New citizens and community contributors have been celebrated in Australia Day ceremonies in Busselton and Dunsborough this morning.
City of Busselton mayor Grant Henley led naturalization ceremonies and welcomed 44 new citizens from nine countries.
Since 2013, the City of Busselton has welcomed 658 new citizens, including 218 from the United Kingdom.
Mr Henley said 44 new citizens in the one day was a huge figure, considering the City welcomed 90 and 74 new citizens in the 2016 and 2017 calendar years.
Two of the new Australia Day citizens are mother and daughter, Vanessa and Alexia Andreone.
Vanessa and Alexia made the move from South Africa six years ago and settled in Busselton right away.
Alexia, who attends Cornerstone Christian College, said she loved the beaches here.
Vanessa agreed that the lifestyle offered in the region was a big reason they wanted to call Busselton home.
“Busselton is so beautiful, we came here as soon as we landed and fell in love,” she said.
“We haven’t left since and won’t ever be leaving.”
Vanessa said they were thrilled to now be Australian citizens.
“It was 100 per cent an easy decision,” she said.
“This is our home, this is where we live, this is where our commitments are – we are Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi.”
It is a similar story for Busselton’s Carolan-Gargan family, who have chosen the South West as home for its lifestyle.
Emma Carolan and Ronan Gargan met in 2005 as backpackers in Sydney and always wanted to return Down Under.
When their native Ireland went through an economic recession, they decided to relocate to Australia for work opportunities.
Their five-year-old son, Oisin, was born here, but his older sisters Shannyn, 7, and Claragh, 6, joined them in becoming Australian citizens at today’s ceremony.
Ronan agreed it was an easy decision to become an Australia citizen.
“The lifestyle our family can have here is better – there is the beach and so many things to do outdoors,” he said.
“What’s not to like with Busselton, it has got everything you could want.”
Following the naturalization ceremonies, the local recipients of the Australia Day WA Citizen of the Year Awards were announced.
Busselton’s Beryl Sutton and Dunsborough’s Bob Jarvis were named Australia Day WA Senior Community Citizen of the Year for their enduring efforts with various organisations in the region.
Dunsborough’s Vanessa Sabatini won the Australia Day WA Community Citizen of the Year Award for her inclusive and collaborative work to bring the community together to acknowledge and celebrate cultural diversity.