Sixtieth Anniversary of Australian Citizenship

24 January 2009

Australian citizenship was introduced in 1949 following the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948. Before this time most Australian residents were British subjects.

The first citizenship ceremony was at Albert Hall, Canberra, on 3 February 1949. Seven men from Czechoslovakia, Denmark, France, Greece, Norway, Spain and Yugoslavia became citizens – one to represent each state and the ACT.

In 1949, almost 2500 people from more than 35 countries became Australian citizens. Most were from Italy, Poland, Greece, Germany and Yugoslavia.

Key Facts:

Events and commemorations

The 60th anniversary will be launched at the Australia Day citizenship ceremony at Regatta Point in Canberra.

Commemorations throughout the year will include:

Citizenship today

More than 120 000 people from more than 200 countries became Australian citizens in 2007-08:

New South Wales - 45 000
Victoria- 30 700
Queensland- 17 400
Western Australia- 17 000
South Australia- 6300
Australian Capital Territory - 2500
Tasmania- 900
Northern Territory- 600

Most were from the United Kingdom, India, China, New Zealand and South Africa.