For almost a quarter of a century Shane Symons has called Australia home and today, on Australia Day, he made it official as he became a citizen.
Shane was one of 24 new Aussies who took part in Bundaberg Regional Council’s citizenship ceremony on Australia Day.
There were also eight people from Britain, four from Iran, two each from Italy and the Philippines who received their citizenship.
Born in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, Shane packed up and moved across the ditch in 2000, but it was during recent times when he decided where his future would be.
“Like many people I took a step back during COVID to decide how I wanted to shape my future and it was also then I made a decision to remain permanently in Australia,” Shane said.
“Prior to this I had always kept the possibility of retirement back to New Zealand as an option.
“It was a time of re-evaluation and also of seeing future possibilities – many doors are closed to you if you are not a citizen.”
Moving to the Bundaberg Region 17 years ago, Shane has been involved in many local organisations, and this includes being instrumental in initiating a few along the way.
“Australia and New Zealand share a love of cars and the car scene here in Queensland is very strong,” Shane said.
“Two years ago a mate and I started the Bundaberg branch of the American Car Club and we now have 50 members.
“I have a 1964 Ford Galaxie and a 1957 Ford F100.
“Through being part of such an active club we have made a lot of friends and regular activities keep us very busy – we have something on almost every weekend.
“We travel away to car events during the year and have Rockynats coming up at Easter.
“We also started the Bundaberg Chrome Rockers Rock and Roll Dance Club, which is still going strong, meeting every Thursday night at the Burnett Bowls Club.”
Becoming an Australian citizen a proud moment for Shane
Shane said he was excited to now hold the title as an Australian citizen and he recommended to anyone who was considering it to complete the worthwhile process.
“I feel good that I have taken this step and will have some permanency here,” he said.
“I believe citizenship is something you should earn, and I feel I’ve made a contribution to my communities in the past 23 years, I’m proud to be here today to receive my certificate.
“My brother and his family live in Rockhampton and my brother-in-law lives in Bundy, so we have family close by; they have also just completed, or are in the process, of citizenship but as they arrived after the law changed in 2001 their journey is more difficult than mine has been.”
It’s not the vegemite or meat pies that attracted Shane to make the move to Australia, but more the lifestyle and opportunities.
“Australians and New Zealanders share the same values. I think there is much more opportunities for people here career wise as there is a wider variety of industry here such as mining,” he said.
“Because I love fishing, I enjoy the ocean and beaches here and the (Great) Barrier Reef.
“I have done a lot of travelling around the country since I have been here and enjoy the bush and beaches.”
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