25th May 2016
When you've travelled the world and seen the sights on almost every foreign shore, deciding to finally settle down and make your home in the Whitsundays is a pretty bold testament to the region's beauty and charm.
That's just what the Summerton family have done after celebrating their official citizenship ceremony at the Proserpine Entertainment Centre this week. Emigrating from South Africa, Sharon and Simon Summerton sold off their business and almost everything they owned, packed up their lives and their three children to sail the world in a 50 foot catamaran.
The family of five were among 22 residents who became Australian citizens at the Whitsunday ceremony, with the couple and their three children waiting for a year for this moment to finally arrive. Leaving their home in South Africa, the couple sold their yachting business and set sail with their children aged 11, nine and six.
Concerned by the amount of crime in South Africa, the Summertons set their sights on the safety and opportunity that Australia promised. While waiting for their visa to be approved, the family spend a year travelling the world. Sailing across the Atlantic, they visited the Caribbean and Panama, as far as Tahiti and the Galapagos before making their way to Australia via Tonga and Fiji.
Having spent a total of nine years working towards their new life in Australia, the family were excited to officially become Australian citizens. Arriving in 2011, the youngest was just two years of age, and often confuses his birthplace thinking he was in fact born in Australia. Despite their incredible and extensive travels, the family are still happy to call Australia home.
Mrs Summerton was elated at the ceremony held earlier in the week, with her excitement and nerves reminding her of the same emotions she felt on her wedding day. The family is pleased to settle into life on land and enjoys the beauty and tranquillity of the Whitsundays, knowing that a seaward adventure is never too far away.