Families go Aussie at church hall
THE heat was about the only thing they were complaining about at the Rosewood Uniting Church Hall yesterday.
The hall was at the centre of some controversy late last year, when an official from the Department of Immigration allegedly asked the local Lions Club to consider moving the annual Australia Day citizenship ceremony to a “secular” venue, due to concerns that it could offend non-Christians.
But after some widespread negative publicity, the department shrugged the allegation off as a misunderstanding and the citizenship ceremony was allowed to continue as planned in 2011 – its 10th year at the popular local venue.
Dignitaries including local Federal and State members Shayne Neumann and Wayne Wendt were on hand, along with Mayor Paul Pisasale and local area Councillor David Pahlke.
More importantly, 18 new Australians of all colours, shapes and sizes packed into the community hall to show their commitment to their new home, joining about 60 others in the Blair electorate.
For English immigrants Gary and Sue Bysouth and their son George, settling in Australia was a lifestyle choice.
The Londoners have been living in Camira for four years – the minimum time a person must spend in the country before officially becoming a citizen.
“Yes, we were eager to become citizens,” Mr Bysouth said.
“We think Australia will be a good place for George to grow up.
“He likes cricket so we want him to play for Australia and help them win back the Ashes.”
Mrs Bysouth said the family loved the laid-back atmosphere and the friendly and safe community in which they now lived.
The family planned to celebrate Australia Day with a traditional barbecue.
Also joining the diverse gathering of people to become citizens yesterday were Jay and Dipesh Kapadia.
The mother and son first went to New Zealand from their native Fiji, before moving to Springfield.
“The most important thing is the sense of belonging,” Mr Kapadia said.
Lions Club of Rosewood member Eirys Heit said she was glad that sanity had prevailed and that the citizenship ceremonies were allowed to continue at the hall.
“It’s a community hall that is available to everyone to use,” Mrs Heit said.
Rosewood retiree and former Cabanda Aged Care president Errol McAlpine was named citizen of the year at the ceremony.