A WHIRLWIND romance swept Kate Duffy off her feet and all the way to Australian shores.
Originally from Ekaterinburg, a large industrial city in Russia, Mrs Duffy met her husband, Australian Kirk Duffy, when he was holidaying there in 2002.
"It was love at first sight," she said. "There were lots of love letters and phone calls."
After only 10 days, he proposed. It was then that the newly engaged Mrs Duffy made the life-changing decision to move to Australia with her fiance.
"It was a hard decision to leave my country and my parents," she said.
"But they were really happy for us and what wouldn't you do for love? Love is blind as they say!"
She arrived in North Queensland in 2003 to begin her new life with her fiance.
"My first impression was like wow! This is paradise," she said.
"Everything seemed so different - the people, the language and the culture, but I was just stunned at how beautiful nature is here."
Mrs Duffy was granted Australian citizenship at last week's council ceremony.
"I never regret leaving Russia," she said.
The Duffys now live in Calliope with daughter Alina, 7, and son Peter, 3.
"I think it was the right decision. I have all I ever wanted; a loving husband and a couple of wonderful kids," Mrs Duffy said.
"I really have enjoyed living in Australia and think that the Australian way of life is conducive to good family values. I am very happy to have the opportunity to become an Australian citizen."
Mrs Duffy looks forward to raising her family in Gladstone.
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