When asked which rugby team he supports, Jerrabomberra resident Ken Robertson provides a strange answer for a man born in South Africa and soon to be a citizen of Australia.
“I’ve actually always supported the All Blacks,” Mr Robertson said.
“I probably shouldn’t say that. I used to receive lots of stick for it in South Africa too.”
Mr Robertson, his daughter Mika, 11, and son Kris, 8, will be three of the 22 people becoming Australian citizens in Queanbeyan on Australia Day this year.
Mrs Robertson is also in the process of becoming a citizen but is slightly behind her husband and children having originally arrived a few months later.
Sitting in Town Park for this interview, Mr Robertson marvels at how clean and tidy it is and how safe his family feel here compared to their former home in Johannesburg.
“You can be so much more alive here than what we were there,” he said.
There are also plenty of practical benefits as Mr Robertson learned when he got his driver’s licence in about 20 minutes here, compared to six to eight months in Johannesburg.
Mr and Mrs Robertson had been hoping to migrate to Australia from more than 10 years ago, before they had children, but the global financial crisis made it more difficult. Once Mika and Kris were born however, they were more determined than ever to make the move.
“The move was basically for the children’s futures, the education system is so much better here,” Mr Robertson said.
“The quality of life and future that they’ve got in this country compared to where they would have been in South Africa is way better.
Mr Robertson said he was excited to participate in the Australia Day ceremony, something his wife was disappointed to miss.
Mr Robertson decided to uproot his life and travel thousands of kilometres for this country, his description of it shows why.
“I think Australians are passionate about what they do, in their sport, in education.”
“It’s a nation on the rise. It’s just a special place.
“Being an Australian after Friday, it’s going to be even better.”