Jonkers make Australia their home
By RODNEY STEVENS
NAMIBIA and Australia are world's apart on almost every level, but her homeland was in the back of Hanli Jonker's mind at her naturalisation ceremony held yesterday.
The ceremony at McAuley Catholic College in front of more than 500 students, teachers and family friends was conducted at the school's morning assembly and officiated by Clarence Valley Mayor Ian Tiley.
Hanli Jonker said the naturalisation ceremony with her husband Stephen was conducted at the school assembly as she wanted the students to share in the celebration and appreciate what they had in their citizenship.
"Australian students are very privileged, although they may not realise it," she said.
A McAuley College mathematics teacher, she arrived in Australia four and a half years ago with her husband, Stephen, a minister at a South Graf- ton church.
They came to our shores after receiving an offer to teach at the Cooloola Christian College near Gympie in Queensland.
A graduate of the University of Pretoria, Hanli has worked with children in her native Africa and Australia and said, children were much the same all over the world.
"They all have the same needs," she said.
She was previously a resident of Walvis Bay, Namibia, a place that has been in world news recently following the birth of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's child Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt last month.
After spending her early years in the Transvaal region of South Africa ? and her husband Stephen growing up in South Africa ? the Jonker's will always have fond memories of their homeland.
"We will visit Africa often but will not return to live," she said.
Mr Jonker said he was committed to the duties of citizenship and would enjoy the privilege of be- ing Australian citizens.