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Sister City Relationships

Read on to learn about Central Highlands Regional Council’s sister city relationships with Ichinoseki City in Japan and Altona in Canada.

  • Altona, Manitoba, Canada

    The communities of Emerald and Altona share a long lasting “twinning” relationship based on their shared interest in the sunflower industry, Sunflower festival and Queen Quest and a giant Sunflower painting.

    The communities of the Central Highlands enjoy the fantastic festivities due to the commitment and energy of the Central Highlands Easter Sunflower Festival Inc members.

    Altona is well situated to service the United States and Canada. It is located 100km south of Winnipeg, the capital of Manitoba and 10 km north of the USA border.

    Altona’s signature event is the Manitoba Sunflower Festival that has been operating in July each year since 1964 which includes the Manitoba Sunflower Queen competition (see website Altogether Altona/tourism for a picture of the painting in Altona).

    Van Gogh saw the sunflower as a symbol of life and hope and painted a series of seven paintings in the late 1800’s.

    Artist and educator Cameron Cross was inspired when he taught in Altona to develop a giant easel displaying a likeness of Van Gough’s sunflowers.

    The landmark in Altona is 76’6” high and is on a 3 legged steel easel and celebrates Altona’s reputation as the Sunflower Capital of Canada. Emerald is also proud of their giant  sunflower painting and easel.

    Central Highlands Regional Council supports the Central Highlands Sunflower Festival Committee.

    The not for profit community organisation was established in 1974 to deliver the annual Sunflower Festival and Queen Quest during the Easter weekend.

    The Sunflower Queen Quest enables young women to fundraise for their chosen charities as well as having some fun.

    The fundraising is divided into Seventy percent to their chosen charities and thirty percent contributes to the operational cost of the hosting the festival.

  • Ichinoseki City, Japan

    A sister city relationship between Fujisawa Town Council and Duaringa Shire Council was formalised in 1993 to foster mutual understanding and goodwill between both councils and, more globally, to contribute to world peace and prosperity.

    Since 1993, both councils have undergone amalgamation and afterward the newly formed Ichinoseki Council and Central Highlands Regional Council reaffirmed their commitment to continue the long-standing relationship.

    The Central Highlands Regional Council firmly believes that our sister city connection with Ichinoseki City enables both communities to exchange experiences and ideas in education, culture, industry, commerce and youth.

  • Student Exchange Program

    Each year students and parents from the Central Highlands participate in an exchange program with peers in Ichinoseki.

    Students travel to Japan with two council chaperones in the mid year school holidays where they immerse themselves in the local cultures as well as visit some of Japans most iconic places.

    Shortly after students from Ichinoseki make the journey to Australia to visit the Central Highlands for the same experience.

    Through this program, students and parents share customs, culture and languages and form life-long friendships. The Exchange program is only open to High School students who reside in the Central Highlands.

    For more information on how to become involved call 1300 242 686.

  • Australia Japan Friendship Park

    In 2015, the Central Highlands Regional Council resolved to construct an Australian-themed all abilities playground in Ichinoseki to signify our strong sister city bond and reciprocate the Japanese gardens and seminar house built by the former Fujisawa City Council in Blackwater in 1998.

    YOSU2470 (small)The project provided an opportunity for the exchange of ideas, work practices and products between Australia and Japan, strengthening future international trade.

    The Australia Japan Friendship Park features an Australian-designed and manufactured wheelchair accessible Devine Liberty Swing – the first of its kind installed in Japan – as well as a flying fox, springers, a fort and an excavator.

    The playground and a separate barbecue area were both opened in October 2015.


  • International Linear Collider

    The International Linear Collider (ILC) is a proposed linear accelerator to be built in a 30km long linear underground tunnel.

    This experimental facility will force electrons and positrons to collide head on in the middle of the tunnel. It is expected to reveal insights into the creation of the universe, time and space, and the mystery of mass itself by recreating the Big Bang.

    The southern Kitakami Highlands, an area which includes our Japanese sister city Ichinoseki, is the favoured candidate site for the ILC to be constructed due to it’s stable granite bedrock free from active fault lines. Since electrons and positrons are tiny invisible particles, a stable bedrock free of vibration is required when forcing them to collide accurately.

    This short video offers a great explanation of how the ILC will work:

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