Gunnedah welcomed five new citizens into the Aussie fold at a citizenship ceremony last week.
A special ceremony was held at a combined Rotary meeting on Thursday night, with Rotary Club of Gunnedah West, Rotary Club of Gunnedah and Rotary Club of Gunnedah 2380 members and family in attendance.
Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey officiated the ceremony and welcomed British-born Deborah Picken as well as Brazilian family - Nataniel Ely Gomes, Ana Pereira Bueno, Maria Bueno Ortiz and Victor Bueno Gomes - as Gunnedah’s newest Australian citizens.
Councillor Chaffey addressed the recipients and explained the importance of the ceremony and outlined what becoming Australian involves, including the civil and social rights - to obey the laws, the right to vote, serve on a jury and travel on an Australian passport.
“Our ceremony tonight recognises that citizenship is a common bond made meaningful because it embraces an understanding of the rights and responsibilities of all people. Thank you for taking this important step here tonight.” Cr Chaffey said.
The citizens took the Pledge of Commitment and were presented with certificates and a Gunnedah Shire Council tradition of a native Australian plant. Victor received a small toy koala and a book titled ‘Advance Australia Fair’, along with a very special gift from the mayor – a Pokemon card – Victor’s favourite game.
Rotary Club of Gunnedah West Doug Brown said Nataniel has been a member of the club since moving to Gunnedah and wife Ana has joined Rotary Club of Gunnedah 2380.
“With their involvement in Rotary, they felt it would be appropriate to hold the naturalization ceremony at a combined Rotary meeting. Australia and especially Gunnedah have benefited from the Gomes family moving here and it is great to think they have become Australian citizens. Members will still encourage his Brazilian barbecues, however as we would hate to see him lose those precious skills,” Mr Brown said.