Being back in Australia, I finally get to catch up with so many friends I’ve missed over the last 2-3 years since my travelling began followed by life in Japan. And, one of my closest friends, Susy, just received her Australian citizenship, and being back in the country I was able to attend.
Firstly – congratulations Susy! It’s a great achievement, and I hope I can chat with Susy on the podcast about getting the citizenship and the process she had to go through. And of course, I hope I can chat about her homeland, Peru (where I am yet to visit!). Who knows, there might be two podcasts in all that!
I was interested to see what went down, as well as keen to support my friend. It was at the Kingston City Hall, around 15 minutes’ drive from my house, in Moorabbin (the hall, not my house!). When my wife and I arrived the hall was already packed, but they added some extra seats. Something like 250 people were receiving their citizenship that day. There must have been around 1000 in the hall if not more, these ceremonies are held every three months.
There was an old restored cinema organ playing, which I must admit struck me as an odd choice. The thing must have been very historic, so it certainly was special but the sound it made was very ‘hammond-esque’ I guess is the best way I can describe it. There was the Major, the junior Mayor and an MP from the Victorian State Parliament in attendance, speeches were given and the MP made a somewhat excruciatingly painful quip that now everyone was an Australian, when watching the World Cup, they had to shout ‘Go Socceroos’, which was at best ill-considered. At worst, perhaps quite embarrassing.
There was a solo performance of Peter Allen’s song (a ballad) ‘I Still Call Australia Home’, sung by an opera-singer accompanied by the organ. Again, didn’t really work sadly. But there was the oath, the presentation, signing onto the electoral roll and the receiving of a small native Australian plant which signified that Australia had 250 odd new citizens. There were hugs, and cheers when certain names were called from parts of the audience, and the poor lady reading out the names had a very hard job with names from dozens of different countries containing many different phonetics. She did her best…. That’s all I can say.
And in just over an hour, it was finished! We went out and celebrated with a Parma and seafood. As you do in Australia. Oh, the last thing in the hall was the national anthem I should say. The organ was more appropriate for it than the ballad, but still…
Have you ever been to a citizenship ceremony? Does this describe it at all? Was it very different? Please, comment!