Renu Ayyappan will proudly take the pledge of allegiance and become an Australian citizen tomorrow.
She will be one of nine new Australians to be granted citizenship at Weipa Town Authority’s Australia Day festivities.
Renu moved to Australia from India in 2015 with husband Saravanan Asaithambi and has lived in Weipa for more than two years.
“I love it here. This is home for me,” she said ahead of her pending citizenship ceremony.
“I want to be part of the Australian culture and want our kids to grow up here.”
Renu grew up in the southern Indian state of Kerala and boasts a Masters in Human Resources.
“I love the wet season here because it reminds me of the monsoon season we have back home,” she said.
Renu has settled in Cape York as the project manager for Weipa Community Care.
Husband Saravanan is an electrical engineer for Rio Tinto and is already an Australian citizen, having moved Down Under in 2009.
“We had an arranged marriage,” Renu said while speaking about her homeland’s culture.
The 36-year-old said her family was proud she was becoming an Australian citizen and while they could not attend tomorrow’s ceremony, she would have the support of her work colleagues.
The citizenship ceremony will round out the morning event at Weipa’s Kumrumja Park.
There will be an early start on Australlia Day, with a 7am fun run (3km and 5km), followed by breakfast and lawn games.
The Australia Day ceremony will kick off at 9am, with the Weipa Town Authority to announce the recipients of the major awards – Citizen and Young Citizen of the Year, Event of the Year, Sportsperson and Junior Sportsperson of the Year.
This will be followed by the citizenship ceremony.
In the afternoon, there will be a live band at the Albatross Bay Resort, as well as cane toad racing and facepainting.
The Alby’s smoker will come to life, while there will also be a number of raffles to help out the Western Cape Rural Fire Brigade. At the Weipa Bowls Club, there will be a DJ and a number of other activities to keep locals entertained.
Around the Cape
The Northern Peninsula Area’s famous Mud Rally has been called off by the council.
There are rumours the event will be held at Easter. There will be no Australia Day event in Mapoon, although local awards will be presented this week.
In Arakun, the town’s top citizens will be honoured in a morning ceremony.
There will also be a number of activities for the children.
March in Coen
Coen Regional Aboriginal Corporation has organised a community get together “for everyone to acknowledge the survival of our people and our culture”.
A walk at 9.30am will start the day off.
Locals will gather at the Coen kindergarten and walk to Coen Bend and back.
After the walk there will be a smoking healing ceremony at 11am at the football field with a barbecue and family activities.
All residents are welcome.
This article appeared in Cape York Weekly, 25 January 2021.