New Australian Citizens Afrel Newman, John Libiran, Rowena Innes and Jinapat Munro. Photo: Adam Daunt
New Australian Citizens Afrel Newman, John Libiran, Rowena Innes and Jinapat Munro. Photo: Adam Daunt

Coraki celebrates Australia Day in fair dinkum style

The Coraki community came out in their droves to celebrate in Australia Day and partake in celebrations to welcome new citizens and recognise existing ones.

Richmond Valley Council’s celebrations welcomed four new citizens to Australia while awards were also given out for Citizen of the Year, Young Sportsperson of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.

Rowena Innes, Jinapat Munro, Afrel Newman and her son John Libiran were presented with their Australian Citizenships.

Afrel Newman and her son, John Libiran after getting their Australian Citizenship. Photo: Adam Daunt
Afrel Newman and her son, John Libiran after getting their Australian Citizenship. Photo: Adam Daunt

Afrel Newman and her son John Libiran have been in Casino for seven years after immigrating from the Philippines.

Mrs Newman said she felt honoured to have received her citizenship at Tuesday’s ceremony at Coraki Memorial Park.

“”(We’re) really excited … it’s quite emotional too,” she said

“(After this) we’re going out to have lunch at Evans Head.”

Paul Bengtson won Citizen of the Year while Stuart Holm was recognised as Volunteer of the Year and Lachlan Coe was recognised as Young Sportsperson of the Year.

Mr Bengtson has given 15 years of service to community organisations including the Casino Men’s Shed, Casino Legacy and St Mary’s Parish Parents and Friends Association.

Mr Holm has volunteered for the local SES for two years and gave many hours to the community during the 2019-2020 bushfires.

Coe was recognised for his achievements in softball and baseball which saw him recognised at national level last year.

Award winners Lachlan Coe, Paul Bengtson and Stuart Holm plus award nominees Sky-Maree Oldham, Ella Keep, Connor Turner, Paul Cowles, Michelle Pagotto, Trish Brims and Gwendolyn Gray. Photo: Adam Daunt
Award winners Lachlan Coe, Paul Bengtson and Stuart Holm plus award nominees Sky-Maree Oldham, Ella Keep, Connor Turner, Paul Cowles, Michelle Pagotto, Trish Brims and Gwendolyn Gray. Photo: Adam Daunt

Page MP Kevin Hogan attended the celebrations and said it was terrific to be able to see a community come together in Coraki.

“I don’t think there’s a better country to be in, in the world right now than Australia and that’s significant given the world is in a global pandemic,” he said.

“I love Australia Day, the two important aspects for me are we are welcoming new citizens … and we’re acknowledging the volunteers and also the people who inspire us … I view it as a wonderful celebration.”


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