City of Newcastle confers record number of Australian citizens

10 May 2023

The largest ever citizenship ceremony held in Newcastle filled the Civic Theatre on Wednesday morning.

More than 380 conferees from 68 countries were invited to take the pledge of commitment alongside family, friends and dignitaries.

Hailing from all corners of the globe, from Turkey and Colombia to Germany and South Africa, Newcastle's newest citizens were treated to traditional performances by the Deadly Callaghan Yidaki Group and dancers of Hamilton South and Plattsburg public schools before receiving their citizenship certificates.

Among them was the Mahajan family, of Wallsend; Doctor Nikhil, his wife Shilpi, and their nine-year-old twins, Nishchay and Nishka.

Settling in Newcastle in 2016, Dr Mahajan, a liver and kidney transplant surgeon at the John Hunter Hospital, described his family's immigration journey as "very smooth" and said they were proud to become Australian citizens.

"Having been born in India and lived and studied all over the country, India will always be home, but if I had to call somewhere else home, Newcastle is it," Dr Mahajan said.

"When I finally finished my studies, I decided I wanted one or two more years' experience overseas. We arrived here when our twins were only three, and Newcastle quickly won us over and we chose to stay and make it our new home.

"This city has welcomed and accepted us, there's no place like it. We've lived in big cities like Delhi which has almost 33 million people, but the excitement is short-lived when you can reside this close to the beach and enjoy great work-life balance, plus you're never more than 15 minutes away from friends."

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said she was proud to confer citizenship upon a record number of Novocastrians and share with each of them such a special day in their lives.

"Today's ceremony represents a significant achievement for the City of Newcastle, clearing the waitlist for those eligible for citizenship within the Newcastle Local Government Area and completing the all-important final step in the process for hundreds of families, making it easier for them to apply for jobs and an Australian passport, as well as vote at elections," Cr Nelmes said.

"We are proud to be a progressive and inclusive city and we are so thrilled to be welcoming a record number of new citizens to Newcastle today."