Seventy years ago today, seven people of different nationalities gathered at Albert Hall in Canberra for Australia's very first citizenship ceremony.
Today, that significant milestone in Australian history was remembered with a special commemorative citizenship ceremony in the same venue.
Seventy new citizens from 25 countries took the pledge, in a scene reminiscent of how it was on 3 February 1949, including native trees and a band playing classic Australian tunes. The Governor General, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) presided over the ceremony.
"Australia has changed in many ways since 1949, but Australian citizenship remains as important to our nation as it was then – an extraordinary privilege that has been presented to more than five million people since that day," Mr Coleman said.
"I congratulate those seventy people becoming Australian citizens today. They have chosen to commit themselves to Australia and the values we share as a nation.
The ceremony marks the culmination of the 70th anniversary celebrations of Australian citizenship, which began on Australian Citizenship Day in September 2018 and continued through to Australia Day 2019 when a record number – more than 16,000 people – were invited to become Australian citizens on our national day.
"The 70th anniversary has given us the opportunity to reflect on the value of Australian citizenship and to celebrate it," Mr Coleman said.
"It is a great privilege granted to those who support our democratic values, respect our laws and want to contribute to a more prosperous Australia."