International & Intranational Relationships
International & Intranational Sister City Relationships
The City of Busselton is one of the oldest established communities in the State of Western Australia with a rich history and culture. It is also one of the fastest growing municipal areas in the Nation with a strong focus on economic growth. Given our pioneering heritage and the timeless traditions of the Wardandi Bibulmum people, our community has a strong affinity with different cultures.
Recognising the social, cultural and economic value of international relationships the City is committed to developing international and intranational relationships where there is demonstrated benefit to the community.
Busselton-Sugito Sister City Relationship
The City of Busselton has enjoyed a Sister City relationship with Sugito, Japan since 1996. The relationship grew from a ROTARY exchange and school based exchanges primarily instigated by Busselton Senior High School. Over the years this relationship has strengthened and the range of activities expanded. The Sister City relationship was reaffirmed for a further 20 years in a ceremony in Nov 2016 in Japan.
This relationship is essentially cultural with people from both towns enjoying community exchanges and annual school exchanges. On occasion special interest exchanges have also occurred such as the visit from traditional Japanese gardeners who established a Japanese garden here in Busselton.
The Busselton – Sugito Sister City Relationship is supported by the Busselton and Sugito Sister Cities Association (BASSCA). This volunteer organisation, which has been operational for more than 20 years, is made up of community members with special interest in Japanese culture and language. Many members, both past and present, have been associated with the various exchange programs and an increasing number are Japanese expatriates. Membership is open to all. Find out more about BASSCA by clicking here.
BASSCA has primary responsibility for organising the various exchanges and sister city related activities. Some of these include:
- Annual Busselton - Sugito Student exchanges
- Community cultural exchanges
- Sponsorship of awards for Japanese programs at local schools
- Annual Japanese-themed school holiday programs at City of Busselton Libraries
- Participation in the Festival of Busselton Float Parade, Harmony Day and other community events
- Social events
Sugito town covers an area of 30sq km and has a population of approx. 45,500 (2016). It is a mix of rural and urban lifestyles and located in the north-eastern corner of Saitama prefecture, about 40 minutes north of Tokyo by train. Sugito has a similar population to the City of Busselton and like Busselton has a strong agricultural base.
Much has been done to highlight the importance of this Sister City Relationship and there is a strong Japanese influence across the municipality: Some examples include:
- The Japanese Gardens gifted to the City of Busselton by the Town of Sugito, located next to the City of Busselton library.
- A colourful mural depicting the Sugito Mascot, Sugipyon, on the Busselton Boulevard Shopping Centre in Prince street which was painted as part of the 20th Anniversary Celebrations in 2016.
- A large gift display of items gifted to the city over the last 22 years outside the Council Chambers at the Civic and Administration Building – which is open for public viewing.
- A large Japanese Elm Tree planted in 1997 to mark the start of the Sister City friendship with Sugito. The tree along with a commemorative plaque placed under it are located in the gardens of the City of Busselton Administration Building. This plaque and limestone block were relocated and refreshed as part of the new Administration Building garden refurbishment in 2018.
- Hiroshi Tomihari, a highly regarded award-winning artist and National Treasure of Japan, visited Busselton three times to hold community workshops and exhibitions. He has also gifted many of his woodcuts to the people of Busselton. Some of these works are very significant and are also represented in major US & European Galleries.
Mayors for Peace
The City of Busselton became a signatory to the international Mayors for Peace program in October 2019.
The Mayors for Peace program was established in 1982 with the aim of achieving lasting world peace through inter-city solidarity and raising public consciousness about the need to abolish nuclear weapons. As of 1 May 2019 membership stood at 7,756 cities in 163 countries and regions including 87 across Australia.
The City of Busselton’s Sister City, Sugito, joined the Mayors for Peace program in September 2010 and it was at the suggestion of two local Dunsborough residents, Erin and Casper Adson, with the endorsement of the Busselton and Sugito Sister City Association (BASSCA), that the City of Busselton also consider becoming a signatory to the program.
City of Busselton Mayor, Grant Henley met with the Mayor of Hiroshima and attend a ceremonial signing of the Mayors for Peace accord at the Hiroshima Peace Park in late 2019.
Mayor Grant Henley, who visited Nagasaki while in service with the Australian Navy, said that past events have profoundly impacted people’s desire for global peace. “Becoming a signatory to this program reflects our community’s support for world peace,” he said.
“Council felt it most fitting that we join the City of Sugito in becoming a signature to the Mayors for Peace program. We are a City committed to peace and signing this accord demonstrates that to the world.”
Along with advocating for world peace through the abolition of nuclear weapons, the Mayor’s for Peace program also seeks to eliminate starvation and poverty, support human rights and protect the environment.
More information is available at http://www.mayorsforpeace.org/