As a teenager I came to this country with my Mother and brothers as assisted migrants from Britain – ten pound Poms we were called then. My Father had already been here for almost a year, while he decided if Australia would offer better opportunities for himself and his family, than Britain in the late 1950’s, and we all joined him in 1960. I was a reluctant immigrant, sounding and feeling very different to all my school mates, hating the heat in summer, and the distance from the rest of the world. I returned to the UK as soon as I finished university to live and work in London for a few years. Although I came back to Australia and have lived here ever since, married and raised children, I have always travelled using one of these, and described myself as British of Irish background. I think Australia is a great place to live, and it has been kind to me, but it still took forty-three years, until 2004 for me to become an Australian citizen.
Given the opportunity to travel overseas after Christmas, and having only an expired passport in a name I no longer use, I needed a new one and so decided it was time to get one of these……..It arrived today in the post.
With apologies to my Australian friends, I can only say it feels very strange – I have always believed that one cannot really change one’s nationality……..I’m sure there are advantages, one of which is that it is simpler and I shall no longer need a visa to enter this country, but I sense that my Father would be rolling in his grave if he knew! I guess I shall get used to it, and if I don’t then I shall renew my British one as we are allowed dual nationality in Australia, which is a very good thing.