A Fairytale for Australia Day

There are many reasons to become an Australian. We would like to share with you just one, because it is close to our hearts, close to Coffs Harbour and close to being a perfect fairy tale love story.

Mylchie and the Three Boys: Not Too Busy, Not Too Quiet, Just Right

Love will be in the area when Mylchie Avila stands to pledge her commitment to Australia this Australia Day, cheered on by her three boys: husband and Coastbeat crew member, Zac Robinson, and their two young children.

Mylchie Ann Avila on her wedding day
Mylchie celebrating with her Coffs Harbour neighbours, friends and family

It’s a classic story of a holiday romance that lasted, becoming a love affair with a new family, a new country and a new town.

Mylchie is from Cebu in the Philippines, where she enjoyed a fulfilling career and a rich social life, in a country where, Mylchie says, ‘camaraderie is very big’. Then her Aussie cousin came to visit, bringing with him his schoolmate Zac, and everything changed. Here at Coastbeat we are familiar with Zac’s charm and determination, so we could have warned her if we’d known…but we don’t think Mylchie minds, although it took a few goes to find a place that could compare to her own Filipino paradise.

A Fairytale for Australia Day
A young Mylchie in Cebu, Philippines

‘It was difficult at first,’ Mylchie explains over the phone, in a small break from her youngest boy, who is being weaned at the moment and not sounding happy about it. ‘Sydney is so different – no connection and rush, rush, rush all the time. Then we moved to a rural town and that was too quiet. But Coffs Harbour is just right.’

Just like a fairytale.

A Fairytale for Australia Day
Mylchie and family at their local business, Cornerstore Frances & Long

We asked Mylchie why gaining Australian citizenship is important to her.

‘It is important to give me more of a sense of belonging. I become a part of Australian society: I have a say, I can vote, and there are more opportunities for the kids. Citizenship represents freedom and security. And no more paperwork!’

How do you manage living with two different cultures?

‘As I grew up in the Philippines, that culture is ingrained in me. Now I am slowly immersing myself in Australian culture by participating in every opportunity. The sense of community here in Coffs is much more like my village.’

A Fairytale for Australia Day
Mylchie as a child with her beloved family in Barangay Kamagayan, Cebu City, Philippines.

What does she love about Coffs Harbour?

‘The beach, the easy-going way of life. And my garden. I love to have the outdoors lifestyle.’

To get to know more people, Mylchie has joined a local netball team, a classic Australian sport, where she plays wing defence. She and Zac also own Cornerstore Frances & Long and a coffee cart, Tin Donkey, which she runs while Zac is at the Coastbeat office.

A Fairytale for Australia Day
You will find Mylchie enjoying one of the many beaches on the North Coast

What does she expect of the citizenship ceremony?

‘An enjoyable day, some socialising and a delicious high tea!’

And as an Australian in the future?

‘I am looking forward to being able to self-actualise and make the most of the opportunities and my full abilities, to be the best version of myself that I can.’

That sounds like a happily ever after.

A Fairytale for Australia Day
Mylchie and her adopted Australian Family

This year’s Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony will once again take place at the North Coast Regional Botanic Garden in Hardacre Street.

More than 16,000 people from over 150 nations have been invited to become citizens, at one of more than 400 ceremonies being held across the country on Australia Day 2022.

Here at Coffs Harbour we will welcome 88 new Aussies from 25 countries.

The ceremonies will begin at 8.30am. In addition, there will be light music, face-painting and a clay workshop for children with Gumbaynggirr artist Tony Hart.