Meet some of region’s newest Australian citizens
FOR 13 candidates and three children, Sunday, January 26 marked the start of their new lives as Australians.
For Viswanatha Vish, his wife Preethi Vish and their two children, it was the day their dream became a reality.
Originally from India, the family's journey to the North Burnett involved a few side expeditions along the way.
Following several years in England, the family moved to Western Australia in 2013, where they lived for four years.
But they parked their bags in 2017, keen to see more of the country, and made the trip to Monto.
"We wanted a change, and thought we should come to Queensland, and I applied for a job, so we came here," Mr Vish said.
Mr Vish runs the Monto Family Practice where he works with two other doctors, and is the medical superintendent at the hospital.
"It's a nice place to stay here, the people are really great, and it's great for our kids' education," Mrs Vish said.
"It is a small town, but I like everyone because they love to talk, and they help out whenever they can."
The process of applying for Australian citizenship presented them with a big decision - whether or not to surrender their Indian passports.
"India doesn't allow two passports, so I had to hand over our passports to the Indian embassy," Mrs Vish said.
"But now we're legally Australian citizens."
Each year, migrants across Australia take the pledge to call the country their new home, a process which is finalised by a citizenship ceremony.
Monto's new citizens came from six different countries, and publicly displayed their decision to become Australians on Australia Day.
North Burnett Regional Council Mayor Rachel Chambers welcomed the new Australians to the region.
"Since 1949, over five million people have become Australian citizens, and in the past 85 years, more than 74,000 citizens have become citizens on Australia Day," Cr Chambers said.
"In Australia we welcome and celebrate our diversity, and at the same time we celebrate the bond that unites us all, the common bond of Australian citizenship."