GALLERY: Meet Gympie’s newest citizens
When Colette Brennan arrived in Australia after travelling from her UK homeland, she quickly discovered why she wanted to stay.
"You can just be yourself; you don't have to try and fit in, you can just be who you are," she said.
Ms Brennan was one of several Gympie region residents who officially became Australian citizens at the region's Australia Day celebration at the pavilion on Tuesday afternoon.
Laminex Australia manufacturing operations manager for Queensland, Scott Beckett, and the Rana family of Neelan Rameshbhai, Aadhya Neelan, Aaditya Neelan and Meghna Neelan also became citizens at the ceremony.
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Ms Brennan said becoming a citizen was still a pinch-me moment.
"I'm still kind of in disbelief about it," she said.
"I knew I wanted to stay (in Australia) straight away but I just didn't know how that would ever happen."
The Rainbow Beach mother said she was drawn across the equator by what she saw of Australia's landscape on television; once she arrived she was just as struck by the people.
"(It's) how friendly everyone is," Ms Brennan said.
"People make time for each other.
"In the UK, especially where I'm from, it's like busy, busy, busy.
"Everyone just bypasses each other, whereas here I'll just go down to the shops and I'll be gone for like an hour because everyone wants to say hello.
"I love that
"That's what life should be about."