The Australia Day celebrations in Benalla were a great success with many of the community’s most deserving members being honoured.
For two of the town’s residents the day was a moment they will remember for the rest of their lives after they were officially named Benalla’s newest Australian citizens.
Maria Avery and David Stribbling were all smiles as they attended the Australia Day Awards ceremony where they were officially named as citizens.
Ms Avery who was born in Germany said she had moved to Benalla when her husband was offered a position with Schneider Electric.
‘‘We came here in 2015, but it feels like much longer, Benalla and the people here have been wonderful to us,’’ she said.
‘‘It means so much to officially be an Australian.
‘‘To be part of this amazing country, I’ve never seen a country like this before.
‘‘It has amazing scenery and landscapes and the people are so amazing it makes it so special to be a part of the community.’’
Ms Avery said the highlight of the event was a song that was performed by a local NEA singer.
‘‘She sung a song Better be home soon, which reminded me of my times travelling and experiencing great difficulties when I just kept feeling I should go home.
‘‘It made me realise that going home now means going to Benalla, not Germany.
‘‘I am really grateful to have been embraced by an amazing Aussie family that I am now a part of and it’s amazing that I get to spend the rest of my life with them.’’