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Sister cities

The ties that bind

Sydney has Sister City relationships with 6 cities around the world. The program's main objectives are:

  • to use local government resources to extend the hand of friendship internationally on a person-to-person basis
  • to perpetuate an understanding between people and cultures
  • to bring together similar interest groups in each city
  • to provide a forum for the exchange of sister city experiences
  • to extend the level of contacts through all sectors of the community
  • to develop economic, trade, cultural, educations, sorting and other beneficial exchanges.

Sydney signed its first Sister City agreement in 1968. Since then it has signed 5 more agreements in the 1980s and 1990s. Sydney's Sister Cities are:

  • San Francisco, USA
  • Nagoya, Japan
  • Wellington, New Zealand
  • Portsmouth, UK
  • Guangzhou, China
  • Florence, Italy

San Francisco

The long link between Sydney and San Francisco was formally recognised by the two cities in 1968. It was designed to strengthen civic, cultural, business, trade, tourism and sporting ties between the two ports on opposite sides of the Pacific.

In 1977 cooperation between gay activists in both cities initiated what became the first Sydney Gay Mardi Gras the following year.


Sydney and Nagoya signed a Sister City relationship in 1980. Since then, the cities have seconded staff trainees and supported reciprocal visits by school rugby union teams, bands and dance ensembles.

The City also supports the student exchange agreement between the NSW Department of Education and Communities and the Nagoya Board of Education and is involved in the sister zoo relationship between Taronga Zoo and Nagoya Higashiyama Zoo.


Since signing a Sister City agreement in 1983, Sydney and the New Zealand capital have focused their relationship on trade and business matters.

In 1986, Wellington downgraded the relationship to Friendly City status. However, Sydney still regards Wellington as a Sister City.


In 1787, Arthur Phillip led what was to become known as the First Fleet from Portsmouth's harbour. The following year the boats entered Port Jackson and the European settlement of Sydney began.

In 1984, to commemorate this link, Sydney and Portsmouth signed a Sister City agreement to develop and perpetuate economic, trading, cultural, educational, sporting links.


In 1986, Sydney signed a Sister City agreement with Guagzhou, a city in China's trade-focused south. The Chinese Gardens in Sydney's Darling Harbour are a gift from Guangzhou authorities.


In 1993, Sydney signed its most recent Sister City agreement, with the Tuscan city of Florence.

Friendship Cities

The City of Sydney has Friendship City relationships with 4 cities around the world. Here involvement is not as high as with a full Sister City relationship.

The first Friendship City agreements were signed with Paris in 1998, followed by Athens and Berlin in 2000. Two years later, Dublin was added the the list.


Toola Andrianopoulos
Protocol Project Coordinator
02 9246 7602

Last updated: Wednesday, 3 July 2013