Newcastle Jets forward Roy O’Donovan has found a permanent home in the region, with the Irish import and his young family set to become Australian citizens at one of City of Newcastle’s online citizenship ceremonies on Tuesday.
O’Donovan and his wife Ellen relocated to Australia in 2015, initially for a change of scenery, but when their son Alfie was born less than 12 months later, the O’Donovans soon fell in love with Newcastle and the unparalleled lifestyle it had to offer.
Roy O'Donovan with his wife Ellen and son Alfie at Dixon Park Beach.
“I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to play in Australia or America because I fancied the change from living in England,” O’Donovan said.
“We came to Newcastle and really felt like we had found a home here. I’d travelled elsewhere for football but never for more than two or three years at a time. You can’t beat the lifestyle here, especially for raising a family, with so many beautiful parks and beaches at your doorstep.
“We’re extremely honoured and proud to become Australian citizens and be part of Newcastle’s future.”
As for Alfie’s favourite thing about Newcastle? “I love swimming at the beaches and also seeing all the dogs walking around,” he said.
The O’Donovans will share their special day with Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes, who is presiding over their citizenship ceremony via Zoom, before tucking into a backyard barbecue, sending their love to family and friends in hard lockdown in Ireland and enjoying some family time before Alfie starts kindergarten later this week.
Cr Nelmes said City of Newcastle had adapted its traditional Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony, which in the past has been one of the largest in the state, to allow our newest citizens to take the pledge in a COVID safe environment.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has meant we have had to do things a little differently to keep the community safe, it’s an historic moment as Lord Mayor to welcome City of Newcastle’s newest citizens in a more intimate, one-on-one setting, joining them virtually in their lounge rooms and kitchens.”
The Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor Councillor Declan Clausen will preside over simultaneous ceremonies, accompanied by the Federal Member for Newcastle, Sharon Claydon, who will read the Minister’s Message.