Gayndah - Zonhoven
In 1989 Gayndah twinned wtih Zonhoven , a small city Belgium. At the time, it was a very forward thinking initiative, because Zonhoven was literally at the other end of the world: unknown and very far away. The distance in kilometres has not changed in all these years; but meantime the Internet has reduced the virtual distance to a mouse click.
How it Began
The basis for this rather unusual friendship lies in a human drama that occurred in Papua New Guinea. It was there that an Australian, Mike Goebel, met Godfried Vaes from Zonhoven (at the time Secretary of Zonhoven Council), unfortunately in unhappy circumstances.
Their friendship grew and eventually led to reciprocal visits, Mike to Zonhoven and Godfried to Gayndah, Mike's home in Australia.
Both were involved with, and interested in, the wellbeing of their respective communities. The idea of a friendship agreement, or twinning, between the two communities grew and their many mutual contacts and interests led eventually to both municipalities deciding to make the relationship official.
The twinning agreement was approved in Gayndah on 13 March 1989 and in Zonhoven on 7 July 1989.
A North Burnett Regional Council sub-committee has been formed to formulate to organise celebrations and promote the 20th anniversary of Gayndah's Sister City relationship with Zonhoven, Belgium.A competition to design an official logo celebrating this occasion was conducted in Zonhoven and resulted in Veerle Weynes design been adopted by both communities.
Veerle (Centre) receiving the prize from Christine Smets (Left) and Rita Jaenen-Vaes
This Sister City relationship is unique in Australia in that Gayndah is the only town in Australia with a Sister City in Belgium. The relationship encompasses all aspects of community life including;
Arts and Culture
An official evening was held on 12 September 2009 to celebrate the 20 year milestone
Working group displaying community gifts received from Zonhoven
The working group meets every 3 months and would welcome input from community members. Contact Council on 1300 MY NBRC (1300 696 272) for further information