City welcomes new citizens

24 Jan 2017

Newcastle paediatrician Stephen Knipe will step away from his young patients on Thursday to receive his Australian Citizenship certificate 14 years after love brought him to Australia.

The Fletcher resident, who was born and raised in Northern Ireland, will join 173 new Australians as they're officially welcomed at City Hall by Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes on Australia Day 2017.

The medical specialist and his wife Danielle, also a doctor, met by chance as medical students on a placement in Darwin in 2000.

The pair lived briefly in Scotland while Stephen finished his studies before moving back to Australia in 2002 and marrying in 2003.

The Knipe family (L-R): Aidan, 12; Stephen, Laura, 8; Danielle and Keira, 10.

Dr Knipe lists not having to re-apply for residency, queuing in the same airport lines as his wife and three children and voting in line with his "vocal" political opinions as the biggest incentives for becoming a dual citizen.

"It annoyed me I could not vote as I have been very vocal about politics with family and friends, so it was high time I became a citizen.

"And the kids all speak with an Australian accent."

At Thursday's ceremony, Awabakal woman Aunty Sandra Griffin will deliver a Welcome to Country and Newcastle's volunteer Australia Day Ambassador Donny Galella, a Sydney-based fashion stylist and media personality, will address new citizens before they make their citizenship pledge.

Hailing from every corner of the globe, the 174 new Australian citizens represent 32 countries:

Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Arab Republic of Egypt, England, France, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Macedonia, Malaysia, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Tunisia, Ukraine, United States of America and Vietnam.

Member of the public are invited to City Hall to help welcome the city's new citizens and afterwards enjoy a full line up of fun in the Honeysuckle Precinct.