2011 - Fifteen Years of Friendship with Saiki, Japan
The year 2011 marks 15 years of friendship with sister city, Saiki City. The 15 year anniversary was celebrated with the Affirmation of the Declaration of Friendship between Gladstone Regional Council and Saiki City Council on September 6, 2011 with Mayor Gail Sellers affirming the declaration at Council's General Meeting. The Declaration was also read in Japanese by Gladstone Saiki City Sister Committee member Hiroko Price. Mayor Sellers will lead a delegation to Saiki in November with Saiki to affirm their part of the agreement.
The Gladstone Regional Council and Saiki City Council have a unique friendship and community partnership that has been forged through the Sister City program and continues to grow.
School Student Exchange program
Toolooa State High School and Tannum Sands State High School in the Gladstone Region particpate in a Japanese sister school exchange program. Students and teachers are homestayed in Saiki City, Kyushu attending school and experiencing the culture and life of everyday Japan. Students and teachers from Saiki visit Toolooa and Tannum Sands State High Schools in alternate years participating in a similar homestay program when they visit the Gladstone region. The exchange is very successful and commenced in 1998 with Toolooa State High School and Jonan High School in Saiki with Tannum Sands State High School and Tsuruya High School joining the program in 2000. Students gain extensive knowledge about Japan that they do not learn from a text book, create life long relationships and gain an appreciation of a contrasting culture to the Australian one. The student exchange programs has been an integral part of the Gladstone/ Saiki Sister City relationship since its inception and the Gladstone and Saiki Regions are grateful for this ongoing success and the friendships forged between the two cities.
Gladstone Saiki Sister City Committee
The Gladstone Saiki Sister City Committee is made up of a range of people from the community. Some with Japanese backgrounds and other with a love of Japan and everything it represents. The committee seeks to promote Japanese culture and continue to strengthen ties with the Saiki City region. All members of the community are welcome to join and attend the meetings. An Annual General Meeting is usually held in October each year.
The committee meets on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 4.45pm to 6.00pm
at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum.
Declaration of Friendship - 4 September 1996
A Declaration of Friendship was signed on 4 September 1996 between the City of Gladstone and City of Saiki. This declaration established an arrangement between the two cities to promote and engage in exchanges between the cities including cultural, commercial and educational matters. The declaration also declared that each city could build a garden native to the other country.
"The Garden of Stillness in Movement" - Tondoon Botanic Gardens
In September 1996 landscape architect Nick Alderson designed a Japanese Garden, "The Garden of Stillness in Movement".
The project consisted of several stages with the first stage of the construction being the completion of the Tea House. The Tea House was officially opened by Gladstone City Council on April 17, 2001. Mayor Kazuhide Ono, Mayor of Saiki City attended the ceremony and jointly opened the Tea House. A traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony was performed for the opening.
Several years later the second stage of the construction was completed by Gladstone City Council. This entailed the pond area and pathways.
The final stage was the completion of the Japanese Garden in 2010. The completion was marked by a public official opening on 11 July 2010. "The Garden of Stillness in Movement" was officially opened by Deputy Mayor Gail Sellers along with the President of the Gladstone Saiki Sister City Advisory Committee, Mrs Wendy Marsh. The opening was timed to coincide with the 2010 Sister Cities Australia National Conference hosted by Rockhampton Regional Council with delegates travelling to Gladstone to witness the official opening.
Gladstone Multicultural Festival Stall
The Gladstone Saiki Sister City Committee festival stall promotes Japan and the sister city of Saiki ath the Gladstone Multicultural Festival held in August each year. The committee puts on an exhibition of information and photographs from Japan along with a display of traditional Japanese clothing. The Multicultural Festival is well attended with visitors to the stall gaining a wealth of knowledge and some also participarting in the art of origami.
Intercity Images Art Exhibition
Intercity Images exhibition is an annual photographic exchange of images of the Gladstone and Saiki City regions. The Gladstone region images are displayed with the best images selected and exhibited in Japan along side those taken by Saiki City photographers.
The Gladstone photographic images then return alongside the Saiki City entries and are displayed at the Gladstone Regional Art Gallery and Museum in conjunction with the Gladstone Multicultural Festival.
The Intercity Images exhibition has been running since 2003 and is a popular exhibition with Gladstone residents and tourists.
Click here for more information on the Intercity Images exhibition.