‘Tears in my eyes’: Victoria welcomes newest citizens in emotional Australia Day ceremony

Rhiannon TuffieldNCA NewsWire
Not Supplied
Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Corp Australia

Australia’s newest citizens have been sworn in at an official ceremony in Victoria, prompting emotional scenes, tears and ecstatic faces in Melbourne’s CBD on Australia Day.

Almost 100 people proudly became Australian at the ceremony at Town Hall, which welcomed couples, families, and individuals.

About 30 different countries were represented in the ceremony, including India, Scotland, Ireland and China.

Some citizens in attendance had waited almost a decade to become Australian, others had taken multiple English language tests to pass, while others were forced to give up their home country’s citizenship in order to become Australian.

New Australian Citizens
Camera IconPriyanka Deshpande and her husband Vinayak Shenoy at a Citizenship ceremony at Melbourne Townhill on Australia Day. NCA NewsWire / David Crosling Credit: News Corp Australia

Priyanka Deshpande, who originally hailed from the city of Pune, near Mumbai in India, was clearly emotional over the big day.

“It’s a big day, when it was happening I actually had tears in my eyes and I was wondering if anybody else was as emotional as I am,” she said.

“It took me back through the whole journey of applying, waiting for it, and it is a big deal.

“It just feels amazing.”

While her family back in India were supportive, Priyanka said the hardest part about embracing Australian citizenship was having to give up her own Indian citizenship, as the country did not allow dual-citizenships.

“I will have to give up my Indian citizenship, which made me a bit emotional. It was hard to make that decision,” she said.

“Even for a couple of weeks ahead I thought, do we need to think about this, but then I was like no I am ready for it and I was ready for it.”

New Australian Citizens
Camera IconA family gets a photo with Lord Mayor Sally Capp. NCA NewsWire / David Crosling Credit: News Corp Australia

Milan Barot, also from India, said it had been a long and, at times, challenging journey to get the citizenship.

The 28 year-old said he had been attempting for almost a decade to become a citizen after first studying and then gaining employment in Australia.

“There were lots of ups and downs applying for my citizenship, and I had to sit my English test 15 times,” he said.

“It was so emotional because I was waiting for this moment for almost ten years – it was a long journey and it was finally about to (be) complete.”

Scottish couple Daniel and Lorraine McKenna and their son Zachary all received their citizenship on Wednesday, after eight years in Australia.

The family originally arrived in Western Australia before settling in Melbourne.

“I’d been here before and I loved it and I wanted to come back again,” Lorraine said.

New Australian Citizens
Camera IconScottish family Daniel and Lorraine McKenna with their son Zachary. NCA NewsWire / David Crosling Credit: News Corp Australia

“We originally thought we’d come over here for a year and see how it goes and eight years later we’re still here.”

While Australia had similar cultural values to Scotland, Daniel said there was one adjustment he took a while to come to terms with.

“The biggest shock for me was when I came over, my first job was in Karratha where it was 45C, so I went from 5C to 45C,” he said

“That was a bit of a shock.”

Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Sally Capp, who led the ceremony, said Melbourne was richer because of its multiculturalism.

“When people make the deliberate decision to become an Australian citizen, they bring with them a lifetime of skills, knowledge, passion and ideas,” Cr Capp said.

“Now more than ever, as Melbourne bounces back from this latest variant, their commitment to our city means so much.”

Originally published as ‘Tears in my eyes’: Victoria welcomes newest citizens in emotional Australia Day ceremony

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