Edson Oritz, a migrant from Brazil, will become an Australian Citizen on Australia Day.

Proud … Edson Ortiz. Photo: James Brickwood

SINCE he was 12 years old, Brazilian Edson Ortiz dreamt of coming to Australia to go on wild adventures with crocodiles and kangaroos. He finally arrived 14 years later, but it was not what he expected.

So strong was his desire, in 1998 Mr Ortiz left his partner, Andrea, and daughter for six months to try to start a business and a new life for his family.

"My main goal was to organise a connection between Brazil and Australia in eco-tourism. I thought I could take people trekking to the bush and to see kangaroos. That was my passion," Mr Ortiz said.

But instead of running his own business, he found himself delivering pizzas. "Once I was here, the reality was different. I didn't have enough money. I couldn't speak any English," he said. At one point, in 1999, he was sleeping in the car with his family: "I thought about going back a lot of times."

Despite the difficulties, Mr Ortiz decided to stay. On Saturday, Mr Ortiz, 41, became a proud Australian citizen along with his three children Nicole, 15, Thiago, 8, and Rafael, 6.

"I wasn't happy with my country because of the corruption … It was difficult but now I can guarantee I will give a good future to my kids," he said.