25 years of 'sisterhood' celebrated in concerts

ARARAT - The spectacle of the Taishan No 1 High School's amazing performance was enjoyed by more than 1500 people from the region during the school's visit to Ararat this month.

Six concerts were held during the six days the school spent in Ararat, with the party including 12 children aged 14 to 18 and 10 teachers and support crew, all of whom were home stayed by Ararat families.

Ararat Rural City Council manager of economic development and cultural development Clyde Humphries said the performance was enjoyed by all who attended, particularly the performance by the Taishan No 1 High School principal Mr Li.

"Mr Li played his Erhu and people had tears in their eyes it was just so beautiful, he just made those two strings talk," Mr Humphries said.

"The dancing was all colourful and it was really good."

The visit of the high school performance group was part of Ararat's Sister City agreement and while here they also toured Melbourne, visited Brambuk and a shearing shed and went shopping.

"It was a real success, in terms of making Ararat aware of its culture and the links, which was emphasised the whole time, because without the Chinese there would be no Ararat - it is as simple as that," Mr Humphries said.

"That's probably the main thrust - of making Ararat people aware, it is their culture, it is their link and it is a very unique link that they should be proud of."

Mr Humphries said it's been 18 years since Ararat signed the Sister City agreement with Taishan, however, in talking to former Member of Parliament and Ararat local Dick de Fegely, he discovered it was actually seven years before that that initial contact was made with the Chinese Government.

"So it's been 25 years since diplomatic relations were opened up to look at a Sister City," Mr Humphries said.

Mr Humphries said between Sister City Taishan and Ararat's three Friendship Cities there is a population of 17 million people.

"It's amazing, our little municipality of 11,500 people has direct official diplomatic contact with 17 million people and when you think about it is mind blowing," Mr Humphries said.

"It is something we shouldn't be afraid of saying, that uniqueness of being the only town in Australia founded by the Chinese, we should be proud of that and develop it a bit more."

Later this month a delegation from Taishan government will visit Ararat to mark the 155th anniversary of the Chinese settlement of Ararat.

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