Wel­come our new Aussies

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS - SAM TURNER sam.turner@cnbtimes.com.au

FOR 13 adults and three chil­dren, Sun­day, Jan­uary 26 marked the start of their new lives as Aus­tralians.

For Viswanatha Vish, his wife Preethi Vish and their two chil­dren, it was the day their dream be­came a re­al­ity.

Orig­i­nally from In­dia, the fam­ily’s jour­ney to the North Bur­nett in­volved a few side ex­pe­di­tions along the way.

Fol­low­ing sev­eral years in Eng­land, the fam­ily moved to West­ern Aus­tralia in 2013, where they lived for four years.

But they packed their bags in 2017, keen to see more of the coun­try, and made the trip to Monto.

“We wanted a change, and thought we should come to Queens­land, and I ap­plied for a job, so we came here,” Mr Vish said.

Mr Vish runs the Monto Fam­ily Prac­tice where he works with two other doc­tors, and is the med­i­cal su­per­in­ten­dent at the hospi­tal.

“It’s a nice place to stay here, the peo­ple are re­ally great, and it’s great for our kids’ ed­u­ca­tion,” Mrs Vish said.

“It is a small town, but I like ev­ery­one be­cause they love to talk, and they help out when­ever they can.”

The process of ap­ply­ing for Aus­tralian ci­ti­zen­ship pre­sented them with a big de­ci­sion — whether or not to sur­ren­der their In­dian pass­ports.

“In­dia doesn’t al­low two pass­ports, so I had to hand over our pass­ports to the In­dian em­bassy,” Mrs Vish said.

Each year, mi­grants across Aus­tralia take the pledge to call the coun­try their new home, a process which is fi­nalised by a ci­ti­zen­ship cer­e­mony.

The re­gion’s new cit­i­zens came from six dif­fer­ent coun­tries, and they pub­licly dis­played their de­ci­sion to be­come Aus­tralians on Aus­tralia Day.

North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil Mayor Rachel Cham­bers wel­comed the new Aus­tralians to the re­gion.

“Since 1949, over five mil­lion peo­ple have be­come Aus­tralian cit­i­zens, and in the past 85 years, more than 74,000 cit­i­zens have be­come cit­i­zens on Aus­tralia Day,” Cr Cham­bers said.

“In Aus­tralia we wel­come and cel­e­brate our di­ver­sity, and at the same time we cel­e­brate the bond that unites us all, the com­mon bond of Aus­tralian ci­ti­zen­ship.”

Pic­ture: Sam Turner

HOME SWEET HOME: Preethi Vish, Viswanatha Vish and their chil­dren at Monto’s Aus­tralia Day cer­e­mony.

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