Littleton's Sister City

The sister city of Littleton, Colorado, is Bega in New South Wales, Australia. Littleton was the first city in the United States to establish a relationship with a sister city in Australia. The connection between the cities started in the 1950s when the editor of a paper in Littleton starred in a film designed to encourage small papers overseas to publish independent information for readers. The movie was seen by a similar publisher in Bega. The Australian publisher saw a number of similarities between the two papers and started a long correspondence. Both men eventually visited each other in both Littleton and Bega. The sister city status of Littleton and Bega was made official in 1961.

One of the primary reasons for the sister city program is to allow the citizens of each city to explore and experience cultures from other parts of the world. The programs in each city help to fund the costs of travel between Littleton and Bega with the help of an international organization. This allows average citizens of each city to travel to a foreign country when the opportunity might not have existed otherwise. Citizens from Bega who come to Littleton are often hosted by a family in the city. The same is true when families or students travel to Bega. A schedule was established decades ago that states that a delegation will visit every two to three years. The destination city alternates with each visit. Visitors from Bega usually arrive during the Western Welcome Week and march in the parade.

The relationship between Littleton and Bega can be seen in each city. Both cities have a publicly displayed plaque showing the two men who first established the bond. Littleton has a public park named Bega Park that contains a map showing Australia and the Western United States emphasizing the 9,000 miles between the sister cities. Bega maintains Littleton Gardens and a technical college in a building called the Littleton House. There is also a Littleton Café in Bega. The two cities exchange letters between schoolchildren and communicate online. Many people travel to Littleton or Bega during the year just to visit friends that have been made over the years.

Bega is actually a small town similar to how Littleton was in the past. It has a population of just under 5,000 people. The city is located near scenic beaches in New South Wales. Bega is largely an agricultural town that produces dairy products. The name of the city is likely a version of an Aboriginal word that means beautiful. The city is the economic center of the surrounding Bega Valley. It is home to one of the largest cheese making companies in Australia. The city is famous for producing Bega cheese.