Malcolm Turnbull has welcomed new citizens to Australia’s embrace, saying they honoured the country by choosing to become part of it.
“Most of us were tiny conscripts to Australian citizenship; our oath of allegiance an indignant howl as we emerged blinking into the light of our first day,” the prime minister told the group on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.
“But you have made a choice, not just to live among us but to become one of us.”
Mr Turnbull said each of the new citizens “adds another thread to the national tapestry” of a history stretching back more than 40,000 years.
He spoke of his own family’s migrant story and said the nation was enriched by the cultures of all its citizens.
The prime minister administered the oath to 28 new citizens at the event in Canberra, which also included an official flag raising and indigenous smoking ceremony.
Meantime the NSW governor acknowledged pain and mixed emotions that January 26 evokes within Australia’s Aboriginal people at an indigenous ceremony on Sydney Harbour.
Governor David Hurley told the crowd of several hundred at Barangaroo Point Reserve that Australians had the opportunity to write a different story through reconciliation and hard work.
“We understand on this day 229 years ago the coming of the First Fleet wreaked a terrible impact on your people, your families, your culture,” General Hurley said at the Thursday morning ceremony.
His speech followed the earlier ceremonies including the passage of a canoe carrying fire from Goat Island for a smoking ceremony.
Just after 8am both the Australian and Aboriginal flags were raised in unison on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.