Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

New Citizens Welcomed

Over 500 people attended the third bi-annual Multicultural Festival at the Whitsunday PCYC over the weekend and the inclusion of a Citizenship Ceremony proved a welcome addition to this years’ itinerary.

Mayor Julie Hall officiated the ceremony which welcomed 38 new citizens to the community.

Deputy Mayor Gary Simpson and Councillor Clay Bauman were also in attendance.

During the ceremony each person received their official certificates and were gifted with a jar of traditional Aussie Vegemite.

Afterwards everyone chanted “Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!” to seal the deal.

Mayor Hall said it was exciting to officially swear in the new Australian citizens and then celebrate the vibrant tapestry of cultures that make our community so rich and diverse with the Multicultural Festival.

“Our Whitsunday community is made up of over 83 different ancestries with more than 6000 residents born overseas,” she said.

“The citizenship ceremony and Multicultural Festival are a testament to our community's inclusivity and the deep respect we have for the diverse traditions, customs, and beliefs of our residents.”

Sergeant Billy Li from Whitsunday PCYC said he was thrilled to see so many people attend the Multicultural Festival and that it had been expanded to accommodate more stalls and activities.

“It was a really good turnout, and we used a lot more space this time, outside onto the footy field” he said.

“It was amazing to see people coming through and enjoying the space.”

By coincidence, the first Multicultural Festival Citizenship Ceremony held a special place in Sgt Li’s heart as his wife Sunny Hsu was awarded her citizenship on the day.

Mrs Hsu, who is originally from Taiwan, has been in the country for 10 years and the couple have a seven-year-old daughter.

“It means a lot to us,” said Sgt Li.

“We’ve been in the country a long time and it’s good to become a true Aussie!

“She’s totally adapted to the culture and is really enjoying living in the Whitsundays and being part of the small community.”

Mayor Julie Hall (centre) welcomes new citizens at a special ceremony held as part of the Multicultural Festival over the weekend. Photo credit: Rachael Smith

Sergeant Billy Li from Whitsunday PCYC with his wife Sunny Hsu, who was awarded citizenship on Sunday, and their seven-year-old daughter. Photo credit: Rachael Smith

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