Australian Citizenship Day 2019: Yass Valley welcomes 14 new citizens

Yass Valley welcomed 14 new Aussies to the region as part of the national Citizenship Day celebrations on September 17.

The new citizens came from five countries including Spain, France, Brazil, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

They were presented with a 2019 Australian Citizenship coin and wattle tree.

Celebrations followed and included an afternoon tea of Lamingtons and Anzac Biscuits at Yass Valley Council Chambers.

Michael, Bee, Finn, Heather and Willow Dunne from Ireland were really excited to officially become Australian citizens.

"We were sponsored to come over to Australia by the ACT Government in 2012. So we came over as permanent residents," Bee Dunne said.

"We fell in love with Canberra and wanted our kids to have roots, so we moved to Yass in 2014. They were all under nine at the time.

"We couldn't be happier," Mrs Dunne said.

The family has embedded itself in the community by volunteering with a number of local groups.

They are regular presenters on the local radio station Yass FM and Heather and Finn Dunne are active members of Scouts.

Heather was the co-founder of a social justice group at Yass High School and Finn was chairman of Yass Valley Youth Council in 2018.

Yass FM president Ian McClung, vice president Jan Wilson and station manager Richard Wilson went to the ceremony to support the family.

"Being Irish, it's like the spirit of volunteerism, which is also an Australian value and our family value," Mrs Dunne said.

"The kids see it as that's what you do.

"We were lucky to come here."

She said the ceremony was really emotional but becoming citizens came with a sense of relief and excitement.

Yass Valley mayor Rowena Abbey said the ceremony was an opportunity for all Australians to come together to acknowledge what's great about being Australian.

"There is no greater privilege than our citizenship. It's a life-long commitment to Australia's values of freedom, democracy, equality and respect," Cr Abbey said.

The Department of Home Affairs and local councils hosted 150 ceremonies across the country with more than 8000 people becoming Australian citizens as part of the special occasion.