Whitby Town Council

Be Careful - Be Kind


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.

More twin towns will be added soon…