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Monday, March 4, 2024

Bankstown’s oldest citizen joins the fold

After being forced to flee her war-torn country, 94-year-old Ghazala Al-Hannoodiee is believed to be one of the oldest residents of Canterbury-Bankstown to receive Australian citizenship.

The Yagoona resident says she was elated to officially call Australia home after taking the oath at a citizenship ceremony last week.

Ms Al-Hannoodiee settled in Yagoona with her family after fleeing Iraq four years ago, and now enjoys a peaceful life with her children and grandchildren.

Her son, Zaid Al-Hanoody, said at the age of 94, Ms Hannoodiee is becoming an Australian Citizen “for safety and because it is a good country with good people.”

“She’s excited because it’s a good country with good weather like back in Iraq,” he said.

“Australia is a welcoming country that is accepting of every race and religion. It’s a lovely country.”

Ms Al-Hannoodiee was among 130 residents from across the globe who were sworn in by Canterbury-Bankstown Mayor Bilal El-Hayek at the Bryan Brown Theatre.

Mayor El-Hayek said each new citizen adds to the melting pot of cultures and traditions that is our City.

“With every new citizen, our city is richer and stronger,” Mayor El-Hayek said.

According to the 2021 Census data, 59 per cent of Canterbury-Bankstown residents speak a language other than English at home and around 45 per cent came to our City from another country.

This year alone, City of Canterbury Bankstown has sworn in 3,100 new citizens from 52 different countries.

“I feel immensely proud to help our new citizens, from all walks of life, take the pledge and call our wonderful country home,” Mayor El-Hayek said.

“I wish our new citizens every success for the future and can’t wait to see the contributions they make to our City.”

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