MORE than 2700 people from 77 countries became Australian citizens at 67 ceremonies in Western Australia this Australia Day.
The State’s largest ceremony was hosted by the City of Wanneroo for the fifth year in a row, where about 570 people from 44 countries became Australian citizens.
The second biggest ceremony was in the City of Joondalup with about 315 conferees and the City of Armadale hosted the third biggest event for about 120 people.
Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts said it was the fifth year running that the City hosted WA’s largest ceremony, although it was not Australia’s biggest ceremony this time.
“The City of Wanneroo is WA’s largest growing City, expanding at a rate of 20 new residents each day,” she said.
“We are a diverse community, representing cultures from all corners of the world.
“Australian citizenship represents commitment to Australia and its people, the values we share and our future.”
Mike Lohr was among those pledging allegiance at Wanneroo Showground, having moved to Perth from Hawaii in 2013 with his Australian wife Cheryl and their daughter Heidi.
The research scientist said one of the things he appreciated most about living in Australia were the opportunities available to people working in the sciences.
“These opportunities don’t really exist in the US anymore, so moving to Perth has given me the opportunity to make some meaningful contributions to wildlife,” he said.
“The thing I love most about living in Wanneroo is how well the City treats its volunteers and the opportunities it provides.
“For the last few years I’ve done some volunteering work removing invasive plants from parks and helping the City recognise emerging threats to native biodiversity.
“The support and appreciation from the City of Wanneroo has been incredible.
“Being an Australian citizen will mean that I can continue to live in a country where my wife and children are already full members of society.”
Heidi Wassily, her husband Marcus and sons Daniel (9) and Anthony (7) moved to Perth from Egypt in 2012.
“Moving to Australia offers a new beginning with lots of opportunities for my family,” she said.
“We like living in Perth for many reasons, including the wonderful weather and beautiful natural landscape.
“Living in Wanneroo is great – we love the beach, the parks, the people and all the facilities for families to enjoy, especially Aquamotion and the libraries.
“Becoming an Australian citizen is important to me because it means I will have the right to vote, express my opinions freely and be protected.”
Adrian Barich was MC at the ceremony and Richard Whalley performed the Welcome to Country.
This year’s event featured guest speaker Rishelle Hume, a Noongar leader who has devoted her working life to the advancement of Aboriginal people.
In 2016, Ms Hume received the WA Aboriginal Person of the Year Award for promoting Aboriginal rights and Noongar culture.
Singer Paula Parore performed, accompanied by the Challenge Brass Band and the Wanneroo Scout Group hosted a barbecue breakfast.
CITY OF WANNEROO AUSTRALIA DAY AWARD RECIPIENTS
WANNEROO Mayor Tracey Roberts presented Australia Day Awards to community members who have made an outstanding contribution to the City at the January 26 ceremony.
Australia Day WA chief executive Morgen Lewis said the award recipients were an amazing group of dedicated citizens all working to make WA a “fabulous place”.
“The Community Citizen of the Year Awards allow us to recognise and celebrate the achievements of outstanding local citizens – people making our local communities such wonderful places to be,” she said.
Charles Searson Australia Day Youth Award – Struan Graham
Struan Graham has been an active firefighter since he joined the Wanneroo Central Bush Fire Brigade five years ago, aged 16.
According to his nominee, Struan has enthusiastically fulfilled all standard brigade requirements as well as extra brigade duties, often taking unpaid leave from work in order to go on first response fire duty.
Struan has assisted in various brigade specialty areas, including community liaison where he has taught hundreds of school children about home fire safety, bush fires and emergency situations.
In each of his roles with the brigade, Struan has enhanced the efficient operation of the brigade and increased the community’s awareness of fire safety.
In 2016, Struan received the Department of Fire and Emergency Services youth achievement award for excelling in his service to the community.
Australia Day Individual Award – Derek Young
Derek Young has a long history as a community volunteer having served as both a scout leader and volunteer firefighter for many years.
Originally from South Africa, Derek first became a scout leader in Johannesburg in 1987.
When he and his wife immigrated to Australia in 1999, Derek was recruited as a scout leader in Scarborough and later, North Beach.
They moved to Two Rocks in 2011 and Derek soon began planning the establishment of a local scout group, and realised that vision in February 2016 by starting the Two Rocks Yanchep Emergency Scouts.
As scout leader, Derek has taught about 60 children a range of skills and the importance of being productive community members.
His vision is for the group to provide a source of volunteers for local fire brigades.
He joined the Two Rocks Volunteer Bushfire Brigade in 2012 and was appointed captain in 2016.
On average, Derek gives 25 hours each week to the brigade and 25 hours to the scouts, as well as working full-time as an air-conditioning design engineer.
Australia Day Senior Award – Rod Greene
Rod Greene’s community contributions are many, with his influence spanning local sporting clubs and businesses.
Rod moved to the City in 1987 and opened his business, Greene’s Tyre and Brakes the following year.
During the 1990s, Rod was a founding member of the Wanneroo Business Association and in his first year on its committee, he was instrumental in raising funds through the small businesses to provide a pastor at the Wanneroo Senior High School.
Rod has strong links to local sporting clubs, having been president of the Wanneroo Senior Cricket Club and chairman of the Wanneroo cricket and football clubs.
He continues to troubleshoot for the clubs whenever problems arise and, as a leader and a sponsor, keeps both clubs’ memberships active in the Wanneroo area.
In addition, Rod personally, and through his business, has sponsored other clubs, including the Wanneroo BMX Club, Wanneroo Junior Motorcross Club and the Wanneroo Agricultural Society.
City of Wanneroo Australia Day Community Group Award – 2017 State History Conference organisers
The Wanneroo and Districts Historical Society committee spent 18 months planning and organising the 2017 State History Conference of Affiliated Historical Societies, which was held in Wanneroo over three days last September.
This involved many hours of organising inspiring local speakers and planning tours of historical places in Wanneroo including the Wanneroo Showground, Rotary Park, Buckingham House, Trandos Farms, Paul Conti Wines, the Wanneroo War Memorial and Cockman House.
This event promoted the history and heritage of Wanneroo to more than 100 delegates and visitors from throughout WA.
Countries of origin for Wanneroo’s new citizens
Ireland, Republic Of
Isle of Man
Papua New Guinea