FOR a Clarkson family becoming citizens on Australia Day is about a sense of belonging to the country they now call home.
Ivo Kalcic, from Croatia, said attending the citizenship ceremony at the City of Wanneroo would be monumental for his multicultural family because it meant each member would officially be considered Australian.
As a petroleum engineer for Wood Group, Mr Kalcic came to Western Australia for work opportunities during the mining boom when the local industry was “screaming” for people.
After living in Croatia and working in Milan, Mr Kalcic and his Chinese wife Eva Chen moved to Perth in 2012 with their twins Lucas and William Kalcic Chen.
The father of two, who holds citizenship in Croatia and Italy, said Australia was now their home and that for all of them to gain citizenship would make it official.
“It means a lot for us all to hold Australian citizenship because it means the family is finally united under the one common denominator,” Mr Kalcic said.
“I’m from Croatia and so are my sons, and my wife is from China so it will be nice for us to all be recognised as belonging here.
“When we moved to Australia we knew what we were losing and didn’t know what we would be gaining but now we know that life in Australia is for us.”
Although life in Australia was now “amazing” for Mr Kalcic and his family, he said it hadn’t always been easy.
“The mining downturn was hard because there was some uncertainty around whether we should stay or move back overseas,” he said.
“I have travelled a lot for work but to be away from my family is not ideal so we decided to stay, especially because all my kids know is Australia.
“Home is definitely down under now because we bought our first home and are living the Australian dream which feels great.
“The move to Australia has been the best decision because it’s meant less travel for me and a better lifestyle for our family.”
For Ms Chen, the move to Australia after living in Croatia was refreshing because she felt “accepted” straight away after meeting friends in the broad Chinese community in Perth.
The childcare worker said she was only one of about two Chinese people who were living in Croatia at the time so to meet people from her country made her feel more at home.
“It’s not as multicultural there and although we still miss parts of Croatia we’ve all flourished here,” she said.