- Wednesday 11 November 2015
More than 170 local residents will officially become the Sunshine Coast’s newest Australian citizens at a ceremony at Suncoast Convention Centre tonight.
Helen Collingwood, formerly from the United Kingdom and now living in Caloundra, will be one of those to receive their Australian citizenship certificate.
Today she was keen to share the story of why she and her husband Robert, who became an Australian citizen on July 9 this year, decided to call Australia home.
Helen said that she and Robert had led a high paced life, and felt that life was passing them by.
Now 53, Helen said that since moving to Australia they have never looked back.
“After waiting two years for my husband to get a student visa, we finally left the UK on Christmas Day 2007,” Mrs Collingwood said.
“It was a very tough and emotional decision to leave behind all of our family, including our son Levi and two year old granddaughter Liliarna. We miss them terribly, but chat via Skype every week.
“But, after living here for almost eight years, I am so excited to finally become an Aussie. The people here are so friendly and warm and we have made some wonderful friendships.
“Our jobs in the UK were very stressful, and we felt like life was just passing us by. We wanted a better lifestyle.
“When we first arrived on the Sunshine Coast I volunteered at Australia Zoo which was an amazing experience. I worked there for three years looking after sick koalas in the hospital.
“I now have my own beauty therapy business at Infiniti Hair Design at Stockland Caloundra, and I love looking after lots of beautiful people.
“Becoming a citizen will fulfil my dream of belonging to an amazing country that has so much to offer.
“The people, the lifestyle, weather and culture truly make this the best place in the world to live. I'm finally home.
“I'm even having surfing lessons at 53 and loving every minute.”
Australian citizenship ceremonies on the Sunshine Coast are held bi-monthly in locations across the region.
Visit Council’s website for further information on Australian citizenship ceremonies.
Tonight’s ceremony starts at 6pm.