Twenty three Wellington Shire residents became Australian citizens this month.

Wellington Shire Council holds Citizenship Ceremonies every three months. In January, 63 local residents from 17 countries became Australian citizens. In May, the shire welcomed 34 new citizens from 11 countries and most recently, on July 12, the shire gained 23 new citizens from 10 countries, totalling 120 new Australian citizens in 2022.

Karen, Angus and their three children, Heather, Ellie and Hamish MacGregor, are five of the newest Australians in the Wellington Shire.

In a wild coincidence, it just so happened that the MacGregor’s became Australian citizens precisely 15 years to the day since their arrival in Australia.

As Karen MacGregor prepared for her Citizenship Ceremony, she thought back to her family’s arrival in Australia in 2007, then it clicked.

“It’s quite a coincidence,” Mrs MacGregor said.

“I was thinking back, and it just clicked; we came to Australia on the 12th of July, 2007, and it just so happened that we became citizens exactly 15 years later.”

Karen, Hamish, Heather, Ellie and Angus MacGregor with Wellington Shire Mayor Ian Bye at their Citizenship Ceremony on Tuesday, July 12. Photo: Contributed

Originally from England, Karen and Angus moved to New Zealand in the late 90s, where they worked on a dairy farm.

After arriving, Mr and Mrs MacGregor enjoyed life in New Zealand together for a few years before the arrival of their eldest child, Heather.

Then came Ellie. Then Hamish.

As work at the dairy farm became taxing and the option to buy a farm in New Zealand off the table, and with three kids under three, Mr and Mrs MacGregor needed a change.

“My husband had siblings in Australia, in Tasmania and Victoria,” Mrs MacGregor said.

“So we decided to come to Australia for a year’s holiday to see if we liked it.

“We got a caravan and travelled Australia; it was the first time in 18 years that my husband and his siblings were all in the same country.”

As much as the MacGregor’s loved New Zealand, it was family ties that ultimately kept them in Australia. After 10 months of travelling the country with kids aged three, two and one, Mr MacGregor began looking for work.

Mr MacGregor’s dairy farm experience drew the family to Sale, landing a job at a farm in Dennison in 2008.

Today, Mr MacGregor owns his own business, and Mrs MacGregor works at the Sale Hospital. Heather, Year 12, Ellie, Year 11, and Hamish, Year 10, are in their senior years at Catholic College Sale.

“With the kids being in their last years at school, we decided to become citizens so they could have more options for their future,” Mrs MacGregor said.

“Sale is home, the kids have their friends, my husband has his own business, and I work at the hospital; it just made sense, and we have no reason to move.”

The next Wellington Shire Council Citizenship Ceremony will be held in September.