49 new Australian citizens join Mackay community
NO FEWER than 49 people from 14 different countries took the oath to gain Australian citizenship during a ceremony at the Mackay Entertainment And Convention Centre.
The proud new citizens included Ruby Begona and her daughter Achazia Aquillo originally from the Philippines, who have been living and working in Mackay since 2012.
They were supported by Ruby's partner Krist Aquillo and her mother Diana Beogna, who are both permanent residents of Mackay and who hope to join Ruby and Achazia as fellow Aussies by the end of the year.
Ruby said her enjoyment of living in Australia had been growing exponentially since she gained permanent residence in 2016 and a new job as an accountant at an engineering firm in Mackay.
She said the risk she took in 2012 to leave her job in the Philippines and head to Australia had paid off and in May she had begun building a house in Mackay which will be a home for Krist, Achazia and Diana.
"It's just joy. It took us six years to get to this stage, relief is the right word,” Ruby said.
"On our regular weekend we go for a drive, or go into Caneland Central and do some window shopping (as a family), or go to some places we don't normally go. Last time we went to Magnetic Island.
" I like Mackay because it's somewhat similar to where I was in the Philippines, there's not much traffic, people are very nice you can just drive where ever you like and go to parks and lagoons.
"It's a bit handy and it's not a very stressful place,” she said.
"When we got our permanent residency in late December 2016 that's when every thing began to go well ... we were so blessed.
"I also sponsored my Mum under my working visa and she just passed her citizenship exam January 31st so we will be just waiting for the final approval,” Ruby said.
Also gaining citizenship on Monday were Murray Brown, his wife Lucille Brown and their two children Tia Brown and Liam Brown, originally from New Zealand.
Murray works at Maintech in Paget, whilst Liam recently got a job working as a deckhand on a charter tour yacht in the Whitsundays and is hoping to this year join the Australian Navy.
Tia, 17, attends school at Holy Spirit College Mackay and a plays volleyball with her mum, Lucille, at Sand City Beach Sports Complex.
Beaches Baptist ChurchPastor Rob Ruge led the opening prayer at Monday night's ceremony, while Mackay singer Michaela McFadzen led the national anthem.