Woman's 55-year journey to become a citizen
IT WAS the biggest citizenship ceremony Lismore has seen, and it was a day full of tears and joy as 37 Lismore residents officially became Australian citizens.
But for Nicola Bilski, it has taken her 55 years to become an Australian citizen, and "nothing has really changed".
Ms Bilski was born in London in 1962, before her parents decided to migrate to Australia in 1964 when she was two-years-old.
She said after being raised in Australia, it had taken her "quite a while" to become an official citizen and said she hadn't felt the need to do it sooner because she had always "felt like an Australian" her entire life.
"I've done everything in life here," she said.
"I've travelled, I've raised a family, my children are here.
"I live as an Australian and it was just the last thing I needed to tick off the list."
Ms Bilski said she felt "very thankful and proud" for everything Australia has given her and her family.
"I'm very grateful for the life Australia has given me but it was just one thing which I had to do formally," she said.
Lismore City Council mayor Isaac Smith said he was thrilled to see so many Lismore residents deciding the participate in Tuesday's ceremony.
Cr Smith said most Lismore citizenship ceremonies usually attracted an average of 15 new citizens at a time, so he was very pleased to see that number double.
"This is the most Lismore has ever had," he said.
"We're just glad more people in Lismore are wanting to become citizens. They've come here to join our country and join our community and it's a really exciting day.
"Not only have they come here to join our community but they've taken a second step in becoming part of our country. We want to welcome them."