A Brief History
In 1951, the U.S. State Department and U.S. Information Agency initiated the making of the motion picture, "Small Town Editor", for use in foreign countries to encourage a rural press to supplement the usually government controlled news. This film, made in Littleton, featured Houstoun Waring, editor of the Littleton Independent, who had achieved national recognition for his editorials on foreign affairs. This film has been put on video and is available to check out at the Bemis Library.
W.B. (Curly) Annabel of the Bega District News in New South Wales, Australia, saw the film, which dealt with the people, goals and production of the Littleton Independent. Entranced by the similarity of Bega and his newspaper with Littleton and its newspaper, Annabel began a correspondence with Waring in December 1954 and visited the Waring family the next summer.
When President Eisenhower urged sister-city relationships, Annabel and Waring decided in 1960 to form a bond between the two cities. This led to an invitation from Annabel for the Warings to attend Bega Week in February, 1961. While there, they consummated the association between Bega and Littleton, communities 9,000 miles apart, to became the first Australian and U.S. sister cities.
In August 1961, Annabel brought four young people to Littleton for Western Welcome Week. Thereafter, the custom was established for Littleton to send a delegation on the one and six years of the decade and a Bega delegation visits Littleton on the three and eight years. The March 2006 Littleton delegation visit is the tenth official visit to Bega.
The delegates are hosted by member families and get a taste of home life and community activities in addition to tours of the immediate area. A high point of each visit is the International Civic Dinner attended by the delegates, government representatives of both countries, members of various civic organizations and other community members.
Over the past almost 50 years many Littleton and Bega members have returned to visit friends made on previous trips. The relationships between members of the sister-cities groups has grown over the years. All of this having started through the efforts of the two visionary community leaders — Houstoun Waring (1901-1997)and Curly Annabel (1907-1999)
Visit the Littleton History Pages for more information about the Bega/Littleton sister city relationship.