International Links and Sister Cities

Overview

The Sister City program started in the USA in 1956. Today, Australian cities and towns have over 500 sister city affiliations throughout the world with the number increasing every year.

We have 4 Sister City partnerships and an agreement with the League of Cities, Philippines.

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Our relationships

Porirua City, New Zealand

  • partner since 1984

  • is situated on the west coast of the North Island, just north of Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city

  • the City has approximately 54,100 residents and offers a variety of water sports, plus numerous cycle ways and walkways.

Suseong-Gu, Daegu City, Republic of Korea

  • partner since 1994

  • is situated on the south-east of the Korean Peninsula 300 kilometres from the capital city of Seoul.

  • the city has approximately 460,000 residents and occupies an area of around 76.47km.

Liaocheng City, Shandong Province, Peoples Republic of China

  • partner since 2003

  • is situated about 400 kilometres south of Beijing and is known as the ‘Water City’

  • over 1.2m people live in its metropolitan area

  • is a State Level historical and cultural city with 2,500 years of history.

Liverpool Plains Shire Council, NSW

  • partner since 2005

  • is situated 360 kilometres from Blacktown in the North West of NSW

  • has a population of over 7,000 people and is primarily an agricultural region

  • the Council Administrative Centre is situated in Quirindi, the main town in the shire.

League of Cities of the Philippines

  • partner since 2010

  • has over 143 cities as members of the League

  • each city is represented by its Mayor.

What are we doing

Visit by delegation from Liaocheng Municipal Government

A 15-person delegation from our Chinese Sister City visited Blacktown on 14 and 15 November 2017.

This delegation was led by Mr Chen Ping, Vice Mayor Liaocheng Municipal Government and included Government officials and business representatives. The delegation also comprised a contingent led by Mr Xianjin Cai, Professor/President of Liaocheng University. 

Presentations were made by Kerry Robinson, General Manager, Nathan Burbridge, Economic Development Manager Blacktown City Council, Chen Ping and Xianjin Cai during workshop sessions on Wednesday morning.

After an inspection of the Chinese Gardens at Nurragingy Reserve, the delegation was formally received by Cr. Tony Bleasdale, Deputy Mayor Blacktown City Council in the Council Chambers.

A short visit but symbolic of the strength of the friendship that has been developed between Blacktown and Liaocheng since 2003.

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Korean flag raising 2017

Deputy Mayor Cr Tony Bleasdale hosted the Korean flag raising ceremony in the Bowman Hall on Friday, 13 October 2017. Special guests from the Consulate General of the Republic of Korea Sydney, included Ms Noh-Kyoung Kim, Chief of the Korea Local Government Centre, GAOK Oceania, Ms Inyoung Jin, Vice Consul and Ms Young Cha, Senior Manager and Specialist, International Relations Korea Local Government Centre.

The ceremony further strengthened our close connections with the Korean Consulate Sydney and the long standing association with Suseong-Gu, Daegu City our Sister Cities partner in the Republic of Korea.  

The Korean storytelling program conducted recently in the Libraries throughout our City was highlighted by the special guests.   

Principal and School Captains and Vice-Captains from Mitchell High School, Deputy Principal, staff and students from Tyndale Christian College Blacktown, members of our Sister Cities Committee, Council staff,           

Our two Youth Ambassadors, Jessica Szakacs and Maddalyn Bokenham once again officiated and spoke during the ceremony.

The ceremony included outstanding performances by a traditional Korean harpist, Ms Minjung Kim and a traditional Korean flutist, Mr Peter Lee. At the conclusion of the performances everyone sampled a wide range of excellent Korean food prepared by well-known Korean chef, Heather Jeong.  

Mayor, Cr Stephen Bali was an apology due to his attendance in the NSW Parliament as the new State Member for the seat of Blacktown. 

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Chinese flag raising 2017

We conducted our 2nd official Chinese flag raising ceremony on Wednesday 20 September 2017. This ceremony, held in the Bowman Hall acknowledged Chinese Independence Day and highlighted our Sister Cities partnership with Liaocheng City, Shandong Province, China.    

Mayor, Cr Stephen Bali and General Manager, Mr Kerry Robinson hosted Mr Li Zhi – Consul of Political Section on behalf of the Consulate General of China and Mr Wang Fanfu Director of Political Section, Chinese Consulate Sydney, members of our Sister Cities Committee, Principal and students from Mitchell High School, performers from Peiji Chinese School Blacktown, students from Nanjing Wyuhyatai High School China and Council staff.

Our two Youth Ambassadors, Jessica Szakacs and Maddalyn Bokenham officiated and spoke during the ceremony.  

The presence of students from Nanjing High School certainly added to the atmosphere of the occasion.

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Trade mission to Korea and Blacktown delegation to China and Korea

A cost effective combination of itineraries in September 2017 allowed a visit by a delegation from Blacktown to our Chinese Sister City, Liaocheng City, our Korean Sister City, Suseong-gu and attendance at the Asia Pacific Cities Summit and Mayor’s Forum in Daejeon City, Republic of Korea. Presence at the Asia Pacific Cities Summit and Mayor’s Forum enabled us an opportunity to share knowledge, network, discuss governance issues and promote our image at the international level.

The itinerary coincided with the presence of our inaugural trade mission during their 4-day business visit to South Korea. This inaugural business mission was part of our plan to grow our $15.6 billion economy and create jobs by exploring trade, investment and employment opportunities with overseas countries.

The trade mission comprised Hon. Nathan Rees, former premier of NSW as our special adviser, Nathan Burbridge, our Economic Development Strategist and trade mission project manager, our contracted Korean trade broker service provider and 10 representatives from 6 business sectors. All business and industry representatives travelled at their own cost.

Significant business connections and partnerships were developed by the trade mission in the 39 one-on-one business meetings conducted during the visit. The completion of our inaugural international trade mission is an initiative undertaken previously by only a small number of local government bodies in Australia, mainly capital cities.

The business interests and comparative advantage of delegates who participated in the trade mission remain confidential unless any participating businesses are willing to disclose details of those transactions. 

We will now seek to host a coordinated schedule of export readiness workshops and seminars for local small to medium size enterprises looking to develop their international business awareness and capability. Busy times ahead!!

Special thanks to Nathan Burbridge for his excellent work and efforts in arranging our inaugural overseas trade delegation.

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‘Hangi in the Country’

If they say that a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is priceless so have a peek at the highlights of our visit in August this year to Liverpool Plains Shire Council, our Sister Cities partner in northern NSW.

From the moment we departed on the ‘Kiwi Express’ from Central Station on Friday 4 August in our 2 special carraiges until our return on Sunday evening 6 August, it was a non-stop program of entertainment, performances and activities for the 72 person delegation, the largest ever to leave Blacktown!!

Building on the previous 2 years work, our community partnership program was expanded to include the ‘Hangi in the Country’ initiative. This project sought to promote Maori culture, music, craft, food and dance to local residents.

High profile Polynesian entertainer Jay Laga’aia was contracted in partnership with the Quirindi RSL Club to coordinate the delivery of several cultural workshops and compere the official Hangi Celebration Dinner.

A specialist New Zealand cook travlled to Quirindi to prepar the hangi using traditional methods and local produce.

The 2 Maori cultural performances and the Jay Laga’aia Show attracted over 500 people, mostly families with young children. The traditional hangi and entertainment dinner on Saturday evening attracted 230 people. No-one went away hungry!!!

Councillor Moninder Singh represented Blacktown City Council. The delegation comprised 23 community representatives, 8 members of the NSW Maori Wardens ( Blacktown-Mt Druitt), 21 Maori cultural and dance performrers, our 2 Youth Ambassadors, Sister Cities Committee members and Council staff.

Special thanks to Blacktown City Council, Liverpool Plains Shire Council Mayor, Deputy Mayor, Councillors and staff, Quirindi RSL and NSW Train Link for their support of this wonderful initiative.

Stay tuned for details about 2018 and the Youth Games which will form part of the ‘Hangi in the Country’. A big thankyou to local radio SWR99.9FM who photographed and created a video of our trip.

The video from the trip can be viewed here. 

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Years 5 and 6 International Links and Sister Cities 2017 Writing Contest

Students in years 5 or 6 who live or attend a primary school within Blacktown City, were invited to enter the writing contest during July and August 2017. In 200 words or less and using examples where possible, students were encouraged to explain how diversity, culture and friendship unite people.

The competition, now in its 3rd year was expanded in 2017 to include students in year 5. Nearly 40% of the 80 primary schools in the Blacktown LGA have now participated in the contest. Support of schools, staff, pupils, parents and/or guardians and our sponsors, Featherdale Wildlife Park and Hoyts Cinemas is acknowledged.

Highlight of this year’s competition was the presentation of awards, participation certificates and cheques by Council at individual schools. This system will certainly continue into the future as it provided a great opportunity to recognise all those involved in the contest.         

The judging panel, chaired by our 2 Youth Ambassadors and comprising members of our Sister Cities Committee certainly found it very difficult to determine the eventual winners and runners up!!

2017 writing contest award winners:

School

Year 6

Year 5

Quakers Hill East

Jaspreet Maan (winner)

Chelsea Nowak (winner)

Riverbank

Trinty Ling (winner)

Himani Bhandari (runner up)

Mujtaba Kazim (winner)

Seven Hills North

Eamon Alwakal (winner)

Seven Hills West

 

Harmandeep Singh Hothi (winner)

Tarang Kishnani (runner up)

Blacktown North

Om Prajapati (runner up)

Angelo Sayas (runner up)

Lynwood Park

 

Matilda Benton (winner)

Blacktown South

Ivanshu Patel (winner)

Layla Malik (runner up)

 

Lethbridge Park

Sienna Gardiner (winner)

Shandy Livingston (runner up)

 

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Korean story telling program

Blacktown City Council through its Libraries and the Korean Cultural Centre (KCC), Sydney combined to implement a Korean story telling program from May until October 2017. This unique program was designed for children from K-6 and delivered by KCC storytelling teachers professionally trained by a certified storytelling educator.

During the 1-hour session, participants learnt Korean children’s songs, folktales and practiced traditional Korean craft making and painting activities.

Some of the folktales, topics and activities included:   

Title

Topic

Activity

The Great Dipper

A lesson in the importance of family and friendship

Making stars

The King with Donkey's Ears

Teaching the importance of knowing how to keep a secret

Whisper game

Kongji and Patzzi

Think positive and work hard! Heaven helps those who help themselves

Making Korean rubber shoes (Gomushin)

Three Coins a day

The importance of budgeting and saving

Drawing brass coin

Making piggy bank

Red Fan Blue Fan

The importance in having a kind heart

Fan making

The Tricky Hare

Learning wisdom from the hare

Learn the number song and dance!

The KCC provided training for the storytelling teachers, rostered the teachers and met the costs of the program. Blacktown City Council provided the Library venues and promoted the program through its networks. Over 100 children plus adults attended the various sessions.

A fantastic initiative and partnership that was well received by the residents of Blacktown.  

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Pacific Test Fan Day in Blacktown

In partnership with the National Rugby League and as part of our Sister Cities link to New Zealand and the Pacific Islands, we hosted the 2017 Pacific Test Fan Day at Francis Park Blacktown from 4 to 8 pm on Wednesday, 3 May and what a FANtastic evening was had by all those who attended.

Working closely with former NRL player Frank Puletua, Senior Manager–Pacific Strategy, the attraction of the top players from the rugby league teams of England, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Fiji, Cook Islands and Samoa in the heartland of Western Sydney drew over 5,000 fans in a family friendly atmosphere. Stalls, a dedicated activation zone, central stage, entertainment, DJ, drummers and performance groups complemented the appearance of players, coaches and officials from the 6 team participating in the Pacific Test series.

The Mayor of Blacktown, Cr Stephen Bali addressed the large crowd and was even photographed with giant Tongan winger Manu (The Beast) Vatuvei.

The photographs of the night show the excitement and enjoyment of the evening.

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Pyeongtaek Noongar visit to Tyndale Christian School

Tyndale Christian School at Blacktown hosted a performance on Friday 31 March by Pyeongtaek Noongar, a traditional professional dance group from South Korea. An enthusiastic audience of 700 pupils and staff attended this outstanding performance. For highlights check out the photographs. 

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Visit from Gwacheon City Council, South Korea

We recently hosted a delegation of 9 officers from Gwacheon City Council, South Korea. The group were in Australia as a reward for their outstanding community service. A briefing session was conducted by our Manager of Events and Sister Cities and our Sister Cities Project Officer with focus on customer service and complaint handling.

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Visit and performances by the Le Moana collective from New Zealand

Blacktown was privileged to host a visit from Le Moana in December 2016.

The Le Moana collective are graduates of the internationally renowned Whitireia Performing Arts who have been professionally trained in Māori Haka from New Zealand, Siva from Sāmoa, Ura from the Cook Islands and the New Zealand Contemporary Dance. The group was established as a vessel for cultural enrichment and as a platform for the development of Pacific Heritage and Contemporary dance on a locally and internationally.

Their performance in the Bowman Hall on Tuesday, 13 December with over 400 patrons of 1918, winner of the critics’ choice and top box office awards at the 2016 San Diego International Fringe Festival, was outstanding. The production explored the effects of the devastating Spanish influenza pandemic that killed over 25% of the Samoan population.

The group also conducted a workshop for students from Blacktown Girls High School which was well attended.

See some of the highlights of the Le Moana performance and workshop. Wonderful to watch and participate.

We’ll see if we can bring them back sometime soon or maybe in 2018 for an encore of 1918

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Hungarian President visits Featherdale Wildlife Park, Blacktown

On Friday, 11 November 2016, the Hungarian President His Excellency Janos Ader accompanied by the first lady Anita and the Australian Hungarian Ambassador, Dr Attila Gruber visited Featherdale Wildlife Park, Blacktown. Glenn Willis, Chief Executive Officer from Elanor Investors hosted the delegation.

The Mayor of Blacktown, Cr Stephen Bali presented a gift to the President in recognition of his visit. The delegation enjoyed a tour of the Wildlife Park and were able to get up close and personal to the animals.

Remembrance Day formalities were observed during the visit with bugler Bill Belcher from the Blacktown City Band performing the Last Post.      

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Dietrich-Bonhoeffer Gymnasium Middle School (Germany) visit Mitchell High School, Blacktown  

Mitchell High School welcomed teachers and students from Dietrich-Bonhoeffer Gymnasium Middle School (Germany) in October 2016 as part of their Sister School partnership. We hosted a reception for the visitors, teachers, staff and billeting families from Mitchell High School.

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How to get involved

Should you be interested in receiving more information, please contact our International Links and Sister Cities Team on 02 9839 6000.

The committee

The International Links and Sister Cities Committee comprises of the following people:

Mayor Cr Stephen Bali and appointed Councillors:

  • Deputy Mayor, Cr Tony Bleasdale

  • Cr Susai Benjamin

  • Cr Brad Bunting

  • Cr Carol Israel

  • Cr Moninder Singh

  • Cr Kevin Gillies.   

Community representatives and current and former Youth Ambassadors:

Name

Jade Cadelina

 

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Roberto (Bobby) Lastica

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Koshie Mac Bruce

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Robyne Mokalei

Sister_Cities-6

Elena Marinis

Sister_Cities-1

Ryan Mahon

Sister_Cities-11

Ron Alder

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Tess Sayas

Sister_Cities-9

Doug Adams

Sister_Cities-2

Maddalyn Bokenham

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Jessica Szakacs

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Mr Patrick Gleeson

Mr Kieran Hagerty

Kee Ho Kang

Janet Kelly

Local service and registered club representatives:

Name

Representing

Rebel Hanlon

West Tradies

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John Fernandes JP

Kings Langley Lions Club

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Walter Smith

Riverstone and District Lions Club

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Jack Miller

Blacktown Workers Club

Melvin Gray

Blacktown Rotary Club

Wilma Drower

Blacktown RSL Club

Appointment to the Committee is for the term of Council.