Australian Citizenship Day celebrations

Citizenship ceremonies are happening all over Australia thanks to a piece of legislation passed exactly 60 years ago.

It wasn't until citizenship laws were passed in 1949 that we could truly call ourselves Aussies, instead of Brits, for the first time.

Since then, more than four million people have become Australians, with thousands more joining our nation on September 17: Australian Citizenship Day.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, welcoming 15 people at a ceremony staged at Parliament House.

Ever since we heard a couple of weeks ago the ceremony was going to be on, I've just been, wow, this is going to be so good! I just keep thinking, as a parent – and we both said that – we want the best for your children.

And we think citizenship – calling Australia home – is the best we can do for them.

Heather and Primod Gavinder becoming citizens along with their daughters Rebecca and Sarah.

The family boasts a South African Kiwi and Australian heritage, so consider themselves the tri-nations.

Even so, they're proud to call Australia home.

There's so many opportunities we want them to have and we know that they will get it here.

So, we're really proud to be Australian today.

Yeah, absolutely.

In Sydney, new citizens were welcomed at one of the nation's most iconic venues – world-class opera singer, Sharon Xi, putting her formidable talents to patriotic good use.

[singing national anthem] I've been in Australia for six years now.

It's been my dream, every day dream, becoming an Australian citizen.

It's a life-changing experience for me.

And I'm thrilled to be here with so many other new citizens and singing the Australian anthem.

Also enjoying the occasion, Hendrik Esterheusen and his family: the South African nationals and new Australians with multiple reasons to celebrate.

[crowd speaking in unison] I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people.

We came all the way up from Armidale, northern New South Wales, So, yeah, we're happy to be here at the Opera House.

It's my birthday so it's a big day for us.

By the end of the 2009 anniversary year, it's expected that more than 95 000 people will have chosen to become Australian citizens.

Source: Youtube