City sets new citizen record

A NEW record was set as 19 residents from 11 countries officially became Australian citizens in this year's Australia Day naturalisation ceremony.

More than 300 Dubbo residents gathered under a cool summer sky at Victoria Park on Saturday to take part in the celebrations.

The early morning program began with a traditional Aussie breakfast of bacon and eggs cooked by Dubbo Macquarie Rotary Club.

The Dubbo District Concert Band performed a medley of Australian tunes before the crowd patriotically sang the national anthem.

Dubbo City Council mayor Councillor Mathew Dickerson officially began the day's celebrations, raising the Australian flag.

The master of ceremonies said Australia Day was one of the most important days on the Australian calendar.

"It is great to see so many people in the outdoors, in the perfect weather," he said.

"We are a great nation and it happens to be that we live in the greatest city."

Cr Dickerson said he was proud of the community, which had a high rate of volunteers.

"Think of what Australia Day means and how good it is to volunteer in the community," he said.

For Dubbo's newest citizens, Cr Dickerson handed a bag of "Aussie goodies" as a gift from the city.

"You have Vegemite in there, Dubbo stickers and a cricket ball," he said.

The Dubbo District Concert Band played Waltzing Matilda as Australia Day ambassador Larry Corowa made his way to the stage.

The mayor quickly quizzed the Aboriginal former professional rugby league footballer on his sporting career.

"In the politically correct world which we live in today, can I still call you by your nickname Black Flash for running quickly?" Cr Dickerson said.

"Of course you can, whether we are black or white we are all Australians," Mr Corowa said.

"I used to run away from the old man so he couldn't catch me - that's where the speed comes from."

Mr Corowa had one message for young people this Australia Day.

"Stay at school, get a good education and be respectful to your elders," he said.

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