Maaike Scott emigrated from Holland six years ago, and said she’s become so immersed in the local culture she’s now almost forgotten how to speak Dutch

January 27, 2022

The pandemic forced the South Burnett Regional Council to cancel its annual Australia Day Awards ceremony this year, but not even the threat of Omicron could stand in the way of its Australia Day citizenship ceremony.

On Wednesday morning, a small crowd of about 60 invited relatives and friends Kingaroy’s Town Hall Forecourt to welcome 22 new citizens into the nation’s ranks.

South Burnett Mayor Brett Otto, who led the proceedings, said he was always delighted to perform citizenship ceremonies, which were usually held in conjunction with the Council’s monthly general meetings.

But the Australia Day ceremony was particularly special, he said, because it symbolised the day the nation came together to remember Australia’s many accomplishments.

He also thought it was symbolic that in 2022, the South Burnett was marking the day by swearing in 22 new Australians.

Following a single verse rendition of the National Anthem, the Mayor asked each of the applicants to formally affirm an oath of allegiance to Australia before presenting each of them with their certificate of citizenship.

After this, the new Aussies and their supporters were given the opportunity to take commemorative photos next to the Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags displayed on a triple mount set at one side of the forecourt, flanked by banners depicting the Queen and the Australian Coat of Arms.

Because of the pandemic, most guests wore masks through most parts of the ceremony, only taking them off if they were required to speak or pose for photos.

And in what may be a sign of the times, the new citizens were also given the choice of whether or not they wished to swear their oath of allegiance before God.

Half chose to do this, and the other half chose to swear the oath without any public reference to religion.

Because of the pandemic, the usual post-ceremony refreshments were absent this year as were many Councillors, who were either attending Australia Day celebrations in their own divisions or following health advice to stay at home as much as possible.

Cr Danita Potter and CEO Mark Pitt were there and joined the Mayor in wishing the new citizens every success in their adopted homeland.

Jonave Beale, second from right, was welcomed to the ranks of citizenship by Mayor Brett Otto and her family and friends
William Price was delighted to receive his Australian Citizenship Certificate, and very happy to pose for photos with his family
Mayor Brett Otto congratulated Maria Acuna and Lance Gonzales on obtaining Australian citizenship
New citizen Nay Sok and her children with Mayor Otto
It’s a long way from Leeds to Kingaroy but Caroline Mudd, centre, is now a proud Aussie and was congratulated on her decision by Mayor Brett Otto and good friend Laura Cobos

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables


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