It was hard to wipe the smile from Riccis Ricon’s face on Friday.
The eight year old was officially welcomed as a citizen of the country he was born in, alongside his father Raymund Ricon.
The Filipino family, including mum Bernadette, came to Australia and Deniliquin from Saudi Arabia in 2008 to improve their opportunities in farming.
When asked how he felt about becoming an Australian citizen, Raymund had a true Aussie response.
‘‘I’m very excited mate,’’ he said.
‘‘I was working on farms in Saudi Arabia before moving to Deni for work and a better life.
‘‘I currently work for the Burn family on their dairy farm.
‘‘I’ve waited a long time to become a citizen and to have all the family here (at the ceremony) is nice.’’
Five local residents were officially sworn in as Australian citizens at the ceremony, hosted at the Peppin Heritage Centre by Edward River Council.
Other new citizens are Sara Myatt (USA), Geoff Demare (Canada) and Elif Ozmen (Turkey).
Mrs Myatt has lived in Australia since she was 13 years old, moving to Sydney from Florida, USA with her mother in 2001.
The 32 year-old moved to Deniliquin at the end of 2011 to be with her partner and now husband Anthony Myatt, and has worked at Deniliquin Children’s Centre since 2012.
Mr Demare, 29, moved to Australia from Manitoba, Canada in 2013 to complete a Doctor of Optometry degree at the University of Melbourne.
After completing his degree, the optometrist made the move to Deniliquin in 2017 to work at Deniliquin Eyecare. He has since been joined in Deniliquin by his wife Jessica and their twin daughters Dorothy and Lucy.
Mrs Ozmen moved from Turkey to Deniliquin in 2014, along with her husband Michael Rainbow and children Kaan and Deniz.
Michael originally lived in Deniliquin for 11 years, from 1988. He met his wife on returning to Turkey in 1999.
The couple decided to move back to Deniliquin to allow their sons to go to school in Australia to learn English.
All five citizens were presented with certificates, native plants and an Australian citizenship coin.
Mayor Norm Brennan officiated the ceremony and congratulated the quintet on taking this important step in making Australia their home.
The ceremony closed with the singing of the national anthem, followed by a celebratory cake and refreshments.