JOINING the 17,000 others who took the pledge as citizens across the nation, about 40 Latrobe Valley residents were buoyant after the citizenship ceremony and Australia Day Awards on Saturday.
It was a family affair for some, while others welcomed family members as new citizens, one at a time.
For the Nguyen family from Churchill, their seven-and-a-half month old son Dan was the first to become a citizen at birth.
On Saturday, Dan’s four year-old sister Lily, mother Hang and father Vinh joined the youngest member of their family as Australian citizens.
“We are so excited; we spent last night preparing our outfits,” Mrs Nguyen said.
“This is an important time for us, and it’s a good memory for us.
“We are settled here and happy in Australia, and it will give our kids a better future.”
Student Akeem Aliyu from Traralgon may be the firstborn in his family of eight, but he is the second-last to receive his citizenship.
“It’s a very good feeling,” Akeem, who arrived from Nigeria in 2008, said.
Beyond feeling elated at becoming a citizen, Indian-born dentist Shailander Kancherla embraced his opportunity to have his voice heard as a voter.
“I love being part of this country, and as a citizen, I can contribute my best,” Dr Kancherla, who now resides in Morwell, said.
“I would like to have my voice heard.”