An Irish-born carpenter has taken his Australian Citizenship Pledge at the nation’s remotest and coolest outpost — Antarctica!
Michael Keating Kearney is an expeditioner at Australia’s Casey research station, 3500 kilometres south of Tasmania.
A special Australian Citizenship ceremony for Mr Keating Kearney was held this week with the station’s current population of 78 people attending.
“I feel honoured to become an Australian citizen in such a unique and beautiful place, with an inspiring and dedicated bunch of expeditioners,” Mr Keating Kearney said.
The ceremony was conducted by Deputy Station Leader Justin Ross and was held outside on an overcast day, with temperatures hovering around zero degrees.
“This is my first citizenship ceremony, so I was understandably a little nervous, but I am immensely proud to have this opportunity to be the presiding officer for Michael’s special day,” Mr Ross said.
“It was pretty surreal to bestow this honour against a backdrop of icebergs bobbing around in Newcomb Bay,” Mr Ross said.
Mr Keating Kearney moved to Australia from Limerick about 9 years ago and settled in Sydney.
“I came to Australia because Kirsten, my girlfriend at the time, now wife, had been living in Ireland with me and returned to Australia,” Mr Keating Kearney said.
“Ireland was still suffering from a recession, so I took the chance to follow her and move to a country with greater opportunities.
“What I like about Australia is the camaraderie of its people. When someone needs help, people just dig in and help out — no questions asked. Aussies always have each other’s backs.”
Australia Day is celebrated at all of Australia’s Antarctic stations, Casey, Davis, Mawson and on the sub-Antarctic Macquarie Island with a traditional barbecue, game of cricket and for the brave, a very quick swim in the icy waters.