Australia Day – when life changes

AUSTRALIA DAY 18-1-17 In Melton, brothers Albert 13 and James 16 celebrate Australia Day. Pic Dennis Manktelow

For brothers Albert and Jamel, this Australia Day will symbolise new hope, new lives and opportunities.

The pair weren’t born in Australia, but Australia was born in them after they arrived from the Philippines with limited English, a textbook understanding of the land down-under, and big dreams.

But Albert and Jamel also symbolise what it means to be Australian – two young boys who’ve fallen in love with footy, meat pies and Aussie beaches.

Jamel, 16, is in year 11 this year and hopes to study medicine. Albert, 13, is still at the start of his high school journey, unsure where life will take him. But he knows one thing for sure – his mates make life here much easier.

Jamel, Albert and their parents get their Australian citizenship certificates on Thursday. Mum Marie Quinto says the day will be life-changing.

“It means we can stay here forever, my kids can have the same opportunities as other Australian kids, and we can travel freely around the world without visas.

“We’ve been accepted in this country and we feel like we finally belong in the community.”

Melton council’s Australia Day celebrations kick off at 9.30am at the Willows Historical Park, while Moorabool council’s celebrations run from 8-11am at 207 Main Street, Bacchus Marsh.