New citizens join the Naracoorte community

Kimberley, Remedios, Godfrey, Henry and Gavin Garcia at the citizenship ceremony on Wednesday, where Remedios, Godfrey and Henry became Australian citizens.
Kimberley, Remedios, Godfrey, Henry and Gavin Garcia at the citizenship ceremony on Wednesday, where Remedios, Godfrey and Henry became Australian citizens.

The Naracoorte community will be home for the 13 new citizens that were welcomed on Wednesday.

People from Mauritius, the United Kingdom, Lao People's Democratic Republic, New Zealand, The Philippines, Ethiopia, Turkey and Vietnam are now Australian citizens after an official ceremony, where they recited the Citizenship Pledge.

One of the new citizens, Henry Garcia came to Australia from The Philippines, and said he was thrilled to have finally achieved his dream of becoming an Australian citizen.

"I applied for work at the meatworks seven years ago, we wanted to come here really badly, for our family and especially the kids, to give them a good life," he said.

"Coming from the Philippines, the difference is between there and here is huge - once I stepped a foot in Australia, especially here in Naracoorte, I was in love.

"It's so green and there is lots of the fresh air. Once I got here, I thought 'Wow, I want my family to come here as soon as possible'."

He worked hard and within ten months, he was able to bring his wife and children over to Australia to join him.

His wife Remedios and son Godfrey also became citizens on Wednesday.

Mr Garcia said the friendly community here in Naracoorte is one of his favorite things about living in Australia.

"Everyone here is so friendly. You see someone you know walking down the street, or driving past and they stop or wave, it's amazing," he said,

"It's one of the things, of so many, that I love.

"I am now just looking forward to living my life as an Australian citizen - it's taken a lot of hard work, sacrifice, tears and blood, but here we are."

The ceremony was the first to be held since Australia Day, and was conducted by Mayor Erika Vickery and attended by Member for Barker Tony Pasin.

"I congratulate them on getting their citizenship and welcome them as our new citizens," Mrs Vickery said.

"I am very proud that they have chosen Naracoorte as the place to be our fellow Australians in."