Ambon - Indonesia

Student Exchange Becomes ReciprocalStudents from Ambon

City of Darwin is excited to have facilitated a reciprocal student exchange between SMA Negeri 5 Ambon and Kormilda College.  Ambon students Aldo and Jose and English teacher Johanis, and Darwin students Alex and Jarrod along with Indonesian teacher Kevin practised language and developed lifelong skills in cross-cultural communication and understanding through a short-term school based exchange.  The experience exposed the boys to new ideas, culture, customs and networks.  Making the most of their exchange, Aldo and Jose performed traditional Ambon dances at the Ambon Night festivities, while Alex and Jarrod undertook a wreath laying ceremony at the Tantui War Cemetery on International Day of Peace.

Another Successful Ambon NightAmbon night at the Consulate

The Indonesian Consulate was awash with colour, music and smiling faces 21 August 2015 for the fourth annual Ambon Night.  Foreign dignitaries, VIPs, yachties and community members celebrated the silver anniversary of the Sister City relationship through song, dance and food.  Guest of honour Mr Richard Louhenapessay, Mayor of Ambon, spoke passionately about Darwin and Ambon’s relationship and affirmed Ambon’s commitment to maintaining friendship and sharing cultures.  The festivities concluded with poco-poco, Ambon’s much loved line dance.  See photos of the event here.

Ambon Students in Darwin

Students and teacher from Ambon with Lord Mayor

6 – 27 August 2013, Kormilda College hosted student Aldiron and Dwi and teacher Stephanie from SMA Negeri 5, our Sister School in Ambon.  Our visitors from Ambon truly emerged themselves in school life at Kormilda as well as performing traditional Ambonese dances at Ambon Night and the Kormilda Celebration of Languages Evening.  As is evidenced by the boys journal during their time in Darwin they had a great time, learnt a lot and made some great friends.

Another Successful Ambon NightTraditional ambon dance

Council and the Indonesian Consulate hosted Ambon Night 15 August 2013 a celebration of Ambonese song, dance, food and hospitality.  Guests had the opportunity to try on traditional dress and participate in Ambonese line dancing.  The event provided a taste of Ambonese culture for the yachties about to set off on the Darwin to Ambon Yacht Race.  See photos here.

New Statues in Indonesian GardenIndoensian staute

City of Darwin recently donated two wooden statues, carved in the traditional Maluku style, to the Indonesian Garden at Charles Darwin University (CDU).  The statues were gifted to CDU in recognition of the Ambon Sister City relationship.  See photos of the unveiling ceremony here.  Visit the Indonesian Garden next to Orange 6 at CDU Casuarina Campus to see the statues.

Past Projects

Our guests from AmbonStudents Tatiana and Yudhi and teacher Feronica bid Darwin farwell in early September 2012 after a three week visit hosted by Kormilda College.  The three ladies from SMA 5 Negeri Ambon, our Sister School in Ambon, participated in a study tour to Darwin supported and facilitated by the Ambon Sister City Community Committee.  Our three Ambon guests made the most of their time in Darwin, participating in many activities including Indonesian Independence Day and performing traditional Ambonese dancing and singing at the Ambon Night celebrations.  Many friendships were formed, local culture was experienced and many memories taken home.  Read their report here.

Ambon night performersRace goers, Indonesian enthusiasts and the Mayor of Ambon enjoyed a colourful display of Ambonese food, singing, dancing and culture at this years Ambon Night held 23 August 2012.  Proceeding the departure of the Darwin to Ambon Yacht Race, the event celebrated the culture of Ambon and Darwin's special link with the Maluku province. The Indonesian Consulate, Kota Ambon and Ambon Sister City Community Committee delivered this great event through partnership. See photos of the event here.

Yacht in the Darwin to Ambon raceIn its ongoing commitment to the Darwin to Ambon Yacht race, City of Darwin again hosted a reception for race goers and officials prior to the race and sponsored a perpetual trophy, which was presented by Alderman Allan Mitchell, member of the Ambon Sister Cities Community Committee, in Ambon at the race finish. Visit our photo galleries to see the warm reception received at the race finish in Ambon.

Banner with Lord Mayor of Darwin and Mayor of AmbonLord Mayor, Ms Katrina Fong Lim, recently visited Ambon to attend celebrations to mark the 437th Anniversary of the City of Ambon.  Whilst in Ambon, the Lord Mayor also visited our Sister School SMA Negeri 5, the war memorial to Australian POWs and met with a number of provincial officials.  To find out more about the Lord Mayors visit, follow her tweet feed @kfonglim

Ambon delegation visit DarwinJune 12 - 14 the City of Darwin hosted the Mayor of Ambon and his 12 strong delegation from Ambon.  The delegation attended a waste presentation and tour of Shoal Bay Waste Facility, visited the Fun Bus and Library, had meetings with Kormilda College, Carers NT, and the Darwin to Ambon Yacht Race Committee.  The delegation also met with students studying Indonesian who had recently won in the Indonesian section of the Senior Language Speaking Competition.  Our visitors from Ambon truly enjoyed their stay and took home not only ideas, but experiences and new contacts. See photos here.

Ambon students and teacher meet the Lord MayorOn the 11th of August 2011, Lord Mayor and the Ambon Sister City Community Committee hosted a reception for two visiting exchange students and teacher from SMA Negeri 5 School in Ambon. Council had been pursuing this exchange for a number of months, so we were delighted when it came to fruition. Sally (student), Mathilda (student) and Johanis (teacher) were generously hosted by Kormilda College where they participated in Darwin school life and improved their English skills. Click here to see photos from the reception. Read page four of Kormilda News to see an article about their visit to Kormilda.

Click here to see photos of our reception for visiting Ambonese exchange students in 2010.

Zeth wows the crowdWonderful Maluku 2011, held 21 July 2011, was a celebration of Indonesian food and culture. Preceding the Darwin to Ambon Yacht Race, the inagural event gave race goers and the Darwin community a sample of the food, dance, costume, singing and fashion of the Maluku region. Spectators watched fabulous traditional dancers and were serenaded by Indonesian Idol 2010 winner, Igo. Council's Ambon Sister City Community Committee invited legendary Ambonese musician Zeth Lekatompessy to Darwin especially for the event and his performance did not dissapoint. Wonderful Maluku was a fantastic example of sharing cultures and Council is proud to be a part of this event. Many thanks to the Indonesian Consulate for hosting the event.  Click here to see photos of the event.

Background and History

Ambon MarketsThe proximity of Indonesia to Darwin and the large Asian community in Darwin form the foundation of our affiliation. Three Indonesian cities were considered before Ambon was selected, Ambon, Kupang (now a Sister City to Palmerston, Darwin's neighbouring city) and Ujung-Pandang. The affiliation received great support from the Indonesian Consul, the Australian Ambassador in Jakarta, the Australian Indonesian Association in Darwin and the Darwin community.

Ambon MarketsThe links between Darwin and Ambon date as far back as World War II and annual delegations have taken place to Ambon to commemorate ANZAC Day. Links were strengthened by the annual Darwin/Ambon International Yacht Race that ran with great success for many years resulting in close friendships between the two communities.

Successful programs between the two cities have included teacher and student exchanges, a librarian exchange achieved through a grant of $3,000 from the Rotary Club of Darwin North, a "Gifts for Neighbours Project" in cooperation with the Lioness Club of Casuarina, donations of books to the Ambon Public Library and the University Library transported without charge by Merpati Airlines and a grant of $5,872 from the Australian Indonesian Institute to help fund a visit by a cultural dance group from Ambon toperform in Darwin.

Numerous delegations have occurred in both directions including in October 1988 Lord Mayor Alec Fong Lim leading a delegation of 21 persons to Ambon for 4 days to sign a "Letter of Intent" and in July 1989 when Darwin welcomed its biggest delegation ever of 52 Ambonese.

In October 2003, City of Darwin worked collaboratively with an aid organisation to provide much needed assistance in the form of a solutions package to a rabies emergency, which struck the city of Ambon, and at the time of program implementation, had already left 10 people dead. The program was delivered by Medecins Sans Frontiers through their aid office in Ambon following the commitment of $6,000 in Lord Mayor appeal funds. Community fundraising for Ambon commenced in 1999 after violence broke out in Ambon, leaving the city in turmoil.

In 2004, to commemorate the lifting of the 'State of Emergency' in Ambon, City of Darwin brought a highly acclaimed photographic exhibition entitled 'Reborn - Ambon after the Conflict' to Darwin. The photographer, Jakarta based Mr Tantyo Bangun, accompanied the exhibition as a guest of City of Darwin. The exhibition portrayed the plight of the People of Ambon and emanated hope out of devastation, providing the Darwin community with a tangible illustration of the situation faced by Ambon. During this time, City of Darwin welcomed a delegation from the Ambon Mayor revitalising the sister city relationship and strengthening ties for the bright new future Ambon is now embarking on.

In 2010, Lord Mayor Graeme Sawyer traveled to Ambon to officiate in the renewed Darwin - Ambon Yacht Race and Council's Ambon Sister City Community Committee is establishing a perpetual trophy to the now invigorated Darwin - Ambon Yacht Race.