Over 150 Central Coasters join Aussie family
SIX years to the day since they immigrated to Australia, Dinah and James Brown became citizens on January 26.
They were among 157 people from 34 countries across Europe and Britain to Canada, America, South America, India, Pakistan, Asia and the Pacific, to Africa and the USSR, who took part in the Central Coast Council ceremony, each with their own reasons for wanting to call Australia home.
Dinah and James are from Sandwich in Kent, and followed their son to Australia after he married an Aussie girl in 2007.
They now have three grandchildren, who they are delighted to be able to watch growing up.
Dinah said although the young family lived in Manly, it was "a bit too busy" for Dinah and James's liking, and when they discovered the Central Coast, they fell in love with Umina.
"It's lovely and sunny and everyone's always so friendly, and it's got everything you could want ... it's like being on holiday all the time," she laughed.
"We had residency and our grandchildren are Australian, and their mother, and our son had taken citizenship, so we thought why not - it's nice to feel part of a country and part of a family."
At 75 and 80 respectively, Dinah said she and James had no plans to return to England, with no close family left there, and so much to enjoy in Australia.
James was in the Royal Air Force for 22 years, and worked the hovercraft from Dover to France for over 20 more, while Dinah was in administration, before both took early retirement and spent 12 years touring various parts of Europe in a motorhome.
"It was a wonderful time," Dinah said.
Now, they are enjoying the chance to see what Australia and New Zealand have to offer, including a recent cruise to New Zealand to celebrate 50 years together.
They've also explored the Whitsundays, been on the Indian Pacific, are off to the Murray River soon and are keen to visit Lightning Ridge.
"It's nice to have the energy to enjoy it all," Dinah said.