AROUND half a dozen Bass Coast Shire residents are officially Australian citizens, following a ceremony in Wonthaggi last week.
Mayor Cr Brett Tessari and other councillors, as well as council CEO Ali Wastie, all congratulated the new citizens last Tuesday night.
Some of the citizens have lived in the area for a number of years, while others have only recently settled in the Bass Coast Shire.
Former plumber Robert Wintrup has lived in Wonthaggi since 1982.
“I came here from New Zealand back when we were ‘Commonwealth Citizens’, shortly after that you needed a passport to travel, but that hasn’t worried me too much,” says the Rotary volunteer.
“I followed up my citizenship because I was keen to vote but turns out I was just a few days late for this election.”
William ‘Willy’ Golightly is a local musician who decided to follow up his citizenship with the intention of travelling next year.
“I’ve been here in Australia for most of my life, when I left I was just a kid going on an adventure,” says the solo artist.
“But I can’t imagine what it would have been like for my mum who was moving to the other side of the world a month before Christmas.”
Bass MP Jordan Crugnale spoke about local Indigenous languages and the traditional meaning behind some local town names, including Kilcunda – which means ‘an exclamation’.
“Our Indigenous peoples, our British colonial past and our extensive waves of migration makes us one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse populations in the world, this is to be celebrated.
“As a collective, we speak over 200 different languages and we have been enriched in so many ways.”
Ms Crugnale also touched on her family history, discussing her parents’ journey to Australia.
“We have come from across many seas and joined our First Nations peoples.
“My parents came here from Italy by boat wanting a better life and better opportunities for their children – and this, I think, is one big universal shared value we all have in common – wanting a better future for our children.”