MORE than 50 years after he moved from the United Kingdom, Bathurst's Richard Ellis is officially an Australian citizen.
He was among a group of 12 people who took the pledge at the Australia Day citizenship ceremony at Bathurst Memorial Entertainment Centre on Wednesday.
The new citizens hailed from all across the globe, their countries of origin including the Philippines, South Korea, India, Pakistan, the Ukraine and the United States of America.
However, they all chose Australia as their home and made that commitment official on Australia Day in front of their family, friends and fellow community members.
Bathurst's new citizens were among 16,000 people being affirmed on Australia Day.
After so many years living in Australia, much of that spent in Bathurst, Mr Ellis decided it was time to take the plunge into citizenship.
"I figured that I've been here for 51 years and it was about time that I actually committed myself," he said.
He came to Australia as a "Ten Pound Pom", a term used to describe British citizens who migrated to Australia and New Zealand after World War Two.
Adult migrants were charged only ten pounds sterling for the fare to Australia and were promised good employment prospects and affordable housing.
Mr Ellis said it was a "bargain" at the time and, after spending the required time in Australia, he decided to stay on.
"You had to stay for two years and then I just enjoyed it. I was having fun. I started off in Sydney and all of a sudden 51 years went past," he said.
"I came to Bathurst in 1979 and started up the hairdressing business, Wavelength."
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He operated the business for more than 40 years before selling it 12 months ago and entering retirement.
Mr Ellis has very much cemented his place in Australia, having had and raised three children, who have since blessed him with three grandchildren.
He went on to fall in love with Jan Green and the pair have been in a relationship for around 25 years.
While it is an individual choice, Mr Ellis encouraged others like him to consider becoming citizens themselves.
"Every Australia Day I would see other citizenship ceremonies and I would go 'I should be doing that' and eventually I did," he said.
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