NEW AUSTRALIANS: The Chandra family, who emigrated from Fiji several years ago, have become Australian citizens. Photo: Andrew Messenger

NEW AUSTRALIANS: The Chandra family, who emigrated from Fiji several years ago, have become Australian citizens. Photo: Andrew Messenger

'Dream' becomes a reality

'Like a dream': New Australians celebrate hard-won citizenship

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"There was a moment in my life that I doubted that I could become a citizen. So for me it was a bit surreal to be standing there and having my citizenship certificate in my hands. It was very special."

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There was a time in the life of Cristina Dias that she doubted she could ever become a citizen of the country she has lived in for over a decade.

But after 13 years of bureaucratic battles, the Brazilian business owner yesterday officially became an Australian.

Tamworth's traditional Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony was even smaller than usual as a result of coronavirus restrictions.

Some family members were even forced to wait outside as their siblings took the citizenship oath.

But Miss Dias said she still got chills.

"It was something I always dreamed of," she said.

"I was overwhelmed and very emotional. I've been dreaming of this for a very long time.

"There was a moment in my life that I doubted that I could become a citizen. So for me it was a bit surreal to be standing there and having my citizenship certificate in my hands. It was very special."

She emigrated to Australia 13 years ago, moving to Tamworth in 2016.

Her journey to citizenship has been long, but worth it, she said.

Ms Dias said Brazil is a much more difficult country, with much greater divide between rich and poor.

In this country she has her own cleaning business, Cristal Clean and Organising.

The best things about Australia are simple:

"I think the people [are the best part of Australia], how kind everyone are. And the freedom we have here," she said.

NEW AUSTRALIANS: The Chandra family, who emigrated from Fiji several years ago, have become Australian citizens. Photo: Andrew Messenger

NEW AUSTRALIANS: The Chandra family, who emigrated from Fiji several years ago, have become Australian citizens. Photo: Andrew Messenger

Cailin Balgoa was born in the Phillipines, but moved here when she was just eight years old.

After five years in the country, she became an Australian on Tuesday.

The story 'Dream' becomes a reality first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.

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