ECHUCA is now home to nine brand new Australian citizens.
The new Aussies received the coveted certificates at a ceremony at the Echuca Civic Centre on Tuesday.
They included Obberiyage Fonseka, Marissa and Raphael Pelaez, Pankaj Upadhyay and Joseph, Zarah and Presy Mendoza.
Rochester’s Philomena Charge and Ellie Trist also became citizens.
Obberiyage, who hails from Sri Lanka, was overjoyed to finally call himself an Australian.
‘‘My wife and daughter have had their citizenship for a couple of years now and our son was born with it, so it’s very exciting to finally join them,’’ he said.
The Fonseka family moved to Australia after Obberiyage’s sister encouraged them to join her in the land down-under.
‘‘We’re enjoying it so much, it’s so beautiful here,’’ he said.
Joseph, Zarah and Presy Mendoza relocated from the Philippines to Echuca to be closer to family.
‘‘Half of my family are here, so they convinced us to join as well,’’ Joseph said.
‘‘People kept telling me how incredible Australia is and how friendly the people are.’’
Joseph is currently working as a chef at Junction Moama.
‘‘We’re doing really well here. And last night was so exciting, we’ve been waiting so long for this to happen — we’re finally Australian,’’ he said.
‘‘From here we hope to build a house in Echuca and hopefully keep getting involved in the community.’’