There were emotional scenes at Thangool Airport as Priya, Nades, Kopika and Tharnicaa set foot onto Biloela soil. Priya fell to the floor, sobbing, arms up in the air, thanking God she was home.
The Nadesalingam family arrived home in Biloela on Friday afternoon. Source: SBS News
Priya and Nades took their time tightly embracing their loved ones who have been in their corner for the last four years during their time in detention.
Jayne Centurian waited at the airport to welcome the family home. Source: SBS News / Rayane Tamer
“Me and my family is very happy,” Priya told reporters on Friday.
Marie Austin has been a long time supporter of the Nadesalingam family. Source: SBS News / Rayane Tamer
Under the previous Coalition government, the family had been on bridging visas in community detention in Perth, but not allowed to return to Bioela.
“The overwhelming feeling I have is relief really,” he told SBS News.
The Tamil asylum seeker family, who are also known as the Murugappans, settled in Biloela in 2014, living there for four years before the dawn raid over their expired visas precipitated four years in immigration detention, including time spent at the Christmas Island detention facility.
Once in Biloela (from 2014), the family embedded themselves in the community, getting to know residents and participating in English-language classes. Nades worked at the local abattoir.
“I think there is going to be a long healing process, but they will be surrounded by people who love them.”
Mixed feelings in Biloela community, resident says
“I think the people that were anti (the family returning) were anti in the beginning. The people who were passionate about their return remained so.”
“I’ve heard some second-hand stories. And from what I’ve heard, it sounds like they’ve sort of tried to come to Australia and didn’t really do it through legit reasons. If they want to come across, that’s fine, just do it the right way. Because what about the people who still are in the bloody camps waiting to come to Australia?”
With the family’s legal options exhausted, a decision on the issue of permanent visas would need to come from the immigration minister or home affairs minister.