside (we hold them at each town sequentially around the district) where there are a bunch of blokes cooking the barbie and they have all the cold drinks in eskies and people are sitting under old gum trees in the shade.

Gifts provided: We give them a special citizenship coin minted in the year of their ceremony, a plant that is native to the area (if possible) all in a small gift bag. I am looking at adding something with Council’s name on it but I don’t have a very big budget.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 50/50

It used to be more oath, but now it’s a mixture. Due to the small group we confer, we say the oath and affirmation at the same time (they just omit to say ‘under god’) but many often say it by mistake! It’s no biggie. They often have a laugh.

Percentage of people who cry: Less than 50% but sometimes it’s the people you least expect will cry! They make me cry too!

Comment: I had a man in his 60’s who had come out here from England with his parents as a small child. He had grown up in Australia, served in Vietnam and was quite indignant that  he had to apply for an Australia Passport (he thought he was Australian). We did his ceremony on Australia Day and he only bought his wife and didn’t want to bother with friends and family coming. He was a big burly bloke and quite gruff. He cried the entire way through the ceremony (which made me cry too). He was surprised by his own emotion but it was lovely.

I also had bit of a giggle at one ceremony – we had a beautiful Philippine family who were all becoming citizens. Dad had been out here for several years working on a poultry farm and mum had stayed back in the Philippines with the children until he was settled, then followed him out. I had a chat to mum before the ceremony and her English was quite good and she was lovely. We briefly spoke about her profession. Anyway, I had invited some of the ‘ladies’ of one of the towns to attend, and after the ceremony, I introduced mum to them (who were actually ignoring the family). One asked ‘where are you from?” to which mum replied ‘Manilla’. ‘Oh’ the lady replied ‘ they grow pineapples in Manilla’ with a look and tone that said she felt she was far superior to and more knowledgeable than those around her. ‘Did you grow pineapples in Manilla?’ she said, as though the mum and her family were illiterate peasants. ‘No’ Mum responded ‘I’m a dentist’ . My dear haughty doughty nearly choked on her biscuit and I was trying to keep a straight face!

Just because you have an accent or your English is not good, doesn’t mean you are less intelligent!

Shire of Irwin

Areas Covered: Dongara, Allanook, Arrowsmith, Bookara, Port Denison, Springfield, Yardarino

Interviewee: Danika Chandler, Coordinator Executive Services

Most common country of origin: Britain and Thailand

Australian foods served: None

Australian music played: Australian National Anthem

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Attendees asking where the esky is and children having the day off school to attend a ceremony for their parent/s.

Gifts provided: None

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: 50/50

Percentage of people who cry: 0%

Comment: The strangest/funniest thing that happens is when attendees request that myself and the Shire President are included in the family photographs.

City of Stirling

Areas Covered: Balcatta, Balga, Carine, Churchlands, Coolbinia, Dianella, Doubleview, Glendalough, Gwelup, Hamersley, Inglewood, Innaloo, Joondanna, Karrinyup, Menora, Mirrabooka, Mount Lawley, Nollamara, North Beach, Herdsman, Osborne Park, Scarborough, Stirling, Trigg, Tuart Hill, Watermans Bay, Wembley, Wembley Downs, Westminster, Woodlands, Yokine

Interviewee: Kate Phillips, Senior Coordinator Communications

Most common country of origin: Ireland, India  and the UK

Australian foods served: We serve assorted soft drinks and finger foods including fresh fruit, lamingtons, sausage rolls, party pies, fish goujons and vegetarian samosas.

Australian music played: Entertainment for the evening is performed by local musical acts, Tessa Hutchinson ( Champions Music ) and West Coast Chordsmen. Both predominately sing Australian Songs.

Most “Australian” thing seen at a ceremony: Some people have attended wearing Wallabies / AFL jerseys, and we also had gentleman attend wearing board shorts, thongs and a blazer.

Gifts provided: Attendees are presented with a folder which includes a certificate, coin medallion, Australian flag and program which has the recipient’s name printed on it.

Percentage of oaths vs affirmations: Approximately two thirds take the oath and one third the affirmation.

Percentage of people who cry: Approximately three to five percent.

Comment: Usually the people that have waited 30 years to become a Citizen are the happiest! The children are also very excited to be part of the ceremony. We have recently added a children’s corner with chairs , tables , games and pencils with colouring books to keep the children entertained.

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  • January 24, 2019

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