Prime Minister Scott Morrison has spoken of his family's centuries-old ties to Australia Day, telling some of the country's newest citizens of how his fifth-great-grandparents arrived in Australia as convicts.
Speaking at the national flag-raising and citizenship ceremony in Canberra on Saturday, Mr Morrison spoke of the more than 60,000 years of Aboriginal culture and history.
He then moved on to what he called "the next great chapter" in Australia's history, which began 231 years ago with the arrival of the First Fleet.
"It wasn't a great day for my fifth-great-grandfather, William Roberts," Mr Morrison said.
"Bunkered down in the light-starved bowels of the Scarborough with 207 other convicts, he had arrived in Port Jackson after a long and treacherous voyage from Portsmouth.
"He was transported for stealing five-and-a-half-pound of yarn valued at nine shillings.
"It was January 26, 1788. It was a new beginning for him, but it would have seemed a particularly grim one at the time and life was indeed about to get a lot tougher."
Mr Morrison said his ancestor was sick, poor and destitute as he was "thrust into an unknown place and an unknown future".
When the Second Fleet arrived in Australia, on the Neptune was Kezia Brown, a gardeners' labourer convicted of stealing clothing who would become Mr Morrison's fifth-great-grandmother.
The Neptune was carrying 78 female convicts, some of whom had children, and about 420 men. More than one-quarter of them died during the voyage and a further 124 were sick and died after landing in Sydney.
"The Reverend Richard Johnson reported the misery of the scene of their arrival as indescribable ... their heads, bodies, clothes, blankets, were all full of lice," Mr Morrison told Saturday morning's citizenship ceremony.
"They were wretched, naked, filthy, dirty, lousy, and many of them utterly unable to stand, or even to stir hand or foot.
"These were very humble and the worst of beginnings."
But those beginnings led Roberts and Brown to meet and to marry two years later in Sydney, where they started a family that would eventually include the Prime Minister.
Mr Morrison said his family's tale was just one that showed the opportunities Australia gave those who moved here from overseas.
"The wonder of our country is that out of such hardship and cruelties would emerge a nation as decent, so fair and so prosperous as ours today," he said.
"That is what we celebrate."
Addressing the 28 people who were about to make the pledge to become Australian citizens at Commonwealth Park in Canberra, Mr Morrison said they now had the chance to be "part of this great story of Australia".
"I am glad William and Kezia made the journey, and I’m glad you have too," he told the new citizens.
"Welcome. Happy Australia Day."
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