Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Avenel welcomes new citizen

Avenel celebrated Australia Day with a special ceremony when Bjorn Sven Wettstein officially became the region's newest citizen

JENNA BISHOP January 30, 2014 4:18am

People enjoyed celebrations at Avenel's Jubilee Park for Australia Day.


It was a special double celebration at Australia Day festivities on Sunday as Avenel welcomed its newest Australian citizen.

Switzerland national Bjorn Sven Wettstein officially became an Australian citizen after he completed the ceremony conducted by Strathbogie Shire Mayor Deb Swan.

Mr Wettstein said it was difficult to pinpoint just one reason why he loved Australia.

‘‘What don’t I love about Australia — there’s nothing I don’t love,’’ he said.

Mr Wettstein has lived in Avenel for two-and-a-half years after relocating with his wife from Melbourne.

His love for Australia first began after visiting Australia as a tennis umpire in the 2004 Australian Open, where he met his future wife, who worked at the service department where he was staying.

After a brief stint in Switzerland, the couple moved back to Australia.

Mr Wettstein said it was fitting to receive his certificate of citizenship at Jubilee Park, opposite Avenel’s tennis courts, bringing his tennis journey full circle.

He said he planned to celebrate his first Australia Day as a citizen with a traditional barbecue.

The celebrations also recognised a number of people who had made significant contributions to the community.

Deanna Wilson was awarded Citizen of the Year for her tireless community work and presence on many boards and committees across the region.

Young Citizen of the Year Lauren Reece was acknowledged for her work with Avenel Market and for her student leadership role as a house captain at Seymour College.

Avenel Primary School Year 6 student Tom Garner was awarded Junior Citizen of the Year for petitioning to get a skateboarding park in the town with the help of friends and family.

The Avenel 175th Celebrations Committee were also recognised with the Community Award.

Tom and the Avenel 175th Anniversary Steering Committee were also awarded for their respective categories in the Strathbogie Shire awards.

Ms Swan congratulated award recipients and said people were one of the reasons Avenel was a growing, successful town.

‘‘Certainly, communities aren’t buildings, communities are the people in them and the effort that goes in from those people makes it wonderful,’’ she said.

Attendees at the Avenel event were entertained by speaker Amanda Tingay, with music by Lynn Bullen and an address by Avenel’s Australia Day ambassador Lindy Allen.

A morning tea followed the ceremonies, and people looked through a historical display at the Courthouse.

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