Meet our new Aussies
SIX Whitsunday residents will become Australian citizens today at an official ceremony in Proserpine.
Denise and Jurie Grundlingh and their daughter Jurise moved from Pretoria in South Africa to Australia just under four years ago.
They have lived in the Whitsundays for three months and said they loved the freedom in Australia and not having to live behind barbed wire fences.
"We feel safe here because in South Africa there was a constant fear of being robbed or shot at," Mrs Grundlingh said.
"I also have to adjust to not having maids at home. In Africa it is normal to have employed them to help you cook and clean and look after your children.
"We have had to climatise heaps to the humidity and the rainfall here [in the Whitsundays] in one day is what we would have annually in Pretoria."
Originally from the United Kingdom, Nicola Bradley met her Australian partner in France, inspiring her to move to Australia seven months later.
Ms Bradley has lived in the Whitsundays for seven years and said she loved the wide open spaces in Australia as well as the people, weather and culture. While the process to become an Australian citizen has taken her five years, Ms Bradley said she gets a feeling like she is home when she is in Australia.
Ilona Bos and her partner Seumas Rose moved to the Whitsundays two years ago.
Ms Bos is originally from the Netherlands, while her partner is from Papua New Guinea and said being an Australian citizen made her feel safer and travelling to other countries easier.
The Australia Day ceremony is being held today Thursday, January 26 at the Proserpine Entertainment Centre from 12.30pm.
The annual Australia Day award winners will be announced at the ceremony.