Armidale Regional Council was pleased to present 28 people, hailing from 16 different countries, with Australian Citizenship on Australia Day.
The ceremony was an important part of the program at the invitation-only Australia Day Award event held in the Armidale City Bowling Club.
During his Welcome to Country, Australia Day Ambassador and proud Anawan elder Steve Widders said that his people had been welcoming newcomers for thousands of years.
"The Welcome to Country is done in a spirit of goodwill, the spirit of friendship, the spirit of cooperation, and the spirit of understanding," Mr Widders said.
"It is not just a tokenistic gesture; it is one that has been practised for thousands of years by my elders and my ancestor when other people from other countries come to our land.
"We do that as a courtesy to other people and as part of our culture and the importance of other people in our lives. It's been done when people from the coast have gone to the plains and come through here, or people to the north of us go to the plains and come through here."
Australia has been a multicultural country for thousands of years, not just since 1770 Mr Widders said.
"Aboriginal people have lived here in more than 300 different Aboriginal countries that all speak different languages - in fact, there are more Aboriginal countries in Australia than there are countries in the whole world," he said.
"I want to recognise you and the countries you came from: Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, France, Hong Kong, India, Iraq, Kuwait, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States of America and Zimbabwe.
"Welcome, and respect the land that we're on.
"You've chosen to come to this country, and you'll love this country just as we do.
"I am proud as an Australian to be part of a community that can welcome newcomers and accept your culture and help you with our culture.
"That is part of being Australian - to accept our differences but recognise our similarities as well."
Former Ukrainian Elvira Kremlova and her son George have been in Armidale for the last two years, and in Australia for the last six.
"Australia is the safest country to live in," Ms Kremlova said.
"People here do not realise how lucky they are. I have travelled a lot, and this is a beautiful country with a lot of opportunities."
Marie Augustin has lived in Armidale for the last eight years after moving here from France to complete her International Business Masters Degree at the University of New England.
While studying, she met her future husband, Chris Sabathie (also from France) and the couple now have an Australian born daughter.
"I love this country, and I felt it was important to finalise the process of permanent residency," Ms Augustin said.
"Australia has the democratic beliefs that I respect and love. Being able to be called a citizen gives me great pride.
"To me, being Australian is being surrounded by friends and the family I have built here - it is just this amazing culture of being one for each other. I just love the smile on everyone's face."
The Joel family moved to Armidale five years ago from India while Mrs Joel obtained her Masters Degree at the University of New England.
They have enjoyed their time here but intend to move to Newcastle to be closer to the John Hunter Hospital for their baby son who needs to see a specialist weekly.
The Qasim family have been in Armidale for eight years and say they will definitely be staying. Originally from Iraq, Deeman Qasim brought his family here to take up a job as a senior technical officer at the University of New England.
"Australia is a safe place and a great place to live - it is so far away from troubles," he said.
The Chowdhury family came from Bangladesh to Armidale, and although Mr Chowdhury trained as an engineer, he and his wife are both working in aged care at Bupa.
They say they love Armidale and are delighted to be staying here with their two daughters and soon-to-be-born baby.
The Hafeez family came from Pakistan and have been in Armidale for five years after Mr Hafeez finished studying in Melbourne.
"Australia is a better country to raise a family in," Mr Hafeez said.