Mayor Reg Kidd was in an expansive mood on Thursday afternoon as he spoke to the six people in front of him in a semi-circle who were about to become Australian citizens.
In a wide-ranging monologue he managed to touch on everything from Lucknow and Cadia gold mining, Olympic medals and Australians' taste for idolising criminals such as local troublemaker Ben Hall, to the legendary and ancient Blue Hills radio serial, the vast Wiradjuri nation, poet Banjo Patterson, rugby, Kidd's love of monarchy and a tale about how he once sang both verses of Advance Australia Fair for an appreciative audience on the sub-continent. He even threw in a definition of the word "girt", for baffled anthem lovers.
It was an entertaining performance, and sitting listening intently, if perhaps occasionally bemused, were Hina Wahab and Matthew Staniforth, two of the half dozen newbies whose lives were about to change forever.
Wahab and her husband Muhammad Jasim Nawaz arrived in Sydney from Karachi in Pakistan five years ago. Three years ago they headed west to Orange. They currently run the Cheesecake Shop on Summer Street.
"I'm very excited right now," she said after the ceremony. "I've waited for this day for so long. I like the people here, they're nice and friendly, and it's so beautiful in Orange."
Wahab and Nawaz know most if not all of the 15 or so families of Pakistani heritage in town. Time constraints mean they are unable to get together as often as they'd like.
Asked if Orange was in need of a Pakistanti restaurant, she said: "Of course! We definitely need one."
Matthew Staniforth, from Portsmouth in the UK, came to Australia 10 years ago for a holiday and decided he rather liked what he saw. After five years in Sydney he headed west for a tree change and fell in love with a woman named Amanda, who is now his wife and mother of their baby.
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"It's been a long wait with Covid but I'm ecstatic," he said. "I got married last year had a baby and felt I wanted to be a part of the community in a more official way, instead of just being known as the pom in my workplace. I wanted to be Australian."
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