Austin, USA

photo-icon Carlos Delgado
View original

With so many similarities between them, the decision for the Adelaide, and Austin, Texas, USA to become sister cities in 1983 was easy.

About Austin

Founded in 1836, just two years after Adelaide, Austin is the capital of Texas in the United States of America. With a population of 964,300 (2018), it, like Adelaide, has a large manufacturing base and is an emerging research and development centre for high technology. Just as Adelaide is home to several world-acclaimed universities, Austin is home to the University of Texas.

Austin, like Adelaide, has a greenbelt of park lands and a stunning river flowing through it, creating not just a beautiful and peaceful landscape, but places for recreational use and for the community to come together.

Speaking of community, Austin’s community has many influences; South American, African-American and European. This blend creates a diverse and vibrant culture, often celebrated in cultural events and festivals.

Adelaide is the first Australian UNESCO city of music; Austin is known as the live music capital of the world and is a UNESCO city of media arts. Each year Austin hosts the South by South West (SXSW) festival and conference, for creative professionals in the music, film and interactive industries. Like Adelaide, its love of art is not just limited to music however, as it has world-class museums a burgeoning fashion scene, and unique shopping experiences.

How the relationship began

On 20 December 1982, the City of Adelaide resolved that the bond of friendship between Adelaide, South Australia, and Austin, Texas be completed. They initiated the development of an association.

After a resolution passed by the City of Austin, an agreement was signed in Austin on 11 July 1983 by the then Austin Mayor, Ron Muller, and Adelaide’s then Lord Mayor Dr John Watson.

This agreement paves the way for ongoing exchanges between the two cities and its citizens – for the fostering of deeper of cultural ties, encouraging exhibitions, exchange and promotion of products and services, increasing the awareness of tourist attractions, and promoting visits between the people of the two cities.


An agreement was signed by the city mayors to strengthen the sister city ties. It was a commitment to promote exchanges between the cities and recognise their similarities.

Adelaide has an Austin Street – located between Pulteney Street and North Terrace. In April, the Chairman of the Adelaide-Austin Sister City Committee suggested a silver star be placed on the Austin Street sign post, along with the City of Adelaide coat of Arms. The decision was passed by Council.

On 17 May the Works and Parks committee approved a plan to plant trees on the southern slope of Veale Gardens, located on South Terrace in Adelaide. This became known as Austin Garden.

25 delegates from Austin visited Adelaide, injecting over $50,000 into the economy.

A memorandum of understanding was signed between the University of Texas, St Edward’s University in Austin and three South Australian universities to further joint educational and research ventures.

From 9-13 July, a 22-member study team from Austin visited Adelaide. Over 26 round table discussions were held, including one on developing Adelaide as a “Smart City”. Today this continues to be part of the City of Adelaide’s vision, as reflected in the Strategic Plan 2016-2020.

Celebrations were held in both cities to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Adelaide Austin sister city relationship.

In July, both the City of Adelaide and the City of Austin celebrated the 35th anniversary of their sister city relationship.

In October, Matt Swinney, founder of Fashion X Austin, was invited to Adelaide in a visit jointly hosted by the City of Adelaide and the South Australian Tourism Commission during Adelaide Fashion week.

In February, Four Adelaide-based fashion designers were invited to attend Fashion X Austin and to showcase their designs at the festival.

In October, Matt Swinney, founder of Fashion X Austin was invited back to Adelaide to attend the Vogue Fashion Festival.

A planned visit to Austin in March by Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor to coincide with Austin’s South-by-Southwest (SXSW) Festival had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We hope the visit can take place in 2021.

Find out more about Austin, USA