City of Newcastle celebrates 40th Sister City anniversary with Ube, Japan

19 Nov 2020

City of Newcastle honoured a relationship steeped in history and culture on Thursday ahead of the 40th anniversary of the Sister City declaration between Newcastle and Ube, Japan.

On 21 November 1980, the City’s first female Lord Mayor, the late Joy Cummings, turned a new page in history as she joined the Mayor of Ube, the late Mr Hideo Futatsugi, to sign the Sister City agreement.

Built upon the burgeoning port harbour cities’ shared industrial backgrounds in coal exports and steel manufacturing, the declaration was and remains today a sign of goodwill, mutual understanding and friendship.

Mayor of Ube, Mr Hideo Futatsugi, and Newcastle Lord Mayor Joy Cummings sign the declaration while Town Clerk Barrie Lewis looks on. Image courtesy Newcastle Libraries Local History Collections.

Over the decades, Newcastle and Ube have developed strong connections in education, youth exchange, economics, sport and art, which were celebrated when the City hosted Consul-General Mr Kiya Masahiko and Consul in Charge of General Affairs and Information and Culture, Mr Shinichi Murata on a diplomatic visit to Newcastle.

Mr Masahiko and Mr Murata were presented with a commemorative book, titled Sister Cities Newcastle and Ube: celebrating 40 years, produced by the City to mark the auspicious occasion.

The Consuls also received a demonstration of a curated, interactive digital story-wall exhibition showcasing the Sister City history at the City Administration Centre’s Digital Library.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes presents the commemorative book to the Consul-General of Japan in Sydney, Mr Kiya Masahiko, in front of the digital story-wall exhibition at the City's Digital Library.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes recognised the ongoing significance of this mutually beneficial relationship as both Newcastle and Ube continue to undergo growth and transformation.

“It was Lord Mayor Joy Cummings’ vision, when the declaration was signed, for our two great cities to enjoy lasting friendship, good health and prosperity, and I am proud to say our Sister City ties remain as strong as ever,” Cr Nelmes said.

“While we are living through an unprecedented time due to the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 global pandemic, it is but another chapter in the history book of our Sister City relationship, as we rise together to overcome adversity as we have done in the past.

“City of Newcastle congratulates Ube City on achieving this joint milestone and looks forward to the continuation of our cities’ relationship over the years to come.”

Sister Cities Newcastle and Ube: celebrating 40 years is available for loan from Newcastle Libraries. A digital version is accessible via the website.