It is possibly one of the most valuable documents we have, because without a birth certificate we have no proof of identity, we cannot obtain a driver's or marriage licence, a passport or even a bank account.
It is hard to comprehend during the 21st century there are thousands of Australians who do not have a birth certificate.
John Garrick was born John Gavriloff 72 years ago in post war Japan while his Australian parents were working in Kure City serving with the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces.
But John's birth was never officially recorded, and it would seem Kure General Hospital where he was born on February 4, 1949 did not keep records of foreign births.
Instead he was issued with an Interim Certificate of Registration of a Birth in Japan of a Child to a Member of the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces complete with all the required details, parents names and occupation and when are where they were married.
Until recently this official document had enabled the part-time Smiths Lake resident to marry obtain a passport, a driver's licence and prove his identity.
But, as the world begins to 'shrink' and the country becomes more security conscious, John's interim birth certificate is no longer considered a legal document.
John decided to begin the process of obtaining an Australian birth certificate three years ago after being rejected for a range of services many of us take for granted, simply because he couldn't produce an Australian version.
It appears that from all research and hours of time, expensive calls to a friend in Japan that I am 'The Australian who wasn't born'.- John Garrick
His frustration came to a head when he was knocked back by a COVID-19 vaccination centre - his Australian Citizen Act 1948-1973 birth registration was not proof enough.
What would normally be a simple online task, for a payment around $60, has cost John an enormous amount of time, exasperation and disappointment.
Simply, he just can't get a birth certificate.
To add to John's woes, his Russian-born dad Alex decided to change the family name to Garrick on their return to Australia in 1951.
He explained Alex, who was a white Russian, changed the family name to avoid persecution; he escaped Stalin's Russia in the early 1920s.
Alex migrated to Australia from Vladivostock, and worked with the Department of Health before joining the RAAF serving as a flight lieutenant.
In his bid to secure the precious piece of paper, John has exhausted all known avenues - NSW Births Deaths and Marriages, Royal Australian Air Force, Department of Defence, Department of Veterans' Affairs, Japanese Embassy, Australian Embassy, Tokyo, National Archives of Australia, Twakuni City Council and the Attorney's General's Department - with no they can't help.
"There are no other channels I can turn to," he said.
"It appears that from all research and hours of time, expensive calls to a friend in Japan that I am 'The Australian who wasn't born'
"This journey has eaten up a great deal of time and cause great anxiety and frustration to say the least, all for nothing."
NSW Births Deaths and Marriages has told John his request is a 'case in progress'.
In the meantime, John continues to sit tight and hope that one day soon he will be officially recognised as an Australian citizen.
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