LONDON, January 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
Millions of Australians participated in more than 800 official events across the country, plus thousands more backyard barbecues and beach picnics, to mark the Australia Day on January 26.
More than 16,000 people from 150 countries became Australian citizens at 400 ceremonies. The biggest was in Wanneroo, Perth where 800 people took part. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it was a chance to celebrate what Australians love about their country.
"We come from nearly 200 countries of all faiths, cultures and backgrounds. And yet in a world where conflict and intolerance seem more intractable than ever, we live together in peace," he said. He also acknowledged the First Australians, whose culture he said "enriches us all".
The Australian of the Year awards were announced on the eve of the national celebrations, with Queensland scientist Professor Alan Mackay-Sim was named Australian of the Year at a ceremony at Parliament House.
"This is home for me now, so it just feels like I'm at home, I'm very proud to be able to call myself an Australian," South Korean-born, Denmark-raised Marie Omark celebrated her new citizenship status in Sydney, reported news.co.au news portal.
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