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History of Australian Citizenship

Source: AAP

Australia has been an independent nation for more than 118 years, but citizenship in this country is a much newer concept. So in the lead up to the 70th anniversary of Australian citizenship [[January 26]], SBS takes a look at how and why it was introduced. Australia officially became the Commonwealth of Australia on the 1st of January 1901, when the British Parliament passed legislation allowing the six Australian colonies to govern in their own right as an independent country. But it wasn't until the 26th of January 1949 -- almost five decades later and after two World Wars and a Great Depression -- that people living in Australia could officially be known as Australian citizens. Seven men from Czechoslovakia, Spain, Denmark, Greece, France, Yugoslavia, and Norway were the first people to gain citizenship.In a ceremony on February the 3rd 1949 in front of then-Prime Minister Ben Chifley, the men renounced their old citizenship and swore an oath as new Australians.

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