Stawell welcomed six new Australian citizens at an official ceremony during national day celebrations at Cato Park on Thursday evening.
One of the new citizens Alma Calud said she was full of joy to officially be an Australian citizen after five years in the country.
“It is what we have been waiting for since we arrived here,” she said.
“I feel like I am now fully part of the culture and way of life here.”
Mrs Calud arrived in Australia in 2012 from the Philippines to pursue travelling and study pathways.
“The initial plan was to study and travel, but then I thought the only pathway for me was to use my skills and try to get a job here so study would become easier,” she said.
“My first employment opportunity came from Stawell so we have lived here since 2012.”
A registered nurse at Stawell Regional Health Mrs Calud said she enjoyed the mateship in Australia and especially at Stawell.
“We had the choice of several countries but we chose Australia because we knew the people were very friendly,” she said.
“Australia is also very close to our home country so it makes it easy to travel between the two.
“We are very fortunate to be in this beautiful country and around all these very happy people and living under a democratic government, it is very nice.”
Mrs Calud’s husband, Gus, also became an Australian citizen alongside his wife on Thursday.
Mr Calud was a personal care worker with Eventide Homes.
“It is good to work in regional areas, you get experience, it is cheaper and you meet a lot of nice people,” Mrs Calud said.
The citizens made their public pledge after Stawell’s Australia Day award winners were announced.
Neil and Sheila Thornton were awarded the Citizens of the Year and Ryan Kell was named the Young Citizen of the Year.
The Zumbo Just Desserts Drought Relief initiative which occurred at Navarre won the Community Event of the Year and the Local Hero Award went to the Stawell Avenue of Honour project.
We are very fortunate to be in this beautiful country and around all these very happy people and living under a democratic government, it is very nice.- Alma Calud
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