Proud to say ?I?m an Aussie
By BELINDA SCOTT
LOVE pulled Samantha Stewart across the globe, war pushed Mary Than out of her homeland and the search for freedom propelled Dieudonne Bloemhard towards a far horizon.
The trio were among 63 people who became new Australian citizens at Coffs Harbour yesterday and they embodied the forces that bring people to Australia to begin new lives in a new country.
Scot Samantha Stewart had never visited Australia before she met an Australian and agreed to move to this country with him four years ago, 'so it was a real journey, but now I feel it's my home'.
She said among the differences she noticed from the UK was how clean the country was and how welcoming the people were. "You drive along a country road and they wave to you," said Ms Stewart, who lives in Lowanna.
She said the only thing she missed about the UK was her family and she certainly did not miss the cold.
By contrast Mere Goulding misses the heat of her homeland, tropical Fiji.
Mrs Goulding, her husband Matthew and children also moved to the Coffs Coast four years ago, in their case looking for a better future for their children Liza, 12, and seven-year-old Danielle. Like Ms Stewart, the Gouldings all became Australian citizens yesterday.
Dieudonne Bloemhard has lived in Coffs Harbour for 22 years and yesterday the naturopath and former Dutchman did something he has 'meant to do for a long time' and became an Australian citizen.
Mr Bloemhard, whose other interests include flying, left Germany in 1983 looking for a country with more freedoms and less regulation than Europe, a position which he said was true of Australia then, but he's not so sure is true today, with a flood of new legislation and regulations 'caused by fears and anxiety'.
Mary Than was less than seven years old when both her parents were killed in the war in Sudan and her grandparents fled to Kenya, taking with them Mary and her two younger brothers.
Yesterday Mary, who is now married and living in South Australia with her husband's family, returned to Coffs Harbour to become an Australian citizen alongside her brothers.
Parmjit Kaur is now a citizen of three countries. Born in India's Punjab, Parmjit later moved with her family to England and yesterday she and her son Himmat Singh became Australian citizens.
The lillypilly tree she received as a citizenship gift will become the first tree in a planned avenue of lillypillies on the blueberry farm her husband Kuldeep Singh has established at Woolgoolga.