Kiama welcomes newest citizens

Amy Laboyrie

Kiama has welcomed their newest Australian citizens in a ceremony conducted by Kiama Mayor Mark Honey on Thursday afternoon.

Ten people from all over the world took the final step in their citizenship journey and made their pledge of commitment in front of family and friends.

PROUD AUSTRALIANS: (Back) Jeanette Foster, Michael Slevin, Ilivasi Temo Vulatha, Mayor Mark Honey, Pratup Hongprapus and Alan Edward Gardner. (Front) Chloe Douglas, Amy Laboyrie, Nastassia Hanson-Murphy, Lisa Kiteley and Cherie Bousfield.

PROUD AUSTRALIANS: (Back) Jeanette Foster, Michael Slevin, Ilivasi Temo Vulatha, Mayor Mark Honey, Pratup Hongprapus and Alan Edward Gardner. (Front) Chloe Douglas, Amy Laboyrie, Nastassia Hanson-Murphy, Lisa Kiteley and Cherie Bousfield.

Amy Laboyrie was originally from London, but has called Australia home for six years.

“I have Australia to thank for my little baby girl, for my husband and for the amazing life I could never have dreamed of before coming to this country,” she said.

“Citizenship is really important for me for a sense of belonging and also to be able to give back to the country which has given me so much.”

When I first came here I supported Australia, except when they played England, at some stage that changed and I don’t remember when it was, but it was at a time when Australia was playing England in cricket and I thought, I’ve now become an Australian citizen. - Alan Gardner

Alan Gardner moved to Australia when he was 10 years old in 1962 with his family as a Ten Pound Pom.

“We didn’t need any documents, the only one we had was a travel document from the shipping line, which had my mum and dads name and two children,” he said.

“When I tried to become an Australian citizen 20 years ago, I couldn’t do it because I didn’t have the documentation to say when I came to Australia.”

Alan Gardner

When Mr Gardner retired, he required his citizenship to apply for the aged pension, fortunately the Australian Archives managed to find the travel document.

“I’ve always believed I’m an Australian citizen, being English I’ve had the same rights, so it’s never been an issue,” he said.

“When I first came here I supported Australia, except when they played England, at some stage that changed and I don’t remember when it was, but it was at a time when Australia was playing England in cricket and I thought, I’ve now become an Australian citizen.” 

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