‘I love a sunburnt country' is not only a sentiment that rings true for poet Dorothy Mackeller, it's also a reflection of the emotion felt by the many residents who became Australian Citizens in Bundaberg today.
About 14 people attended the ceremony at Bundaberg Regional Council's Civic Centre, taking the Pledge of Commitment as the final step in becoming an Australian citizen.
One of those people was Jing Jia, who has waited ten years to officially call Australia ‘home'.
Born in China, Jing said she moved to Australia a decade ago to continue her studies.
“I studied in Brisbane,” she said.
“I did my high school and uni there and then I found a job in Bargara.”
Jing has lived in the Bundaberg Region for three years and works as a dentist.
It's where she met her partner Alex Swan, who accompanied her at today's citizenship ceremony.
“I was her patient at the dentist- we have been together for almost a year now,” Alex said.
“I'm here today to support Jing.
“The ceremony formalises what I think she already felt anyway, that she is Australian.”
Surrounded by friends and family and clutching a koala bear toy, Jing said she was over the moon to attend this morning's event.
“I am pretty excited, I love it here- it's beautiful,” she said.
“It means a lot. I have been in Australia for ten years so I have been waiting for this day for a long time.”
Each year Bundaberg Regional Council conducts a number of citizenship ceremonies – the largest being Australia Day (26 January) and Citizenship Day (17 September).
Council holds Citizenship Ceremonies during most other months in the year.
All initial enquiries regarding Citizenship can be made to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in Brisbane by phoning 131 881 or visiting the Department of Immigration and Border Protection website.