56 residents become Australian citizens
Bhutanese couple Mon Chhetri and Damanti Gurung arrived in Albury after spending 20 years in refugee camps and carrying just two bags that held every possession they owned.
When they landed at Albury Airport five years ago they were greeted by Cr David Thurley and his wife Sue who supported them through a St Vincent de Paul program to help refugees settle into their new home.
Coincidentally, Cr Thurley was Acting Mayor and presided over a ceremony to make Mon and Damanti Australian Citizens in front of their two Australian-born children Raymond, 4, and Ronan, 10 months.
Cr Thurley said: “I was very proud to preside over a Citizenship Ceremony for the first time. That Mon and Damanti were taking the oath in that ceremony was a wonderful coincidence."
Damanti said the family felt very lucky and very proud to be Australian citizens.
“We really like living in Albury because it has lots of facilities like houses, hospitals and schools. Our children will have a bright future growing up here,” she said.
Mon and Damanti were among 56 residents originally from Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Singapore, UK, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Yugoslavia, China, Netherlands, Fiji, Denmark and Scotland. who became Australian citizens in the May ceremony at Albury Entertainment Centre.
Last year, more than 200 people became Australian citizens at AlburyCity’s ceremonies.