Whitby Town Council

Information for Residents & Visitors

Town Clerk: Michael King
Whitby Town Council, Pannett
Park, Whitby, North Yorkshire
YO21 1RE

Whitby's Twin Towns

Whitby has ten twin towns, many of which are connected to Whitby's past through the voyages of Lieutenant, later Captain, James Cook in the Eighteenth Century. This page provides some information about each of these.

Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Anchorage is the USA's fourth largest city, and Alaska's biggest city, containing 39.37% of the state's population. This diverse city is known for its:

  • wildlife, from moose and bears to bald eagles and beavers
  • access to the most spectacular Chugach mountains filled with glaciers, rivers and wildlife
  • views of the Northern Lights from mid-August to April
  • 19.5 hours of daylight between March and September and as little as 5.5 hours of daylight during the winter months.

In 1975 Whitby Council received a letter from BP explaining that the State of Alaska had asked for help in obtaining a full-size reproduction of the statue of Captain James Cook which stands in Whitby – to be erected as part of their Bicentennial Celebrations in 1976. This done, the statue now stands in the Cook Memorial Park near the Captain Cook hotel in Anchorage.

Soon after, an invitation addressed to the Whitby Town Mayor arrived asking the Mayor to attend the 200th Anniversary of Cook's voyage which was to discover Cook Inlet. The Mayor was unable to attend but an invitation was issued by Anchorage to become a 'Sister City'. The twinning became official on 1 June 1978.

It is thanks to the members of the Anchorage Sister Cities Commission, that Whitby has a replacement Whale Bone Arch situated on the West Cliff overlooking the harbour. Members of the sister Cities Commission learned that Whitby's original whale bone arch was in a serious condition and would need to be removed, they worked tirelessly in sourcing, cleaning and transporting the present whale jaw bones which were unveiled in April 2003 by the Mayor of Anchorage.

Whitby has hosted visitors from Anchorage on a number of occasions the last was to celebrate 40 years of twinning between both Towns.

Cooktown, Queensland, Australia

Cooktown is one of Queensland's oldest historic towns, and was founded in 1874 as a supply port for the goldfields along the Palmer River, but it was named after Captain Cook who landed there in 1770 for 48 day to repair his damaged ship 'Endeavour'.
Cooktown is the access point for the Great Barrier Reef and Lakefield National Park which includes Mount Cook, 431m (1,415ft). The summit of this mountain gives spectacular views of Cooktown and the Great Barrier Reef.

The biodiversity is unusually rich in this area as it is close to three mayor ecozones and contains a large proportion of 3,000 plant species and more than 500 terrestrial vertebrates recorded to the Cape York Peninsula. This region contains many rare or unusual species which are of great interest to botanists and zoologists.

The Discovery Festival is an annual three-day event which takes place each year to celebrate the landing of Lt James Cook and his meeting with the local Guugu Yimithirr and Kuku Yalanji people. This festival stages a fully costumed re-enactment of Cooks Landing as well as showcasing indigenous arts, culture, and history.

In September 1986 Cook Shire Council received a letter from Norman Taylor who was sailing from Townsville to Whitby in 1987 and calling into Cooktown as part of the Cook Bicentennial Celebrations. He is a native of Whitby and sailed in the 'Whitby Lass'.

Cooktown suggested a twinning link which was received with great enthusiasm by members of Whitby Town Council. The agreement was conveyed to Cooktown via Mr & Mrs G Stead, Whitby Travel Agents. Cooktown and Whitby were twinned on 26 August 1987.

Norman Taylor left Cooktown on the 18th September 1987 with many items of local interest, historical and present, to be passed onto Whitby Town Council and other relevant bodies.

Waimea, Kauai, Hawaii

Waimea which means reddish water is on the Island of Kauai, and the oldest of the Hawaiian Islands. Kauai was settled by the Polynesians a millennium ago. On 20 January 1778, Captain Cook first stepped on to the Hawaiian Islands at Waimea – this first exhibition was scientific and social exploration and was responsible for the vast resource of information about the flora, fauna, and culture of the Hawaii. The Island of Kauai unified with the rest of the Hawaiian Islands in 1810.

Kauai is dominated by Mount Waialeale (1,598 metres) at the centre of the Island and its summit is known as one of the wettest places on earth. This Island is the only one of the Hawaiian Islands that has the only consistently navigational rivers.

Waimea developed as a provision port for the whaling and Sandalwood traders. Sugar was once the economic mainstay of Kauai, but unfortunately production has now declined, and tourism is now one of the major occupations.

In 1987 the Mayor of Whitby received a letter from the Project Manager of West Kauai Main Street – an invitation to be their honoured guest for the dedication of a replica statue of Captain Cook which stands in Whitby (and Anchorage). Cook discovered the Islands of Hawaii on 20 January 1778. An invitation also arrived to establish a 'Sister City' relationship with Whitby. The towns were twinned on 8 September 1987.

The invitation to go to Kauai to commemorate the landing of Cook through the Annual Cook Celebrations was accepted by Councillor Miss Kenyon who visited from 16 to 28 February 1988.

A young person was also invited to run in the Captain Cook Capers. Jill Ventress was chosen, given a grant by Whitby Town Council and collected sponsorship from local firms. Jill was the first woman home and 8th overall.

Invitations were sent to Waimea for the 1988 Whitby Regatta but unfortunately the Mayor could not attend.

Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

The Falkland Islands are a British Crown Territory which are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean. The Islands are rich in marine wildlife and bird life, which include Rockhopper Penguins, Black Browed Albatrosses, and the rare Striated Caracaras (the world's rarest bird of prey). The Islands have mountain ranges reaching 700m (2,300ft).

The first recorded landing on the Islands was in 1690 by an Englishman, Capt. John Strong, who named them the Falkland Island in honour of Anthony Cary, 5th Viscount of Falkland who sponsored his journey. They remained uninhabited until 1765 where Captain John Byron RN claimed them for King George III and ships have used the ideal geographical location of the Falkland Island for repairs and taking on supplies.

Although there have been a few well documented issues regarding the ownership of the Islands, the Falkland Islands became a British Crown Colony in 1840 which became financially independent of Britain in 1881.

In 1981, Sir Rex Hunt, then Governor of the Falkland Islands, visited Whitby and Whitby Town Council agreed to enter into a 'twinning' arrangement with Port Stanley, the principal town in the Islands. The reason behind the twinning being the association with Captain Cook, who sailed in Whitby built ships on his great voyages and took over South Georgia on behalf of the Crown. Whitby and Stanley both have whalebone arches as distinctive features of the town. The towns were twinned on 13 August 1981.

In 1982, Whitby Town Council set up an appeal for funds to provide relief and practical assistance for the people of the Falkland Islands. The money was sent to the National Falklands Appeal.

In 2015 Whitby and Stanley celebrated 35 year as twin towns. Paintings were exchanged of the whale bone arches in our respective towns – local artist John Freeman donated a painting of the Whitby's Whale bone Arch, and Stanley local artist Vicky Chater a painting of Stanley's Whale bone arch (available to see in the Town Council Offices) to mark this anniversary.

West Wyalong, New South Wales, Australia

West Wyalong, in New South Wales, Australia, is situated at the crossroads of two major highways – the Newell Highway between Brisbane and Melbourne and Midwestern Highway between Sydney and Adelaide.

Gold was discovered in 1893 and a settlement was established in 1895. The main street in West Wyalong is different to many towns in Australia and is nicknamed the crooked mile as its layout followed the bullock track and has kinks in the road to avoid trees.

When the last gold mining declined, West Wyalong became the main service centre for agriculture in the surrounding district. In 1907, Eucalyptus oil production was established and West Wyalong became a major exporter

In August/September 1987, Graham Barron, a member of Bland Shire Council, visited Whitby on a Rotary exchange trip and met the Town Mayor and Councillors. Following his visit, an invitation arrived asking Whitby to enter into an affiliation with the Shire of Bland, based in West Wyalong, New South Wales.

Whitby Town Council wrote back in January 1989 offering a formal twinning agreement between the two towns. This was duly signed on 7 March 1989.

Initially this area of Fremantle was agricultural, which became mainly residential following the goldrush in the 1890, with the municipality of East Fremantle being created in 1897. Further developments were created in the late 1940s and 50s to provide dwellings for new immigrants to Australia.

The Swan River is one of the natural boundaries to the northwest of East Fremantle. This river was named after the famous black swans which inhabit it. The Swan River was the main transport link between Perth and Fremantle until the railway system was built. There are also two major highways which pass through this suburb linking East Fremantle to Perth.

The replica of HM Bark Endeavour was built and launched in Fremantle. Following its launch, the replica ship embarked on an international voyage visiting a variety of ports. The first visit to Whitby was in 1997, attracting thousands of visitors to the town to watch the ship sail into its 'spiritual home', this visit was followed by two more in 2002 and 2003.

Following the successful visit of HM Bark Endeavour to Whitby, the Town Council was approached by the Town of East Fremantle Council to organise a formal Twinning Link which was carried out in April 1997.

NUKU’ALOFA, TONGA – twinned 1 February 1983

The Kingdom of Tonga also known as the Friendly Islands is an archipelago situated in the South Pacific Ocean. This archipelago is made up of 170 islands, of which 36 are inhabited and divided into 3 main groups Vava'u, Ha'api and Tongatapu.

Nuku'alofa is the capital of the largest of these groups – Tongatapu, this name translates to 'Sacred South', and encompasses over one third of the whole population of Tonga. Because of its coral formation, there are no surface streams, and all fresh water must be collected in rain catchments or taken from wells.

In 1773 Captain Cook arrived on Tonga. He named the archipelago, the Friendly Islands because of the affectionate people who welcomed him with abundant hospitality, typical of Tonga to this day, when they greet visitors with smiles, songs and flowers. Cook arrived in the 'Resolution' which was a Whitby built ship.

In 1982, the Mayor of Whitby received a letter from Mr Frankie Desmond, an entertainer working on the cruise ship, 'Oriana' and frequent visitor to Tonga. He asked if Whitby would consider making the Tongan Capital, Nuku'alofa, a twin town. In January 1983 Mr Desmond delivered a gift from the people of Nuku'alofa.

Later in 1983 Mr & Mrs Best, a Whitby couple went to Tonga and were the first ambassadors since twinning was confirmed.

In July 1984 Mr Desmond suggested a show of Yorkshire Artists at the Spa in Whitby to raise money for the Deaf and Dumb Unit set up by the Red Cross in Tonga. A Variety Show was held on Sunday 9 December 1984.

Whitby is a town in Durham Region of Ontario, Canada, and is located in Southern Ontario, east of Ajax on the north shore of Lake Ontario and is home to the headquarters of Durham Region of Canada.

The Whitby Township was named after the seaport town of Whitby, North Yorkshire. When this area was originally surveyed in 1792 by a surveyor from the north of England named the townships after towns from that region – Whitby, York, Scarborough Pickering and Darlington. But it was not until 1836 that a business centre was established by Peter Perry Whitby's founder. The natural harbour on Lake Ontario was Whitby's chief asset – it was from here the grain from the farmlands to the north was first shipped in 1833.

Although Whitby is home to a steel mill, retail support centre and a major Liquor Control Board of Ontario warehouse plus other manufacturing - many residents commute to work in other Greater Toronto Area communities.

Twinning links were officially established in 1976, although unofficial links with Whitby, Ontario go back as far as the 1950s. There have been a few official visits from Canada over the years, and on 6 May 1980 the twinning links were reaffirmed.

Whitianga is located on the Coromandel peninsula which is renowned for its pristine beaches and misty forest making it one of New Zealand's most popular holiday destinations. Whitianga is short for Te Whitianga-o-Kupe which translates as Kupe's crossing place.

Included in the history of this area is the observation on 5November 1769 of the Transit of Mercury by Lieutenant James Cook RN, Commander, after which he named this bay. In the 1800's and early 1900's Whitianga was a timber port where ships from Europe sailed in to load up with Kauri - this timber was valued for its strength and ability to withstand sea-water conditions (ideal for ship masts and hulls).

Whitianga today depends on fishing, farming, and tourism. Cathedral Cove was used in the film 'The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian' – which has promoted this area.

Whitianga is well known for its annual Whitianga Scallop Festival which is a weekend of indulgence with more than 60 food and wine stalls and seafood cooking demonstrations.

Continuing the links with Captain Cook, Whitianga's Community Council contacted Whitby Town Council regarding twinning links. Residents of Whitby Mr & Mrs Brown visited Whitianga as the town's representatives and delivered the twinning documents in person.

Whitby is a large suburb of Porirua City, New Zealand, which is located along much of the southern shore of the Pauatahanui Inlet of Porirua Harbour, and comes under the governance of Porirua City Council. This area has been continually developed and landscaped to enable expansion into the hills to facilitate the future growth of this suburb.

There have been unofficial twinning links with Whitby, New Zealand since the 1970s - in August 1975 Maori Queen, Dame Te Ata-i-rangi-kaahu, visited Whitby, and was received by the then Mayor Councillor Mrs Kathleen Pinkney.

The twinning links were made official in March 2002 when Councillor Hatton from Whitby Town Council visited Whitby and personally delivered the signed Twinning Documents on behalf of Whitby Town Council.