THE Central Highlands has welcomed record numbers of citizens this year.
With three citizenship ceremonies held in the Highlands in October, the number of families, parents and those wanting greater opportunities as Australian citizens has reached 141 for the year, almost doubling the 79 total from last year.
Eight people from South Africa, the Philippines, New Zealand and the Netherlands made their pledge to become Australian citizens on October 2, including Dutchman Evert Smith who met his Australian wife, Jessica, on a blind date when he first arrived in the country.
Jessica and their son Oscar, were over the moon when Evert became an Australian citizen.
Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire has said at previous ceremonies the diversity of the community is growing with people from different countries, cultures and religions.
"Thirty more people want to become an Aussie - we must be doing a good job," Cr Maguire said, referring to the number for the second October ceremony.
And the ceremony wouldn't be complete without the mayor's comforting humour, as he commented on the efforts of the new citizens singing the national anthem.
"I don't think One Direction has a problem - singing isn't our forte, is it?" he quipped.
October 29 saw a further 24 people from Iran, the Philippines, Thailand, South Africa, India and New Zealand gain their citizenship, as well as 11 in Blackwater the following day.
Acting mayor at the time Cr Gail Nixon said she was happy with the number of citizens who had chosen to make their home in the Central Highlands.
"It's very pleasing to be able to conduct this ceremony with so many people in it. It is great, and it is such a diverse culture we have got here now," Cr Nixon said.
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