Bathurst + Ohkuma
Sister Cities for 30 years 姉妹都市関係締結30年
In December 1989 a delegation from the town of Ohkuma in Fukushima Prefecture arrived in Australia looking for a suitable regional city with which to form a partnership. Bathurst was selected and a group arrived the following year under the newly named “Ohkuma Wings Towards the 21st Century” project. On 25 March 1991 the Sister City Agreement was signed by Mayors Ann Ashwood and Shuro Shiga, formalising the relationship between the two cities. <br><br>
Since 1991, this relationship has become deeper and closer. Many delegations and a large number of students have travelled and participated in an enriching cultural exchange and the Ohkuma Japanese Garden was completed in Bathurst in March 1998, built under the direction of Mr Hideaki Matsumoto.
The Great East Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011 brought enormous damage to Ohkuma and the subsequent radiation from the damaged Fukushima nuclear power station caused the evacuation of the town. These events were the cause of much sadness to the citizens of Bathurst, and their thoughts were with their Sister City in this terrible time.
The ‘Ohkuma Wings of Hope’ tours resumed in 2012 and have continued, including in Bathurst’s bicentenary year of 2015 when the Sister City Agreement was resigned by Mayors Gary Rush and Toshitsuna Watanabe.
2021 brings two milestones, the 10th anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake, commemorated by a tree planting at the Ohkuma Japanese Garden in Bathurst, and by the signing of a renewed Sister City Relationship by Mayors Bobby Bourke and Jun Yoshida and the planting of a cherry blossom tree in the new park in Ohkuma.
Bathurst is proud of the significance of its ongoing ties with Ohkuma and of the Sister City relationship, and it is hoped that this positive and meaningful engagement will continue to grow and to enrich both communities.