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.

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

2018 Year 5 and 6 Writing Contest

Year 5 and 6 students who live or attend a primary school within Blacktown City are invited to enter the 2018 Blacktown City Council International Links and Sister Cities Writing Contest.

Students are encouraged in 200 words or less explain how diversity, culture, friendship unite people and the community in which they live. Give examples of this including how Blacktown has interacted with its Sister Cities in recent years. Entries close 31 August 2018. Download the entry form here.(PDF, 624KB)

Blacktown Showcase

We are is seeking to create a talent pool of performers to participate in our events over the next 12 months including proposed trips to South Korea, New Zealand and Liverpool Plains in Northern NSW.

Residents of Blacktown aged between 14 and 17 are invited to apply to participate in an audition in the Bowman Hall, Blacktown Civic Centre on one of four dates listed below.

Performers may be solo, duo or trio and perform as vocalist, instrumental or dance. Please click here to enter. 

Liverpool Plains Shire delegation visits to Blacktown May 2018

Not only did our country cousins visit us once, but twice during May 2018. The first time was during our Medieval Fayre on 19 and 20 May where Nikki Robertson, Angus Fraser and Andrew Ballard manned the Liverpool Plains display marquee and answered many questions about their wonderful Shire. After meeting with our events staff to workshop event planning, promotion and operations, Andrew and Angus were amazed at the scale of the Medieval Fayre and learnt a lot from our staff in what proved to be a valuable staff exchange.

The second visit coincided with the Blacktown Festival and Street Parade on Saturday, 26 May.

Chambers of Commerce Business Partnership

A meeting was also facilitated at Rooty Hill RSL Club by Blacktown Council between Grant Batty, the President of the Liverpool Plains Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Industry, the Deputy Mayor of Liverpool Plains Shire, Doug Hawkins, Trevor Oldfield and Livia Janovics, President and Secretary of the Greater Blacktown Business Chamber (GBBC) respectively and Bob Turner, Chair of the GBBC Corporate Relationships Sub-Committee.  

The Liverpool Plains Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Industry has been operating for 70 years and has 65 members from across a wide range of businesses including mining, agriculture cropping and livestock, transport, retail and supporting fabrication businesses. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss potential future partnerships and/or relationships between both Chambers and explore possible business to business opportunities within the different industry categories.

The outcomes of this initial meeting proved to be extremely positive with exciting programs and interactions planned for the future. Many thanks to Nathan Burbridge, Head of Blacktown Council’s Economic Development for his involvement and contribution. 

Philippine Independence Day flag raising and Library display 2018

The Australian Philippines Services League (APSL) in partnership with Blacktown Council, conducted a flag raising ceremony on Saturday, 9 June 2018 in the Bowman Hall to commemorate the 120th Philippine Independence Day celebrations. Entertainment comprised musical renditions and cultural dance performances. Many thanks to the APSL for their whole-hearted involvement in the conduct of this event.

The ceremony was supported by a 2-week display in the Max Webber Library. Many thanks to Jade Cadelina, Project Coordinator for The Philippine Cultural Institute and our Sister Cities Committee for his efforts in arranging the video about the history and significance of the event and the display of paintings by famous Filipino artists which complemented the celebrations. A wonderful acknowledgment for the 9% of Blacktown’s population who are either Filipino born or of Filipino heritage.  

Waitangi Day celebrations in Blacktown on Saturday, 10 February 2018  

For the 4th consecutive year, Council commenced the Waitangi Day celebrations with a formal ceremony (Karakia service) at the Pou (South Sea Islands garden at Nurragingy Reserve, Knox Road Doonside) between 7.00-8.00am. The service included ritual chants to invoke spiritual guidance and protection. Check out the photographs of the ceremony. 

In partnership with the Maori Wardens NSW , Council assisted with the hosting of the 3rd Western Sydney Waitangi Day Festival at the Blacktown Showground Precinct from 11.45 until 7.00pm. The official opening was conducted by the Mayor Cr Stephen Bali and Greg Makutu, from the NZ Consul General’s Office, Sydney. A Maori welcoming ceremony (Powhiri) with speeches, dancing and singing followed the opening. The Festival was well attended with plenty of performances on the main stage, food stalls, community displays and traditional entertainment to showcase various aspects of South Pacific culture, arts and cuisine. The interactive crowd participation was a highlight during the hot afternoon. 

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Delegation visit to Porirua City from 4-7 February 2018

Council approved for a delegation from Blacktown City to attend the 2018 Waitangi Day celebrations in Porirua City from 4 to 7 February 2018. The attendance at Porirua City’s most prestigious and largest event was able to reaffirm the strong bonds which have been developed since the signing of our Sister Cities agreement in May 1984. 

The delegation comprised the Deputy Mayor, Cr Tony Bleasdale as the Mayor’s nominee, the General Manager, our Sister Cities Project Officer, 4 local Indigenous performers and our 2 current and 2 former Youth Ambassadors.

Our Manager, Arts and Cultural Development assisted with the identification of the 4 local Indigenous performers with experience in Aboriginal dance, music and singing to accompany the delegation. The Indigenous performers showcased components of our local aboriginal culture to the large crowd during the celebrations.

An invitation was extended for the Mayor of Porirua to attend the inaugural Sister Cities Shield football match in the A-League competition between the Western Sydney Wanderers and Wellington Phoenix. 

Blacktown wins Sister Cities Australia National Award

At the Sister Cities Australia AGM in December 2017, it was that announced that for the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017, Blacktown had won the SCA National Community Involvement Award for our Community Partnerships Program (CPP) with Liverpool Plains Shire Council, our Sister City in northern NSW since 2005. Fantastic!!!

Starting in 2015, the CPP seeks to promote the development of identified community relationships, activities or exchanges between Blacktown City and the Liverpool Plains Shire.

Community groups with similar interests were identified by both partners and after consultations, 16 community representatives from Blacktown visited their country counterparts for 3 days in September 2015. In October 2016, this number increased to 19 community representatives.

Groups included Cumberland Woodworkers, Blacktown Probus, Blacktown City Band, Historical Society, Blacktown Showground Community Garden, Blacktown CWA, Blacktown Pony Club, Riverstone Men’s Shed, Mt Druitt Men’s Shed, Blacktown Rotary and Blacktown Worker’s Bowling Club. Individual groups met with their country cousins and where agreed, developed their own projects, exchanges and/or joint initiatives. 

Some of the outcomes included a joint Rotary Club project for the supply of several defibrillators while a community garden partnership was formalised between the Blacktown Showground and Quirindi community garden groups. 

The community garden project identified that the installation of higher planter boxes for wheel chairs, similar to those at the Blacktown Showground Community Garden, and improvements to footpath access are essential to allow greater usage for special needs persons.  If these improvements occurred, additional local residents and school students, and up to 50 individuals from special needs groups and seniors in Tamworth and the surrounding area could attend on a more regular basis.

Both Councils agreed to commit $1,500 towards the project. The $3,000 was then used to construct 4 high planter boxes, pave the main entry footpath, purchase seats and install shade over two small picnic areas within the garden.         

Our 2 Youth Ambassadors also participated in the program and in October 2016 they were accompanied by 2 youth delegates and a staff officer from Sueong-gu, our Korean Sister City. What a great experience it was for our Korean visitors in the Aussie countryside. 

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. 

tyndale_school_visit

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.

Gwacheon_City_Council_visit

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

 

Sister_Cities-16

Roberto (Bobby) Lastica

Sister_Cities-5

Koshie Mac Bruce

Sister_Cities-14

Robyne Mokalei

Sister_Cities-6

Elena Marinis

Sister_Cities-1

Ryan Mahon

Sister_Cities-11

Ron Alder

Sister_Cities-7

Tess Sayas

Sister_Cities-9

Doug Adams

Sister_Cities-2

Maddalyn Bokenham

Sister_Cities-10

Jessica Szakacs

Sister_Cities-12

Mr Patrick Gleeson

Mr Kieran Hagerty

Kee Ho Kang

Janet Kelly

Local service and registered club representatives:

Name

Representing

Rebel Hanlon

West Tradies

Sister_Cities-15

John Fernandes JP

Kings Langley Lions Club

Sister_Cities-3

Walter Smith

Riverstone and District Lions Club

Sister_Cities-13

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.