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Photographs supplied by Russell Byers

A memorial commemorates the 60th anniversary of the first citizenship ceremony which was held in Canberra in 1949. Citizenship Place at the Lake foreshore forms part of the R. G. Menzies Walk. It was unveiled by the Governor-General Quentin Bryce on 26 January 2009. The memorial features a timeline of the Australian citizenship story.

Forty-four years ago seven people took the first Oath of Allegiance in Canberra's Albert Hall, one person from each state and one from the ACT.  On Australia Day 1949, The Canberra Times was underwhelmed by the significance of the changes going on around it: on the front page it announced "Princess Elizabeth has the Measles", on page two it carried news that the Nationality and Citizenship Act had come into force the day before. However, the editorial did note that it was "the day of Australia's awakening".

The then Minister for Immigration, Arthur Calwell, pointed out the enforcement of the Act made Australia Day 1949 a moment of "outstand ing importance" in the nation's history as migrants would now have a tangible goal — the honour of be coming Australian citizens.
The Canberra Times, 27th January 1993.



Address:Parkes Way, Commonwealth Park , Parkes, 2600
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -35.290114
Long: 149.133045
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Landscape


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 26th January, 2009
Front Inscription

Citizenship Place

Australian citizenship symbolises our unity as a nation.  It represents committment to Australia and its people, the values we share and our common future.  It also symbolises our sense of belonging to the country where we have been born or where we have dediced to make our home.

The Australian citizenship affirmation is a statement all Australians can make to affirm their loyalty and commitment to Australia and its people.  The words are based on the citizenship pledge made by new citizens at Australian citizenship ceremonies.  The affirmation is inscribed at the lake edge.

1949  Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 enacted, creating the concept of Australian citizenship for all Australians.  The first naturalisation ceremony is conducted in Canberra.

1953  The Australian National Flag officially declared through the Flags Act 1953

1967  National referendum conducted allowing Indigenous Australians to be counted in the national census

1973  Naturalisation ceremonies replaced with citizenship ceremonies

1984  The Australian National Anthem proclaimed, based of the words and tune of Advance Australia Fair

1986  Australia Day citizenship ceremony first held in this place

1988  The golden wattle proclaimed Australia`national floral emblem

1993  Australian citizenship pledge replaced the oath and affirmation of allegiance

1999  Australian citizenship affirmation ceremonies introduced

2001  Australian Citizenship Day (17 September) introduced

2007  Australian Citizenship Act 2007 replaced the Australian Citizenship Act 1948, introducing landmark legislative changes

2009  Citizenship Place was officially opened by Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC Governor-General of Australia in the presence of the Hon Kevin Rudd MP Prime Minister of Australia Day 26 January in recognition of the 60th anniversary of  Australian citizenship 

In recognition of the invaluable contribution made by the Committee members and supporters of Australia Day in the National Capital Inc, to the citizenship ceremonies held in this place from 1986 to 2006 and the realisation of Citizenship Place


Source: MA,NC
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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