Every 17 September, Australia celebrates Citizenship Day. The commemoration was instituted in 2001, with this date because it is the anniversary of the renaming of the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948 to the Australian Citizenship Act 1948.

In January 1955 my grandfather, Hans Boltz, on behalf of the Good Neighbour Council, attended the sixth Australian Citizenship Convention. The Good Neighbour Movement was established by the Australian government in 1949 to help migrants settle into the Australian way of life. Volunteers welcomed migrants into the local community, introduced them to schools, health centres, banks and shops, and gave advice on learning English.

CANBERRA DELEGATES TO CONVENTION. (1955, January 28). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995), p. 2. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article91202771. Hans Boltz is in the front row at the right.

The sixth Australian Citizenship Convention was held in Canberra at the Albert Hall. Harold Hold, then Minister for Immigration, addressed the convention. Holt forecast that Australia would have a population of twenty million by 1980. In fact the population of Australia in 1980 was only 14.5 million. It reached 20 million in 2005, fifty years after the conference. Among recommendations from the conference was a call for for legislative change to make applying for naturalisation simpler.

The Good Neighbour Council had welcomed Hans Boltz as a citizen following his naturalisation on 29 September 1954. This was just four months before the conference

As part of the application process in 1954, my grandparents needed to advertise their intention of applying for citizenship.

Classified Advertising. (1954, August 5). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995), p. 3. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2902928
Naturalisation For 22 Migrants To-day. (1954, September 29). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995), p. 6. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2921372
Migrants Welcomed At Naturalisation. (1954, September 30). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995), p. 4. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2904236

My grandmother was naturalised later in the same year.

NATURALISATION THIS AFTERNOON. (1954, December 14). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995), p. 2. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2906178

Sixteen Migrants Naturalised In A.C.T. Ceremony. (1954, December 15). The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 – 1995), p. 2. Retrieved September 15, 2014, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article2904377

The last article mentions 78 people naturalised in Canberra in 1954. In Australia 4,440 naturalisation certificates were granted in 1954. Of these, 225 were to those who were previously of German nationality.

Australian Bureau of Statistics Year book Australia. ABS, Canberra, 1956. Page 620.

More than 4.5 million people have become citizens since Australian citizenship was introduced in 1949. (“Facts and Statistics.” Australian Citizenship. Australian Customs and Border Protection Service, 15 Sept. 2014. Web. 15 Sept. 2014. <http://www.citizenship.gov.au/learn/facts-and-stats/>.)

Related post: Australia Day: Climbing our family’s gum tree