A 45 year journey – worth every cent!
  • Friday 08 November 2013

Mary and David Paton of Parrearra have waited 45 years for one of the most important dates in their lives  - 8 November -  the day that they become Australian citizens.

The Patons will join Sunshine Coast Council Mayor, Mark Jamieson, who will preside over the citizenship ceremony on 8 November, and more than 170 other recipients to celebrate becoming the Coast’s newest Australian Citizens.

The Paton’s Australian story begins in 1968, only two weeks after their marriage, when they migrated from the United Kingdom to Melbourne with just two suitcases and only $50 between them.

David said as British migrants they were allowed to vote in all Federal, State and Local elections and he also had to register for National Service.

“My number came up in the National Service ballot and I was drafted into the armed forces and was informed I would also be doing part of my service in Vietnam,” he said.

“Because I was married before my call up age of 20, I was then granted indefinite deferment from National Service. In 1971 we moved to Brisbane with my work and bought our first house where our two children were born.”

The Paton family survived Cyclone Wanda in 1974 with no damage to their home but their lives changed a few months later when they received a compulsory purchase order for their property to make way for the proposed Gateway Bridge.

David said during this time  he decided to go back to the UK for an extended holiday to visit family, relatives and friends and to show off  his two children, then three years and one year old.

“Unfortunately,  in a twist of fate, we were not allowed to re-enter Australia due to the UK becoming full members of the European Union which meant Australians required visas for the UK and vice versa,” he said.

“As a family we decided the best thing was to stay in the UK, re-skill ourselves and apply again sometime in the future.

“It was some years later that our daughter moved back to Australia when she was 18 and sponsored us as parents of an Australian citizen. Once accepted for migration, we waited 10 long years for the visa and added to this was thousands of dollars in medicals, bonds and other related costs.

“We are now happy to say we are back; about to be accepted into the Australian family - a journey which has taken us 45 years to complete, some heartache, considerable financial outlay, but worth every cent!”

The citizenship ceremony will be held at Lake Kawana Community Centre, Bokarina on Friday 8 November from 1.30pm to 2.30pm.

Australian citizenship ceremonies on the Sunshine Coast are held bi-monthly at locations across the region. Visit council’s website for further information on Australian Citizenship Ceremonies.