Darwin is the closest Australian capital city to Asia, providing the shortest transport routes for two-way trade between the Asian markets and Australia.
In addition, Darwin International Airport is one of the few airports in Australia that operates 24/7.
Furthermore, the deep-water Port of Darwin provides modern freight-handling facilities, a dedicated bulk liquids berth and links with an intermodal road-rail network.
City of Darwin's International Relations efforts contribute to:
- Community and culture - people that visit and settle in Darwin support City of Darwin’s vision for a creative, connected and inclusive city
- Economy - access to markets, commercial opportunities, international students and tourists all contribute to Darwin's economic prosperity.
City of Darwin's International Relations Program
City of Darwin's International Relations Program supports a variety of activities within the economic development and tourism area of council.
The International Relations Program is responsible for the strategic management of City of Darwin resources to promote economic development and international strategies.
Projects may be initiated internally, by Council decision, via the Sister City subcommittees or as a result of engagement with significant stakeholders.
The program covers three distinct areas:
- Economic development opportunities
- Sister Cities and Friendship Cities
- Sister Cities
We have six Sister Cities around the globe that share historic, social, cultural, and geographical similarities to Darwin.
Signing 21 July 1989 in Darwin
The proximity of Indonesia to Darwin and the large Asian community in Darwin form the foundation of our affiliation.
The links between Darwin and Ambon date back as World War II and annual delegations have taken place to Ambon to commemorate ANZAC Day and the Gull Force Battalion.
Links have been strengthened with the annual Darwin to Ambon Yacht Race and Ambon Night Celebrations at the Indonesian Consulate in Darwin, resulting in close friendship bonds between the two cities.
Anchorage, United States of America
Signing - 28 July 1982 in Darwin, 23 September 1982 in Anchorage
Darwin and Anchorage share more similarities than you may think, both cities are proud of their rich cultural heritage and diversity of its population.
Dena’ina Athabascans lived in Anchorage long before Europeans arrived, fishing, hunting, and living in locations spread across what makes up Anchorage today, similar to the first peoples' of Darwin, the Larrakia.
Anchorage Sister City activities are currently focused on celebrating cultural diversity and reciprocal arts and cultural exchanges. 2016 saw the two cities participate in Walk Together, a huge celebration of diversity and a loud declaration that thousands of Australians believe we can become a nation known for our compassion, generosity, and welcome. It was the first year an international partner participated.
City of Darwin's Parallel Hearts project is an audio collaboration between the Indigenous people of Anchorage and Darwin. The project captures the voices of First Nations people from Darwin and Anchorage - the Larrakia and Dena’ina people, and is designed to increase understanding, knowledge and appreciation of Indigenous culture.
ABC Radio Darwin broadcast each of the episodes. You can listen here Listen on ABC Radio.
Signing 18 September 2003 in Darwin
As one of Dili's closest neighbours Darwin played a critical role in assisting Dili when violence broke out in 1999, through Government and Non-Government organisational programs. supporting refugees, financial assistance, capacity building and humanitarian projects.
Today, City of Darwin continues to build relationships with the Dili District Administration. The Dili Sister City Advisory Committee works closely with the Youth Advisory Committee to forge sustainable long term youth and cultural exchanges, such as the annual Dili & Darwin Youth Exchange and Quiz4Dili annual Trivia Night Fundraiser for local youth training organisation Action For Change Foundation.
Signing 5 September 1990 in Darwin
Initial investigations for a sister city affiliation with a city in the People's Republic of China began in February 1987 through Lord Mayor Alec Fong Lim, the Australian-China Friendship Society and Council's then Sister City Management Committee.
There have been a number of successful education, arts and cultural exchanges between the two cities. In 2016 Darwin received an Award of Honor for exchanges and cooperation with China at the China International Friendship Cities Conference.
Currently, the Haikou Sister City Advisory Committee is developing a Digital Art Pilot Project, Urban Landscapes: Past As Present and has engaged award-winning artist Naina Sen to explore ways that Haikou and Darwin can share stories via digital media.
Signing 28 July 1982 in Darwin
Darwin has an established Greek community, dating back to early 19th century and booming in the 1950s when postwar immigrants arrived to work as sponge divers and on pearling luggers.
The Kalymnos Sister City activities are currently focused on participating in the annual Greek Glenti Festival and partnering with the Municipality of Kalymnos to deliver the annual English Language Scholarship Awards in partnership with ten schools on the island.
Milikapiti, Tiwi Islands
Signing 5 July 1999 in Darwin
The Sister City agreement was signed in Darwin on 5 July 1999 (National Sister Cities Day) by Darwin City Council Lord Mayor George Brown, Mr Allan McGill the then CEO and on behalf of Milikapiti, Mr Gibson Farmer, Council President 1999.
In 2005, council staff traveled to Milikapiti in the wake of cyclone Ingrid to offer practical support to repair some of the damage left by this category 5 system. Locals and staff worked side by side to quickly respond to the various rebuilding efforts.
In July 2001, the Milikapiti Council was dissolved along with the Councils of Nguiu and Pirlangimpi to form the new Tiwi Islands Local Government. The relationship continues under the new structure.
The Milikpaiti agreement still exists today and is activated in times of need between the two locations.
- Friendship Cities
City of Darwin has established friendship city relations with five cities based on historical, cultural, and economic ties as well as strategic partnerships to build connections and understanding between communities for the benefit of the Darwin Community.
The friendship cities are:
Qingdao, China Honolulu, USA Santa Cruz-Galapagos, Ecuador Guangzhou, China Shenzhen, China.
These committees operate to advocate, inform, and support council with its International Relations framework, while supporting a whole of council approach to community, cultural and economic development.
Broader international engagement
The Lord Mayor, Aldermen, council staff and community members on committees receive international dignitaries and delegations in addition to attending internationally-focused conferences, meetings and events. These agreements can be found here.
For further information about the International Relations Program, contact the International Relations Office.
Tel: 08 8930 0300