Couple proud to become Aussies

By ALLAN McNEILallanm@gladstoneobserver.com.au

IT was a visit that was only supposed to last for a short time, but yesterday that visit became officially permanent.

Darryl and Jenny Branthwaite came to Gladstone 23 years ago from New Zealand to escape the cold weather and horizontal rain and yesterday were officially made Australian citizens at a short ceremony in Calliope.

The well-known local couple arrived separately, but each had instructions from their families back home ? don't marry an Australian.

So after meeting each other they obliged, but now are proud to call themselves Aussies.

"It's great. Fantastic weather all the time, top fishing. We just love it,'' Darryl said.

"I wasn't planning to stay long, but I just loved it so much.''

After living in the lucky country for so long, Darryl and Jenny said there would be a few locals surprised to find they weren't native Australians.

"I think some people will be very surprised,'' Darryl said.

So after 23 years living here as Kiwis, why did they finally take up official citizenship?

"I don't understand how people live here but don't want to become one,'' Darryl said.

"I guess you just have to put your money where your mouth is and if you want to stay you become one.''

Yesterday Darryl and Jenny proudly waved the Australian flag, showing that while they still visit their home land occasionally to catch up with family, Australia is now where their heart is.

"We've raised two children here, so this is our home now,'' Jenny explained.

In fact, when his native New Zealand and new home Australia meet in the Rugby League Tri-nations final this weekend, Darryl will wear the green and gold with no mistake about where his allegiances lie.



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