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Isabel (Bella) Decock and Jose Delmas Florimo with Matteo. Image: Marissa Newman

Valley’s Newest Citizens

Marissa Newman|

One of the highlights of the Australia Day in Grafton was the citizenship ceremony where 13 people officially become Australian citizens. The citizenship ceremony has an important symbolic role as it formally welcomes new citizens from many cultures into the Australian family. 

John McGovern, from Yamba, was one of the people that received his Australian citizenship and it was a long time coming.

“I came out here from England in 1972, as a 10-pound pom and after a few years I put in my application to be a citizen, but they sent it back and said that it was out of date. I had left it too late and then finally I got around to it today.”

Mr McGovern was very happy that his citizenship had become official.

“It feels like I am part of the country, all my children were born here, all my four children are Australian, so I have joined them as being an Aussie. So, I can support Australia now in the soccer, in the football and the cricket.”

Isabel (Bella) Decock also become a citizen at the ceremony. Bella is originally from Belgium and her partner Jose Delmas Florimo was from Chili. They both arrived in Australia in 2010 and began the citizenship process in 2014.

Bella described the feeling of becoming a citizen amazing.

“It feels amazing, a lot of stress and hard work went into this, so its really really nice.”

John McGovern received his Australian citizenship this Australia Day. Image: Marissa Newman