The Edgewater couple will become Australian citizens this Saturday before the West Perth-Subiaco WA Football League clash at Arena Joondalup.
The City of Joondalup citizenship ceremony is part of West Perth’s International Round festivities, which celebrates the diverse migrant population in Perth’s northern corridor.
It comes just five years after a trip to Perth to see Mandy’s best friend (Jack’s mother) resulted in Mark and Mandy falling in love with the place.
‘We knew within eight days of our trip that we wanted to come and live here,’ Mark said.
Mark, a St John Ambulance clinical support paramedic, said the couple, who had migrated from the UK, always intended to become Australia citizens and he couldn’t think of a better way to do it than in conjunction with the footy.
‘Australian citizenship is something we were always eager to obtain and our plan was always to get it as soon as we possibly could,’ he said.
‘I have actually been to a few WAFL games because of our personal interest in Jack and his football career.
‘We have known him since he was about 14 and have watched his progression with interest. I sit with his dad during West Perth matches and he gives me a running commentary.’
Both Mark and Mandy, a clinical education manager with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, are also big rugby fans. While they support different Super 15 teams ” Mark is a Western Force supporter, Mandy a Waratahs fan ” they are united in their love for the Wallabies and are off to Brisbane later this year to see Australia take on the might of the All Blacks in a Bledisloe Cup match.
Happily settled into life in the northern suburbs, the couple is unlikely to leave Australian shores again ” even in the short term.
‘The next 10 to 15 years worth of holidays that we have planned are all based in Australia. There is still so much of this country that we want to see, so many vast areas to travel,’ he said.
As a corporate partner of West Perth and the match-day sponsor for the International Round fixture, the City of Joondalup will swear in about 60 people as citizens on the Arena playing field before the league game.
The Falcons will wear specially designed international jumpers, and citizenship candidates and guests will enter free.
‘For many of our new Australians this will be their first live experience of Australian Rules Football,’ Joondalup Mayor Troy Pickard said.
‘As part of the fast-growing northern corridor, Joondalup is well known for its multicultural population with almost 40 per cent of residents born overseas and about 25 per cent born in the UK, South Africa and New Zealand alone.’
The citizenship ceremony starts at 1.15pm. The Falcons-Lions match starts at 2.05pm and is live on ABC TV.
The Falcons drew inspiration from Quinns Rocks Primary School Year 5 student Talyn Robis’ jumper design for its International Round guernsey.
The jumper depicts the top eight countries of birth (outside Australia) for residents of the cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo: UK, NZ, South Africa, Vietnam, Ireland, India, Zimbabwe and Malaysia.
See also Australian Rules