The booming suburb of South Morang was home to the nation’s largest citizenship ceremony on Tuesday, as 500 migrants dressed in their finest proudly affirmed their loyalty to Australia.
Outside the convention centre, two dozen prams sat lined up against the wall as the young ones inside the auditorium cried in their parents’ arms.
The special event held in Australia’s fastest-growing postcode – the Northern Hospital in Epping is currently experiencing 70 births a week – was one of 48 ceremonies conducted across the country for Australian Citizenship Day. The new Australians received native plants but no official certificates as they will need the signature of the incoming federal minister for immigration Scott Morrison.
Among the newly minted Australian citizens were Mill Park couple Gregorio and Lidia Schipano, who, despite both moving to Australia from Italy more than 50 years ago, hadn’t managed to find time in between running a business and raising a family to make their citizenship official.
”We always loved Australia,” Mr Schipano said. ”Australia gave us so much, we had four children in Australia, it gave us a good life for every one of us.”
More recently landed in Australia, father-to-be Gagandeep Singh had a special reason to become a citizen, as the forklift driver wants to join the Australian Army.
In September alone Victoria is expected to see more than 4000 new Australians commit to being citizens, a figure which outstrips all other states and territories.
[divide] Source: The Age