Gunnedah Shire Council formalised a Sister City Relationship with the Yinzhou District of Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, China, with an official ceremony to mark the occasion last week.
Entering into the relationship has the potential to create social, cultural and economic benefits to both localities now and in the future.
Six delegates from the Yinzhou Government visited the Gunnedah Shire to sign official documents and experienced a taste of Gunnedah during their stay.
“A positive outcome of the agreement would be the potential to host student exchanges and create a cultural understanding between the two regions,” Gunnedah Shire Mayor Jamie Chaffey said.
“While the delegation was here they visited St Mary’s College to meet with students who have been learning Mandarin, with hopes to establish a student exchange program.
“An exchange program would provide a wealth of opportunities to our local students, allowing them to accept and understand a different culture and other community perspectives through International learning.”
St Mary’s College Year 8 students welcomed Gunnedah Shire Mayor Jamie Chaffey and the Yinzhou delegation on Friday morning.
“The students were able to officially welcome the delegation in Mandarin and show them around our school,” St Mary’s College Principal Max Quirk said.
“The school visit was a tremendous success and Cr Chaffey spoke to the students about how exciting the initiative is between Gunnedah and Yinzhou and the possibility of a student exchange program between a school in China and St Mary’s College.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students and they are excited to start writing letters to new found friends in China via the pen pal system, with the hopes to eventually be able to Skype classrooms in China and exchange language and ideas.”
During their stay, the delegation were invited to local orange farm “Gunnible” for an official dinner, as well as taking part in flights over Gunnedah and koala spotting before signing the official documents in a ceremony at Wolseley Park.
“Fate will bring us together even if we are thousands of miles away,” Deputy Director, The Standing Committee of Yinzhou District People’s Congress, Lyu Hongqin said.
The delegation was welcomed by Gomeroi Elders conducting a traditional Smoking Ceremony, before the Australian and Chinese National Anthems were played by the Gunnedah Conservatorium of Music.
A Chinese Elm tree was planted at Wolseley Park to mark the beginning of the relationship and will grow as the relationship grows.
Photo caption – Sister City Agreement Official Photo: Members of the Yinzhou delegation with Gunnedah Shire Councillors and staff at an official dinner. Photo Credit: Paul Mathews.
Photo caption – Yinzhou Sister City Visit (5): Gunnedah Shire Mayor Jamie Chaffey and Deputy Director, The Standing Committee of Yinzhou District People’s Congress, Lyu Hongqin sign the official agreement.
Photo caption – Yinzhou Sister City Visit (10): Yinzhou Delegation and representatives from Gunnedah Shire Council welcomed at St Mary’s College.
Photo caption – Yinzhou Sister City Visit (11): St Mary’s College students and official guests at the Sister City Ceremony.
Media Contact: Ashley Gardner 6740 2100.