New citizens and outstanding community members were celebrated at Australia Day ceremonies in Busselton and Dunsborough on January 26.
In Busselton, nine new citizens, from six different countries including the United Kingdom, Zimbabwe, Cuba, New Zealand, South Korea and Vietnam, were naturalised by Mayor Grant Henley.
Supporters cheered as Maureen Christie, Thi Minh Trang Tang, Marie-Louise Greena, Nicholas Gomersall, James Payne Jr, Martin Vaughan, Jinhee Yu, Jane Jenkins and Susan Shand all pledged their loyalty to Australia.
Mr Henley said Australia Day was an opportunity for all Australians, whether they were citizens by birth or by choice, to come together as a nation to celebrate what's great about Australia.
“It gives me great pleasure to welcome our newest Australians – we are the fortunate Australians who call the City of Busselton home and today is the perfect day to reflect on just how lucky we are, living in one of the most picturesque corners of the country,” he said.
“Australian citizenship is a shared identity - a common bond which unites all Australians while respecting our diversity. Citizenship means contributing to our future success as a nation, and our shared values.”
Following the citizenship proceedings, the winners of the annual Australia Day WA Community Citizen of the Year awards were announced.
The awards recognise individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to their community.
Before announcing the winners, Mr Henley said Busselton was blessed to have so many volunteers who lended their time and expertise to a great variety of worthwhile causes - be they charitable, environmental, sporting or recreational.
The Active Citizenship Award for a group or event was awarded to the Busselton AFL Masters Football Club.
The club were praised for 35 years of supporting local groups and raising $120,000 for a variety of causes in the past 11 years.
John Morris was announced as the Senior Community Citizen of the Year to a huge applause.
Mr Morris is well known to many for his 12 years of service at St Mary’s parish as volunteer and managing Cliff’s Kitchen, which provides 200 meals to people in need each week.
Community Citizen of the Year nominees Tony Richmond and Jenny Sheehan were acknowledged, before it was revealed that Clive Johnson was the 2019 winner.
Mr Johnson was recognised for more than 40 years of helping develop the economic viability of the region and enhancing the profile of the region as a tourist destination.
In Dunsborough, the Australia Day ceremony was attended by a great crowd of local residents at the Dunsborough Foreshore.
A Welcome to Country was performed by Josh Whiteland and Margaret Baxter gave an address, speaking about her family’s history of setting up Bannamah Wildlife Park and living in Exmouth and Dunsborough.
This year the community nominated Naturaliste Gratitude Awards were presented to Kelly Everett for contributions to the Cape Naturaliste Scouts and Dunsborough St John’s Ambulance, Barbara Nigg for coordination of the Manna and Mercy initiative at St George’s Community Centre, Peter Campbell for his work building the Yallingup Bush Fire Brigade and the Puma2Go committee for working together on a campaign engaging with community in gatherings and meetings.
Busselton ceremony images by Sophie Elliott.
Dunsborough ceremony images by Peter and Janet Campbell.