TWENTY-three new Australians were sworn in at the Central Highlands region's biggest citizenship ceremony on record - each beaming with a smile from ear to ear.
And who best to acknowledge their newfound sense of Australian identity than one of the best in the business, Central Highlands Mayor Peter Maguire.
"Kiwis don't usually want to become Aussies," Mr Maguire quipped to a new Aussie with his typical Queensland wit.
The Naidoo family of Emerald was one of many warmly embracing the new country they now call home.
Originally from Durban in South Africa, the Naidoos first moved to Rockhampton about four and a half years ago before settling in Emerald.
"It's been a long journey with all the paper work and applications, but we feel settled," mother of two Vimla Naidoo said.
"Just the excitement of everyone here - it's got a very cosmopolitan feel with everyone from different countries."
"We're just so happy to become Australian citizens."
The family has been quick to latch on to Australia's love of the backyard barbecue - which is also a favourite in Durban, "except it's called braai over there," Vimla said.
The Aussie accent on the other hand, well, that's still a work in progress.
"We don't use that much slang where we came from but now we're getting used to it," she said.
The family has already exceeded its own expectations since arriving in Australia.
"We have set ourselves a few goals in the years that we have been here but we've bypassed them in a sense and gone further than we expected to in the years that we've been here," Vimla said.
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