MEET Tamworth’s newest official citizens – a group of now dinky-di Aussies.
The 17 have been invested with some true Aussie sentiments and the formal papers that make them Australian citizens – enabling to vote and even stand for Parliament if they want.
The newest group to take the plunge and sign up for citizenship or naturalisation represent nine countries and bring some more cultural diversity from Ghana, India, Hungary, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Canada, China, Poland and the UK.
That’s them in our photo line-up around mayor Col Murray, in the centre of the group in his mayoral chains, and Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson, right, who officiated at a morning tea at Tamworth Regional Council.
From left, that’s Andrzej Adamski, Mr Ramandeep, Habeeb Ur Rahman Mohammed, Mizanoor Rahman, Gurmeet Saini, Josh Walker, Mark Verad, Cr Murray, Ma Dorens Rawsthorne, Mariam Cobson-Cobbold, Praj and Prisha and Mrs Gunjan Gupte, Zsolt Csakvari behind the Guptes, Ivett Kasza, Prasson Gupte, Wayne Boisson, Houzhu Zhang and Mr Anderson.
They join a community of some 3000 people who call Tamworth, or this council region, home, representing scores of nationalities.
About half of them come from backgrounds where English is not the first language.
Census statistics show about 5 per cent of us were born overseas, but there continues to be a change in the countries where more of us are coming from.
The two fastest-emerging countries providing Tamworth residents are the Philippines and China. The UK and New Zealand still provide more residents to Tamworth than any other countries.
This year is the 65th anniversary of Australian citizenship – it was in 1949 that the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 came into effect, creating the new status of Australian citizen.
And our newest 17 citizens join more than four-and-a-half million people who have done that before them.