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Antarctica hosts unique Australian citizenship ceremony

Published: Friday, 26 January 2018

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Australia’s Davis research station was host to an Australian citizenship ceremony this week, with a former UK resident becoming only the second person to be conferred Australian citizenship on the icy continent. 

Terry Barrell received his citizenship on the shores of Prydz Bay in front of Australia’s Davis research station in the Australian Antarctic Territory. The ceremony was nearly 5000km from the nearest Australian capital city and was presided by Station Leader Robb Clifton.

Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge MP, said the small ceremony at Davis research station was a testament to the importance of celebrating our shared values through citizenship.

“It is fantastic to see Mr Barrell conferred today in such a unique and challenging environment as Antarctica,” Mr Tudge said.

“Australian citizenship ceremonies give all of us the opportunity to reflect on what it means to be Australian and how lucky we are to live in such a great country.”

Mr Barrell first arrived in Australia in 2005 and has been working in Antarctica as a mechanical services plumber since November 2017. His role involves maintaining heating and flowing water for the more than 80 expeditioners who visit the station each year.

Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg, said Antarctica is an extreme environment and Australians working there often rely on the quintessential Australian traits of resilience and mateship.

“Antarctic expeditioners and scientists at Australia’s three stations rely on each other for safety and friendship, when they’re thousands of kilometres from home, in an unpredictable and sometimes challenging place.” 

“This support is really a key driver of the success of Australia’s Antarctic Program and today’s Australia Day ceremony is a great time to reflect on the fantastic work being undertaken by Australians on the icy continent.” 

Mr Barrell is one of over 14,000 new Australians from around 130 countries who will be conferred citizenship this week. There will be more than 350 ceremonies held across the country with most occurring on Australia Day, today. 

More than five million others have chosen to become Australian citizens since the first ceremony in 1949.

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