Hundreds of Wyndham residents have become Australian citizens in a series of online ceremonies.
More than 440 residents have pledged their commitment to Australia during individual ceremonies, which were held online between July 24 and August 20.
The ceremonies were conducted by Wyndham mayor Josh Gilligan, who said it was an honour to help residents achieve their dreams of officially becoming Australian.
“The format was a little different this year, with one-on-one ceremonies between just me and the individuals – or families – becoming citizens,” Cr Gilligan said.
“However, while the day may have been a little different to what participants originally envisioned, it was still a special time for all involved.
“I was honoured to confer citizenship on 441 people from 29 countries.”
Cr Gilligan said the youngest new citizen was four-year-old, Aavash Kandel, who was born in India, while the oldest was 80-year-old Point Cook resident Cecilia Mackenzie, originally from South Africa.
“And the person who had been living in Australia – and Wyndham – for the longest period was Carol Bradley, who moved to Laverton as a three-year-old almost 60 years ago,” Cr Gilligan said.
Ms Bradley said her family migrated from Scotland to Australia as “ten-pound poms”.
“My mum and dad wanted to give us kids a better chance in life, which they accomplished,” Carol said.
Carol achieved success as a lecturer in surgery at U-Vet Werribee Animal Hospital, after starting off cleaning kennels there as a young woman.
“I started working at the hospital when the Princes Freeway was just a gravel road, and I would ride my horses there from Laverton,” Carol said.
“I worked there until June this year, when I retired.”
Carol now lives in Hoppers Crossing with her wife Kim and their 17-year-old son Blake.
The couple also has a daughter, Deanna, who is living in the UK.
Carol said her citizenship ceremony was “surprisingly emotional”.
“I felt I owed it to Australia, and I wanted to be known as an Australian,” Carol said.
“I’m an Aussie through and through.”