Like many new Australians, Jesse Hunter from Warrington in England chose Australia Day to become an Australian citizen.
One of approximately 16,000 new Australians to have citizenship conferred on the 26th of January, it was special for Jesse because she attended a ceremony of her own onboard a Royal Australian Navy warship.
Jesse received her Australian Citizenship from the Governor of New South Wales, His Excellency General, The Honourable David Hurley AC, DSC (Ret’d) onboard the flagship of the Australian Fleet, HMAS Canberra in Sydney Harbour.
“The Royal Australian Navy is the whole reason we are here living in Australia, so to have an opportunity such as this, to have my citizenship conferred in HMAS Canberra, with my husband and daughter, on Australia Day is an incredible honour,” she said.
Jesse, and her husband Chief Petty Officer Aviation Support Lee Hunter, immigrated to Australia in August 2013.
A participant in the Royal Australian Navy’s lateral recruitment program, Chief Hunter transferred from the Royal Navy where he spent 13 years as an Aircraft Handler.
He joined the Royal Navy in January 2001 and conducted postings on Invincible-class HMS Ark Royal and as an Aircraft Crash Rescue Specialist at RNAS Culdrose and Yeovilton.
“The career opportunities offered by the Royal Australian Navy were enticing,” he said.
“I always loved the way of life, the sport, the scenery and the people.
“The future of the Royal Australian Navy is very exciting with new capabilities continuously being developed – I wanted to be a part of it.”
The family first settled in Nowra, where Chief Petty Officer Hunter carried out his duties at the HMAS Albatross Training Authority. He is now a valued member of HMAS Canberra’s Ship’s Aviation Department.
“The team I’m in is the epitome of mateship,” he said.
“I had heard about the ‘true blue’ Australians who give it a go, and the welcome we received as a family is something we have never experienced.”
Jesse began her Australian career working as an early childhood educator whilst continuing the teaching degree she began in the UK.
She graduated with a Bachelor of Teaching (birth to five) in December 2017 from Charles Sturt University and secured an internship with the Child Life and Music Therapy department at The Children’s Hospital Westmead.
She also works as an assistant to children and families in the oncology treatment centre.
“The role means I can help children learn and develop coping strategies in the hospital environment,” said Jesse.
“I hope to complete this successfully so I can give back a little of what we received from this wonderful country.
“And perhaps one day teach voluntarily in rural parts of Australia.”