New citizens take the oath at Ballan Mechanics Institute

THE 32 new Australians who undertook their citizenship oath at the Ballan Mechanics Institute today were welcomed by the voices of nine Australian prime ministers, past and present.

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Australia Day ambassador and celebrity impersonator Paul Jennings gave the citizenship ceremony address, then invited Tony Abbott, Kevin Rudd, John Howard, Paul Keating and even Sir Bob Menzies to speak to the assembly as well.

The prime ministers were followed by Victorian premiers, cricketing greats and even His Royal Highness Prince Charles', to the amusement of many including (most of) the attending politicians.

The Moorabool Shire Australia Day ceremony began with a call to attention by town crier Gavin Barker and then a moving welcome by Wathaurung elder Glenn Shae.

Mayor Paul Tatchell recalled They're a Weird Mob, the fictional tale of a journalist from Italy and his observations of that odd mob from Downunder.

He said that if he had to sum up Australia Day, it was about a sense of belonging.

"The fabric of Australia is created by a thread of acceptance," Cr Tatchell said.

"Today 32 people add their threads to that tapestry, a rich and colourful tapestry."

Member for Ballarat Catherine King said Australia Day was a time to reflect on the values and events that shaped the nation' while acknowledging some indigenous Australians feel sadness about the date which marks the establishment of white settlement.

"The fabric of Australia is created by a thread of acceptance"

Julie Castelijn and community band Licorice Allsorts performed Advance Australia Fair, before awards were presented for the Moorabool community event of the year, young citizen of the year, and citizen of the year.

The Bacchus Marsh Strawberries and Cherries Weekend was named event of the year, while Blackwood CFA volunteer and community event organiser Jack Simmonds accepted the young citizen award.

Moorabool citizen of the year GP Dr David Stewart said the honour reflected his love affair with Bacchus Marsh, Moorabool and Ballan.

"Today is the 46th anniversary of seeing my first patient and delivering my first baby in Bacchus Marsh. We opened our practice on Australia Day," he said.

"We came to Bacchus Marsh in 1968 and within a week of being here we were invited by the Bacchus Marsh Football Club for the day at the Blackwood football ground.

"We loved it and we're staying."

The 32 new citizens then made their oaths and affirmations, and shared in a rendition of The Seekers' We are Australian.

One was Santosh Bisam, who moved to Australia from India in 2008 and has settled in Bacchus Marsh. 

"I made the decision because I feel Australia is good to communities from all around the world and accepting of all religions and cultures'" he said.

Moorabool Australia Day Awards

Citizen of the Year: Dr David Stewart

Young Citizen of the Year: Jack Simmonds

Community Event of the Year: Bacchus Marsh Strawberries and Cherries Weekend

Mayoral Awards

Moorabool Relay for Life

Coimadai Primary School 150the anniversary celebrations

Great War Centenary Awareness Day

Ballan Art Show

Chantelle Dawes

Ian Stewart

Ambaer Durante