THE City of Wanneroo has again hosted the largest Australia Day citizenship ceremony in the country, with 785 people from 63 different countries making the pledge to become citizens.
The Wanneroo Showground was filled with colour and excitement as new citizens and their 2000 guests celebrated the occasion, including Sergey Lunkov and Olga Lunkova and their son Alexander Lunkov.
The couple said they had moved to Australia from Russia about 10 years ago and had lived in Hocking for about two years.
They said it had been a long road to get citizenship and they would continue celebrating with family by having a barbecue at home then going to watch the fireworks in Perth.
“We love Australia; it’s our new home now,” Mrs Lunkova said.
Mayor Tracey Roberts said it was the sixth year running that the City had hosted the largest ceremony in the nation on Australia Day.
“As the largest growing local government in WA it is wonderful to see so many people choosing to make the City of Wanneroo their home,” Mayor Roberts said.
“More than 40 per cent of our 210,000 residents are born overseas, and I am proud that we have again hosted the biggest ceremony, especially in a milestone year.”
This year marks the 70th anniversary since Australian citizenship was introduced into law, creating for the first time a legal status of being Australian.
The City of Wanneroo’s Australia Day citizenship ceremony, believed to be the biggest in the country. Read more: https://bit.ly/2sPpc0R
Posted by Joondalup-Wanneroo Times/Weekender on Friday, 25 January 2019
The Wanneroo event started with a traditional barbecue breakfast, followed by the official ceremony with MC Adrian Barich.
Guest speaker Rishelle Hume spoke about the opportunities the country provided, her work to advance Aboriginal people and the importance of acceptance in the multicultural nation.
Richard Walley performed the Welcome to Country and Challenge Brass Band and Perth singer Bindhu performed and led the national anthem.
Butler MLA John Quigley and Pearce MHR Christian Porter spoke on behalf of the State and Federal governments.
Mrs Roberts presented the City of Wanneroo Australia Day Awards to community members who have made an outstanding contribution to the community, and acknowledged resident Craig Challen, who was named joint Australian of the Year with South Australian Richard Harris for their roles in the Thai cave rescue.
Charles Searson Australia Day Youth Award – Benn Marshall
Benn Marshall is an active member of the community, displaying outstanding community spirit as a student at Butler College and through volunteer roles with emergency services organisations.
In 2017 he received the Edith Cowan University citizenship award in recognition of his dedication to the community.
Benn has been a volunteer surf life saver with Quinns Mindarie Surf Life Saving Club for the past five years, helping to ensure the safety of beachgoers, and an active member of Quinns Rocks Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade for the past four years.
Australia Day Individual Award – Casty Nyaga
Casty Nyaga consistently goes above and beyond for the community, making herself available for coaching, consultation and mentoring to anyone in need.
Dr Nyaga is a staunch advocate for young people, using her network to help facilitate mentoring and work experience opportunities for young people looking to pursue a professional career.
She is a board member of the Kenyan Community in WA and vice president of the Organisation of African Communities, where she is actively involved in the ‘Stop the Violence’ program, an initiative sponsored by the Office for Multicultural Interests.
A strong supporter of women in business and entrepreneurship, she was nominated for the International Women’s Day Hall of Fame in 2014.
Australia Day Community Award – Lake Joondalup 3+ Program
The Lake Joondalup 3 Plus Program provides specialist care for additional needs children in our community.
They have recently opened Perth’s first sensory room and have partnered with Wanneroo Community Garden to create a sensory garden to aid learning and development of children and families who access their services.
Australia Day Senior Award – Bernard Terry
Bernard Terry has been an active member and president of Brighton Community Garden and Education Centre since it was founded in 2011.
Mr Terry readily shares his wealth of knowledge and experience with garden members and the community, educating and advising people on the establishment and care of their plots within the community garden.
He regularly helps university students with information for assignments and works closely with staff and students from East Butler Primary School, educating them on correct gardening techniques.
Additionally, Mr Terry has organised and run numerous community workshops on sustainable gardening.
His work educating the community on the important relationship between community gardens and healthy food has been recognised and championed by the Planning Institute of Australia and the Heart Foundation.