Sister cities

Port Stephens Council has enjoyed a formal partnership with several sister cities since the early 1980s.

Our sister city partnerships include:

Our first Sister Cities relationship began with Bellingham in the US state of Washington. In 1983, French company Pechiney wanted to construct an aluminium plant in Tomago, Port Stephens similar to a smelter in Bellingham. The cities officially formed a partnership when Port Stephens Council sent representatives to Bellingham to view Pechiney’s technology.

In September 2018, Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer and General Manager Wayne Wallis attended the Sister Cities Mayoral Summit in Bellingham to foster global dialogue, cultural awareness and our ongoing relationship with our Sister Cities. Visit the Bellingham website.

In 1999, Yugawara formally became a Sister City, after many years of exchanges and Friendship City relationships. Subsequent tours have been hosted to and from Yugawara from 2001 until now. Students from Yugawara attend school at St Phillips in Salamander Bay and Port Stephens students also have the chance to experience the Japanese school system. Visit the Yugawara website.

A Friendship City agreement was signed with Tateyama in 1999 and formalised with a Sister City agreement in November 2009. A delegation from Port Stephens attended the official signing in Tateyama in 2009, while the next year, a delegation from Tateyama came to Port Stephens for a reciprocal signing. Tours have been hosted to and from Tateyama since 2001, including the Wakashio Marathon Exchange. Visit the Tateyma website.

The Sister City relationship with Kushiro, Hokkaido, has its genesis in the Wetland Sister City Agreement signed in 1994 and renewed in 2004 and 2015, and due to be renewed in late 2024. Under the agreement, the Newcastle, Port Stephens and Kushiro Councils pledge to work towards the conservation and wise use of their wetlands. The Hunter Estuary Wetlands, shared by Port Stephens and Newcastle, and the Kushiro wetlands are listed under the Ramsar convention as wetlands of international importance.

You can click here to visit the Kushiro website

How to participate in the Sister Cities Committee

The Sister Cities movement in Australia is organised through local councils and community committees and associations.

As a 355C committee of Council, Port Stephens Sister Cities Committee receives funding each year for their administration costs. Membership to Sister Cities is open to everyone. Annual membership is free. A membership form must be completed to qualify for insurance coverage.

Positions on the committee are elected from the floor at each AGM.

Meetings are held at Nelson Bay Bowling Club, on the third Wednesday of the month commencing at 7pm in the Bay East Room.

The ideals of the committee are to:

  • create and strengthen partnerships between Australia and international communities to increase global cooperation at the local level
  • promote peace through mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation
  • further develop and enhance a community's rich diversity and culture
  • provide personal development opportunities for adults and youth
  • create new opportunities for trade and investment.