Strathbogie Shire Council

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New Australians call Strathbogie Shire home

Six people from across the globe who call Strathbogie Shire home, last week made the Australian citizenship pledge of commitment.

“I'm really ecstatic on finally receiving my Australian citizenship,” Irish born and raised Elaine Haugh said.

“I'm extremely proud and grateful on becoming an Australian citizen.”

Mayor Cr Chris Raeburn presided over the Australian citizenship ceremony on Tuesday, October 26, which was held online due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Cr Raeburn congratulated the conferees on their Australian citizenship and read a message of congratulations from Victorian Senator Bridget McKenzie. Federal Member for Nicholls Damian Drum and other Shire councillors also attended the ceremony and congratulated the new Australians.

Acknowledging the replacement of an in-person event due to COVID-19 restrictions, Cr Raeburn thanked the conferees for agreeing to participate in an online ceremony.

“We hope this will be an equally fulfilling and special milestone and celebration for you, and your family and friends,” he said.

“Congratulations, you are now an Australian citizen. It was an honour to preside over your ceremony.”

Australian citizenship certificates were later given to Chantra Wongwean, Elaine Haugh, Cindy Kley, Jan McQuitty, Richard Ward, and Juan Xu.

Elaine Haugh

Reflecting on her journey to last week’s ceremony, Elaine Haugh said she came to Australia on a backpacking adventure with her best friend 10 years ago, and “fell in love with this country”.

With extended visas they moved to Euroa, where Ms Haugh met her fiancé Alex Mackrell. After 18-months of COVID-19 restrictions delaying their marriage, the couple is excited 2022 will provide more certainty for wedding planning.

But meanwhile, they celebrated last week’s special occasion of Australian Citizenship for Ms Haugh, who grew up in County Clare, southern Ireland.

“I just love Australia, and I call it home. I just want to feel a part of it; even though I have an Irish accent, I wanted to be able to say, ‘I am Australian.’

“I love the people in Euroa; everyone is so welcoming.

“Strathbogie Shire is a beautiful part of the world. It’s a really special place.”

Chantra Wongwean

Before the citizenship ceremony, Euroa resident Chantra Wongwean said she was proud and excited to take her pledge of citizenship.

Mrs Wongwean said she loved the way of life and wide, open spaces in Strathbogie Shire.

She moved to Australia 13 years ago from a farming district in north-east Thailand and settled in Euroa two years later with her husband Dennis.

“It’s very different here,” Mrs Wongwean said.

“The land in Strathbogie is bigger and there are not as many houses; in Thailand there is less land and more houses.”

“The people in Euroa are friendly and always say hello.”

Mrs Wongwean said she enjoyed visiting Nagambie and especially loved Gooram Falls at the west of the Strathbogie Tableland, on the Euroa-Mansfield Rd.

“We often go to Gooram Falls; I love the open space and the water is always so clean,” she said.



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