Celebrating 60 years of new Redland City citizens

Sixty years after a handful of new citizens were welcomed to Redland City at the first ever citizenship ceremony; 168 people from 26 countries are preparing to take the ‘pledge’ at a ceremony tomorrow.

Redland City Mayor Karen Williams said tomorrow’s event would not only commemorate 60 years since that modest ceremony was held in the Redlands Memorial Hall, but appropriately it would also be held on National Citizenship Day.

“Each citizenship ceremony held in the Redlands is special, but this ceremony will have added meaning with it being the 60th anniversary of citizenship ceremonies in the Redlands as well as the national day when we recognise the contribution of new citizens across Australia.

“Citizenship ceremonies are not only special for the new citizens, but the whole city that is all the richer for those who choose the Redlands as their new Australian home.”

Cr Williams said the first Redland City citizenship ceremony was held on 1 October 1954, when citizenship was granted to Miss Antje Boeterhoek and Sr Slvatore d’Amico. 

“The descendants of these two people remain in the Redlands today, showing the Redlands is not just a location for immigrants but it is very much a home,” she said.

Someone who knows this all too well is son of Italian immigrant and local author Carl Saffigna, who will be guest speaker at next week’s citizenship ceremony.

Carl’s father immigrated from east Italy to the Redlands in 1925 and while Carl himself was later born in Australia, the contribution of immigrants to the Redlands has always interested him, so much so that he has written a book on the topic, Half a World Away.

“I interviewed more than 100 people from Italian families over five years to find out about their stories and how they came to be in the Redlands,” he said.

“In those days a lot of people came to the Redlands because of the farming potential. They could afford small farms in the Redlands where the whole family could contribute and work.

“Often the father of the family would come out first and work for a couple of years before then bringing their wife and children out and settling in the area.

“Sometimes they would also tell their siblings or other relatives about the Redlands and they would then also come out.  This is now known as chain migration.

“It’s the same whenever you find something you like, you want others to know about it, like if you find a good camping place or fishing spot you tell your friends.”

New citizens taking part in next week’s citizenship ceremony are from: Afghanistan, Belgium, Canada, Costa Rica, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Kenya, Mozambique, New Zealand, Philippines, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Turkey, United Kingdom, USA, Vietnam, Zimbabwe