The Australia Day 2018 Awards and Kiama Citizenship Ceremony was held at Jamberoo School of Arts on Friday.
Members of the community filled the hall as Kiama honoured the Australia Day Award recipients and warmly welcomed its newest citizens.
Kiama’s 15 new citizens included Amelie Anne Camille Fortin, Islam Ramadan Mohammed El-Bahnasy, Clara Ronchi, Rachel Louise Hawkins, Katie Victoria Kayser, Mark Roger Farrah, Christine Dorothy, Peter Helena Hubertus in het Panhuis, Patrick Eoghan in het Panhuis, Roland Smart, Niamh Sheridan, Kelly Nicola Mclean, Eve Mclean Norton, Isabelle Amy Mclean Norton and Matthew James Norton.
I’m so excited, from the very first time I came to Australia and landed in Sydney it just felt like home.Kelly Mclean
Kelly Mclean became a citizen at the ceremony alongside her husband Matthew Norton and daughters Eve and Isabelle.
“I’m so excited, from the very first time I came to Australia and landed in Sydney it just felt like home,” she said.
“It’s taken me quite a few years to get here, but I think today is the end of a journey to finally become Australian.
“We had some family over from the UK, so they were here to watch us become citizens, which was awesome.”
Didgeridoo player Dale Wright and Aunty Joyce Donovan performed the Welcome to Country to begin the ceremony.
Aunty Joyce spoke about the importance of Australia Day and how it gave Indigenous people the chance the celebrate their culture as well as mourn the past.
She spoke of her spiritual links to the land in the region, retraced the steps of her ancestors who lived and gathered in Jamberoo and the importance of passing on stories to the next generation – the future leaders of the community.
Australia Day Ambassador, Jeremy Jones AM, gave a moving address to the audience about what Australia Day meant to him and the opportunities afforded to those who call Australia home.
The Australia Day Award recipients then took to the stage to receive their awards.
- Citizen of the Year: Barbara Adams.
- Young Citizen of the Year: Sarah Young.
- Senior Citizen of the Year: Noel Edgell.
- Community Group of the Year: Jamberoo Red Cross.
Sarah Young said she was very humbled and surprised that people deemed her worthy of the Young Citizen of the Year award.
“My friends and family often ask why [I volunteer so much], and I cannot sum up in any better words than blessed to bless others,” she said.
“My volunteer experiences have helped me see how many people face challenges and hardships in their everyday lives, I believe it is the role of each and every one of us here today to do something about this.
“You can’t inspire others if you aren’t inspired yourself, you can’t tell people to change their bad habits if you haven’t changed yours and you can’t change the world if you haven’t changed yourself. We are a flash in time, but our impact can be forever.”
Young pianist and composer Bronte Guggisberg gave a stunning vocal performance, before students from Jamberoo Public School sang the National Anthem in Dharawal and English.