To celebrate Australia Day, 17,059 people from 145 nations took their citizenship oath as Australians on Saturday. Among them is British actress Miriam Margolyes, best known for her role as Professor Pomona Sprout in the Harry Potter series.
She came out in two out of the seven blockbuster Harry Potter movies, but her character actually came out in five of the seven books.
She moved to Australia in the 1980s and she currently resides in the Southern Highlands.
Ms Margolyes told Australia News that she is a bit nervous about her taking her citizenship because she is afraid of making mistakes. She explained that she took long in acquiring Aussie citizenship because she wasn't sure during her early years in Australia, but she pointed out "And now I am."
The actress, who admitted being a lesbian, said she moved to Australia because she fell in love with an Aussie woman. She took her citizenship oath before Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who also administered the oath of citizenship to another British-born actor, Ian Mears.
Ms Margolyes was also known for her performance in Romeo and Juliet and Blackladder. To show her support for her local community, she launched a one-woman show to boost the cultural programme of Clapham Omnibus, which advocates the saving of the local library building and to create a vibrant arts venue when the library moves. Here is a video clip of her performance.
Only 22 immigrants were personally welcomed as new citizens by Ms Gillard in a ceremony held on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra. The rite opened with the raising of three flag, a Royal Australian Air Force flyover and a 21-gun salute.
"This is your new country, and you'll never want for another . . . Whether yours was a flight across the Tasman that lasted hours or a flight from persecution that lasted years, those journeys measured in time and distance are over now. A new journey, a journey of the heart and spirit can begin," Ms Gillard said.
Oaths of citizenship were administered across Australia. Opposition leader Tony Abbott participated in the rites in Adelaide at the Flenelg foreshore, while 3,800 people participated in New South Wales in ceremonies led by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
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