BENDIGO has welcomed 35 new citizens into the community.
The citizens, who came from 13 countries including Bangladesh, Kuwait, Canada, China and Zimbabwe, took an oath or affirmation and received a native plant on Tuesday night.
Bendigo mayor Lisa Ruffell and Bendigo member-elect Lisa Chesters welcomed the new citizens, some of whom had lived in Australia for more than 30 years, in front of 100 attendees.
Cr Ruffell noted they did not have to give up their traditions or culture but instead pledge loyalty to the county.
They were greeted with applause from those in attendance.
Cr Ruffell wished the new citizens luck.
“As Australians we belong to each other,” she said.
“And our future success depends on uniting and working together for a common good.
“I extend my congratulations and best wishes for a happy future as citizens of Australia.”
Cr Ruffell said all new citizens had the same rights.
"Citizenship is open to all settlers on exactly the same terms," she said.
"And once a citizen, there is no distinction between one or the other in rights, privileges or responsibilities.
"Australia is a nation which we can all be proud of."
Ms Chesters said there had been nervous energy and excitement at the ceremony.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity and a chance to celebrate what it means to be an Australian citizen,” she said.
“I congratulate all of the people that took the step to become an new Australian citizen.
“What was also wonderful was the Karen refugees who formally because citizens.
“They can be proud to be in a country where they can celebrate their religion and culture free from persecution.”
The event was held as part of Australian Citizenship Day, which has been held on September 17 since 2001.
The citizens will receive official certificates by post.