Sister City Blacktown, Australia
This page describes Blacktown, Porirua City's sister city in Australia. A modern bustling city of 48 residential suburbs, Blacktown City is home to 325,185 people, making it the largest city by population in New South Wales.
Blacktown is fast-growing city of 270,000 people, situated 35 kilometres from the Sydney Central Business District. With extensive rail and roading networks making for convenient travel between Sydney and its western neighbours, Blacktown has been transformed from a rural hinterland to the heart of Sydney’s booming Greater West region in a few decades. Blacktown’s population has increased by 60,000 in 10 years, and within the city more than 30 cultures are represented.
The area comprising the City of Blacktown has a long history. Aborigines belonging to the Daruk tribe inhabited the area long before European settlement. Europeans on exploratory expeditions to the Hawkesbury and beyond traversed the area and their first settlement occurred at the base of Prospect Hill in 1792.
30 year relationship celebrated
To commemorate the 30th year Sister City relationship between Blacktown City and Porirua City, a Maori Ceremonial Gateway has been installed in the New Zealand Garden at Nurragingy Reserve (Knox Road, Doonside), Blacktown.
The Gateway features two 4 metre high poles (Pou) with carvings designed to feature traditional Maori elements. The two pou were carved by Ngati Toa carvers and brothers Hermann and Tana Salzmann.
A ceremonial dedication of the Pou took place during the Blacktown Festival week in May 2014.
Making their way up the path to the Pou on the morning of the dedication - from left, Ngati Toa representative Taku Parae, Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett, has a representative from the Durragingy, and the Mayor of Blacktown Mr Len Robinson.
Inspecting the Pou with Whitireia Community Polytechnic performers looking on.
In addition to the installation of the Gateway, Blacktown Council improved the existing New Zealand Garden within Nurragingy Reserve. It included a new sandstone retaining wall with carved inserts, plants, path resurfacing and upgrades to the pavilion within the garden.
The project is an opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the 30th anniversary of our Sister City agreement with Porirua in New Zealand”, Mayor of Blacktown City, Councillor Len Robinson said.
“Blacktown City is proud of its Sister City relationship with Porirua and at Council we look forward to the continued growth and development of this relationship”, Mayor Robinson said.
The partnership has involved numerous cultural exchanges between local artists and the two cities including workshops and exhibitions with traditional Maori artists and numerous performances by Whitireia who have performed for the Blacktown City community during the Blacktown City Festival.
Councillor Izzy Ford (centre) with Porirua expats living in Sydney, left martin Gray, and right Marae Tiopira.
Tourist Attractions abound in Blacktown
At Blacktown’s doorstep are national tourist attractions like the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park and Sydney’s renowned harbour, as well as the natural beauty of the Hawkesbury/Nepean Rivers. To meet the needs of its young, active population, Blacktown provides an extensive array of leisure and tourism attractions including Wonderland Sydney, Featherdale Wildlife Park and the Nurragingy Recreation Reserve, a sprawling natural bushland of more than 90 hectares. The City is also renowned for its extensive sporting and recreation facilities, including the Blacktown Aquatic Centre, Blacktown Olympic Centre and numerous community centres.
Porirua’s sister city agreement with Blacktown was signed on 5th May 1984. Since then the two cities have engaged in a range of civic, cultural and recreational activities. In recent years, efforts have been made to increase sporting exchanges between the two cities. Our proximity to each other and the natural New Zealand - Australia rivalry make pre-season and end-of-season trips within reach of local club and school teams.
In the area of civic events, a scheme is in place whereby Armed Forces cadets visit each other as sister city representatives in Anzac Day commemorations. Art exchanges also occur from time to time, and periodic meetings of the two Councils help to increase the mutual understanding of issues affecting local government and their communities in our respective countries.