Bass Coast,

Celebrating new citizens on Australia Day


Six Bass Coast residents had a very special Australia Day when they officially became Australian citizens at ceremomy held by Bass Coast Shire Council at Cape Kitchen on Phillip Island.

The new citizens, who originated from the United Kingdom, the Phillipines and India, celebrated with friends and family, and heard from Bass Coast’s Australia Day Ambassador, celebrity chef, author and teacher, Elizabeth Chong.

Born in a small provincial town on the outskirts of Guangzhow in China, Ms Chong herself became an Australian citizen after coming to Australia as a three year old.

Today, she is regarded as Australia’s leading teacher of Chinese cuisine and is one of the most loved and enduring personalities of the Australian Food Industry scene. She remains active and influential as an authority and Consultant in the special area of Asian cuisine.

Ms Chong said she almost felt like a local in Bass Coast, having holidayed in the Kilcunda area for the past 10 years.

“It is indeed an honour to be an Australia Day Ambassador. I feel it is a priviledge, especially as I, like may others, came here to Australia by boat. My family were lucky. I said we came by boat, but my grandfather and my parents didn’t have to escape terrorism and the terrors of war to come here. They were able to make a choice of Australia as their home – their first choice. They wanted to seek a better life for themselves and their children, so they did,” Ms Chong said.

“Today we all celebrate Australia Day in our own way. We celebrate our diversity and the freedom we have in this country of ours. Today is a day also for thanking and acknowledging those wonderful people, those giving people, who give of themselves their time and their labour to do volunteer work to keep Australia ticking.”

Bass Coast Deputy Mayor, Cr Bradley Drew, read the welcome message from the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, The Honourable Peter Dutton MP, and congratulated the new citizens on making a commitment to their new home.

The new citizens now reside in Corinella, Surf Beach, Wonthaggi, Cape Woolamai and Kilcunda.

The event was also attended by the 2016 Bass Coast Citizens of the Year, Allison O’Halloran and Trish Hogan, and Young Citizen of the Year, Rebecca Slavin, who were presented with their awards as part of the Australia Day celebrations.