THEY have come from more than 23 different countries; 76 new Australians, sworn in at a special citizenship ceremony held at Lake Macquarie City Council Chambers on Friday.
Mayor Kay Fraser inducted the area's newest citizens from Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Iran, UK, Ukraine, India, Thailand, the Philippines, and more, with a few words on what the ceremony meant for her.
Cessnock MP Clayton Barr brought with him the classic Australian sense of humour with a joke about the Matilda's win in last night's World Cup game.
"And to our new Brazil citizen, no hard feelings about last night, you can now to cheer on the Aussies. I hope your family is proud to support Australia and that, maybe one day, your children can grow up to represent the country," Mr Barr said.
Joao Carlos Mendes Junior, the area's newest Brazilian Australian, laughed along.
"I like the Aussie sense of humour, it reminds me a lot of Brazil. My workmates and I joke around like that a lot," Mr Mendes said.
He and his wife moved from Newcastle to Lake Macquarie when they fell pregnant. At the ceremony, Mr Mendes proudly held his four-month-old baby.
"The area is great for families, we're glad to live here," Mr Mendes said. Another young family present at the ceremony was the Huangs from China. The youngest member of the Huang family, Terrance, was born in Australia, but he followed his dad, Longfei, to the stage to collect his certificate.
"Terrance was born here in Australia but I needed my own citizenship. This certificate means I can now travel with my son, maybe to Europe one day" Mr Huang said.
Meanwhile, Ivanna Bondarchuk of Ukraine said migration had never been part of her plans. She said she had worked and studied in her country before meeting her now husband, an Australian travelling abroad.
"It's a real love story, I wasn't even in the city I studied in when we met. The whole process has been so natural, without any complications, so I'm very lucky. The ceremony today has been good and I'm excited to be an official citizen now," Ms Bondarchuk said.
She says she loves her life in Australia and, more specifically, Lake Macquarie. Ms Bondarchuk is a regular runner and met her new mates one morning jogging around the Lake.
"Everyone's so nice and it was so easy to make friends. Now I have the best friends, the best work, and I live in the best place," she said.
All of the new citizens were congratulated with their official certificate, a native Australian plant, and a complimentary morning tea.