Sister Cities and Friendship Way

Sister Cities 

About Cockburn’s sister cities

The City of Cockburn has three sister cities and these relationships celebrate historical links and promote cross-cultural understanding.The sister city relationships are marked by decorative artworks along Friendship Way.

Yueyang, China 

In an area populated for 3,000 years, Yueyang was originally established as a region called Hanchang in 210 AD. Yueyang is known for excellence in education, and is home to six colleges and polytechnics as well as several medical schools. Cockburn has erected a welcome wall along Friendship Way, complete with murals and traditional Chinese lions in honour of our sister city relationship with Yueyang.

Mobile, Alabama, USA

Mobile is the third most populated city in Alabama and the State’s only port. The City is a cultural centre, housing opera and ballet companies, a symphony orchestra and art museums. Cockburn’s early connection with Mobile dates back to Captain James Stirling, who visited both Mobile and Cockburn during his naval career. The two cities also share a strong connection through the shipbuilding industry. Tony Jones’ ‘Cardinal South’ artwork on the corner of Cockburn Road and Spearwood Avenue Online Services celebrates this strong nautical relationship.

Split, Croatia

Split is the second-largest urban centre in Croatia and is situated on the shores of the Adriatic Sea. The City dates to the 6th Century BC. Croatian pioneers cultivated the growth of Cockburn and our cities share a rich market gardening history. This is celebrated by Dawn and Phil Gamblen’s  ‘Cultivate’ installation on Friendship Way, near the Beeliar Road roundabout. The installation is marked by grapevines and olive trees and the traditional Croatian greeting, Dobro Dosli, which means good day!

About Friendship Way and Artwork

Friendship Way runs along Spearwood Avenue from Hamilton Road to Beeliar Drive and recognises Aboriginal, Croatian and Alabama sister city relationships. See below for the counties and about the artwork. 

Aboriginal Australia

Friendship Way respects traditional owners between Doolette Street in Spearwood and Discovery Drive in Bibra Lake. The ancient Nyungar culture is recognised and respected by the City of Cockburn.

In the median near Doolette Street, a giant hand holds a shining ball. This sculpture comes from a creation story told by Nyungar Elder Noel Nannup. The work captures the moment when the first woman who came into being realised she must care for other creatures coming into existence – a responsibility the Nyungar people uphold to this day. 

The road verges and median have been densely planted with grass trees, salvaged from development sites nearby. This is both an act of conservation and a testament to the Nyungar understanding that the spirit of the land is strongest where the grass trees grow the thickest. In the median strip near Discovery Drive is a steel sculpture created by local Nyungar artists Sharyn Egan and Darren Stockwell recalling the smoking ceremony welcoming passers-by to Friendship Way.

Listen to "Local Creation" as narrated by Noel Nannup 

Please see transcript to this audio clip in 'related documents' below.

Related Documents

Document name Downloadable files
The Carers of Everything - Noel NannupPDF document
​Mobile, Alabama, USA

Friendship Way honours Mobile, Alabama between Cockburn Road in North Coogee and Hamilton Road in Spearwood. Mobile (pronounced Mobeel) in Alabama, like Cockburn, hosts major ship building industries.  Captain James Stirling provides an interesting historical connection between the two cities as before James Stirling landed in Cockburn Sound in 1828, he was involved in military campaigns in Mobile.

About the artwork for Mobile

Cardinal South is a giant blue sculpture by artist Tony Jones OAM at the intersection of Cockburn Road and Spearwood Avenue.  Its shape is derived from the navigation marker that tells ships 'pass south of this point' which to a sailor it is a reassuring sign of clear water. In this case it also represents a passage of the actual or imagined line needed to link Mobile with Cockburn. Its location means vehicular traffic will also navigate this marker in its correct orientation as they enter Spearwood Avenue.

The diagonal cross of the confederate flag of Alabama is worked into the design of the sculpture.  Across the road from Cardinal South, the sign wall spells out Mobile's traditional Cajun welcome through British naval signalling flags. Yellow, purple and green are Mobile's mardis gras colours and the junction at Spearwood Avenue and Hamilton Road is planted with mauve and yellow groundcover shrubs.  Port Jackson fig trees are planted either side of the road, and as they grow they are intended to recall the sultry humid conditions of the deep south of the USA. 
Split, Croatia
Cockburn celebrates Split in Croatia at the corner of Spearwood Avenue and Beeliar Drive, through the installation Cultivate. Many settlers came to Cockburn from the former Yugoslavia at the end of the Second World War and the Croatian community continues to contribute to the City's economic and cultural life. 

About the artwork for Split

Dawn and Phil Gamblen’s ‘Cultivate’ is a series of three tall red and blue sculptural works near the junction of Spearwood Avenue and Beeliar Drive, commemorating the large contribution the local Croatian community have made to the City since their arrival.

Three crowned leopards on brick and limestone columns overlooking the roundabout at Spearwood Avenue and Beeliar Drive represent both the coat of arms of Ancient Roman Emperor Diocletion who founded Split and the centre piece of the modern Croatian Flag.

Yueyang, China

Between Discovery Drive and Barrington Street in Bibra Lake. The City celebrates Yueyang in China, an important trading partner with Cockburn’s industrial areas and is famous for its history, monuments, festivals and folklore. The City of Yueyang is situated above Lake Dongting and is enclosed by imposing battlements, which are mounted with classical watch towers and pavilions. 

About the artwork for Yueyang

The large mural on the retaining wall of this section of Friendship Way has been designed to showcase Yueyang’s key features while the end of the Chinese section is marked by imposing stone lions on pedestals.

The median is planted with dwarf red flowering oleanders, which will grow into a giant red carpet of flowers. The dark purple flowers of the hibiscus, which surround the stone Chinese lions are native to both Australia and China. The lions are shrouded by plantings of giant bamboo and golden hibiscus.
The trees lining the road are Catalpa trees, whose timber is used for the most prestigious objects in China.

This section of Spearwood Avenue passes between the City’s Peace park and the RSL Memorial Park paying homage to the principles of peace, while recognising historical battles fought.

On one side of the road is a memorial commemorating local involvement in international conflicts since the end of the Second World War, paying respect to those who risked their lives in defence of our country.  A sculptural work ‘The Field of Poppies’ by artist Bridget Norton, sees eleven totemic silhouettes creating a field of poppies behind the monument, forming an emotive and poignant memorial to the fallen. 200 laser cut poppies from each totem glow red during daylight hours.

On the other side of the road, the Hiroshima Peace Park is dedicated to commemorating peace, by memorialising the often atrocious consequences of war. The Peace Park is dedicated to the memory of the Hiroshima bombing (6 August) which is when the almond trees planted here will blossom. A porcelain plaque has been inserted in the footpath alongside each tree, containing an image of a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, their name, role and year of the award. All 127 Nobel peace prize laureates have been included.

At the Hamilton Road end of the Peace section is a large sign wall like the one on the Mobile section, sporting a white dove of Peace. 



City of Cockburn
Whadjuk Boodja
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Spearwood 6163

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Western Australia, 6965

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Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
Ngalak kaadatj dayin boodja, kep wer malayin. Ngalak kaadatj koora koora wer yeyi ngalang birdiya.

City of Cockburn acknowledges the Nyungar people of Beeliar boodja. Long ago, now and in the future they care for Country.
We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past and present.