Sunshine Coast is the best place in the world
  • Saturday 27 April 2013

Almost 200 local residents will officially become Sunshine Coast’s newest Australian Citizens at a citizenship ceremony to be held at Lake Kawana Community Centre on Tuesday 30 April at 1.30pm.

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson said the ceremony will be the largest to be held in the region this year.

“Next Tuesday, we are expecting to welcome more than 190 “new Australians” - all of whom have stories that inspire and reaffirm my belief that we live in one of the best places in the world,” he said.

One of those stories will be from recipients and Weyba Downs residents, Paul Williams, Shelley Davidow and their 15 year old son Tim.

Mr Williams grew up in Zimbabwe/Rhodesia but lost his citizenship while his parents lost their house and life savings.

“We were forced to leave and return to the UK to live with relatives,” Mr Williams said.

“I met Shelley, my partner, in South Africa and we sought a new home first in the UK, then in the USA but were never happy in the Northern hemisphere.

“We applied for permanent residency in Australia under the Distinguished Talent visa category, and our family was accepted.”

Mr Williams said they arrived in 2008 and immediately fell in love with Australia’s people, climate, southern skies, lifestyle and political freedom.

“We have made our home on the Sunshine Coast and of all the places we have been - and we have lived on five continents - consider the Sunshine Coast the best place in the world,” he said.

“Our son Tim was recently awarded the Eumundi Young Achievers’ Award and also held the title for the youngest glider pilot in the country. Tim also recently won a prestigious organ bursary from the Conservatorium of Music and has been asked by his school to audition for the television show, Australia’s Got Talent.”

Mr Williams is a published author. He wrote the award winning novel ‘Soldier Blue’ which is a memoir of Paul’s life growing up in civil war torn Rhodesia. Mr Williams is now a lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Shelley Davidow is a prize winning novelist and has also written a memoir of her journey to becoming an Australian citizen.

“This place has been for us so amazingly rich with opportunities. I received a Distinguished Talent Visa and I wanted to be able to contribute to this beautiful country,” Ms Davidow said.

“After the first couple of years of struggling to find our place, this country has really allowed all of us to do just that, and blossom.”

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.