New Australian citizens welcomed in the Blue Mountains

Fifty Blue Mountains residents became Australian citizens on January 26, in a ceremony held at The Hub in Springwood.

Mayor Mark Greenhill welcomed the new Australian citizens, from 27 different countries, who have chosen to call the Blue Mountains home.

"We are not expecting you to renounce your cultural identity or traditions. They are your heritage and they add to your diversity and our diversity," Cr Greenhill said.

"We are so proud that the city of Blue Mountains is forever woven into your story."

Federal Macquarie MP Susan Templeman said: "You have chosen a beautiful place to become citizens. Thank you for the choice you made to live in a world heritage area."

Lobsang Tharchin has lived in Katoomba for seven years and on Tuesday became an Australian citizen.

He was raised in Tibet and came to Australia as a refugee, after walking for a month to India via Nepal, for an opportunity to come to Australia.

"It's very important to become an Australian citizen," he said. "I like it here. I can never go back to Tibet as I have no passport."

He said it was a difficult decision to leave family in Tibet, and was drawn to the Blue Mountains because it was a similar environment to where the Dalai Lama lived.

Romain Mongin also became an Australian citizen on Tuesday after living in Australia for 13 years.

He grew up in Paris, and was backpacking in Australia when he met Madeline Bell through a mutual friend. She was studying French at the time and they hit it off immediately.

They moved to Faulconbridge five years ago, as they thought the Mountains would be a good place to raise a family.

"We should have come here years ago," Mr Mongin said with a laugh.

He said it was great to finally become an Australian citizen and it gave the family security that they could not be separated.

"I integrated into Australian society straight away. Having that bit of paper [citizenship] now validates it," Mr Mongin said.


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