Chinese translations have been added to some Adelaide city signage.

common origins in Francis and William Light


GEORGE TOWN, THE CAPITAL CITY OF PENANG IN MALAYSIA, was the most obvious choice for an Adelaide sister city.

The link was formed by Adelaide City Council in 1973 after being suggested by premier Don Dunstan.

But the connection goes back to British ships’ captain Francis Light who claimed what he called Prince of Wales Island in 1786 as a trading port for the British East India Company in exchange for military protection to the Sultan of Kedah.

The trading post grew quickly and soon the island had Chinese, Malay, Indian and European settlers. Francis Light planned a city called George Town, named after the British king and laid it out in a grid pattern.

Light never married his lifelong partner Martina Rozells, probably of Thai-Portuguese background. The couple’s first son, William, grew up in George Town before going school in England when he turned eight.

After a navy career in the navy, William Light arrived in the British colony of South Australia in 1836 and surveyed the city of Adelaide on a grid layout.

Adelaide’s other sister cities are:

  • Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand, since 1972
  • George Town, Penang, Malaysia, since 1973
  • Himeji, Hyogo, Japan, since 1982
  • Austin, Texas, USA, since 1983
  • Dalian, Liaoning, China, since 2001
  • Chengdu, Sichuan, China, since 2001
  • Qingdao, Shandong, China, since 2001

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