Featured artist: Shannon Crees


Featured artist: Shannon Crees
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Out and about


Relationship with Marrickville

Marrickville has had a sister city relationship with Funchal since 1996.

A sister city relationship with a city in Portugal was an obvious choice given the substantial number of Portuguese people now living in the Marrickville local government area, particularly in Petersham.

Marrickville's relationship with Funchal has been active through a number of delegations over the years.

Funchal's dramatic coastlineGeography and climate

The island of Madeira is located in the middle of the north Atlantic Ocean. It is around 600 kilometres from coast of Morocco and less than 1000 kilometres from mainland Portugal.

Funchal is the capital of the Madeira Islands and Madeira is the largest island in the archipelago. It is almost 60 kilometres long and 737 square kilometres in area. 

Madeira experiences mild temperatures throughout the year.

Local life and traditions

  • Funchal was elevated to the status of a city by King Manuel I of Portugal in 1508, and celebrated 500 years of history in 2008.
  • Funchal is famous for its handcrafted embroidery and beautiful tablecloths. In Funchal's medieval 'Old Quarter', Santa Maria Maior, you can find embroidery houses and arts and crafts spaces.
  • Tourists flock to Funchal's market, the Mercado dos Lavradores, to buy flowers, tropical fruits, vegetables, fish and other local products.
  • The Se of Funchal is the only cathedral outside continental Europe that is considered Gothic. It combines late Gothic art with Flemish and neo-Islamic influences. Construction of the cathedral started in 1493 and was completed in 1517.
  • Funchal is home to several museums, including Sugar Town Museum (Madeira was a sugar trading hub in the fifteenth century), Museum of Sacred Art, Contemporary Art Museum, and the Electricity Museum.
  • Popular local pastimes include canoeing, golfing, diving, fishing, paragliding, sailing, windsurfing and boating.

Festivals of FunchalFestivals

  • Funchal's Flower Festival, held in April, sees the city completely decorated with carpets of flowers and murals brimming with plants. There is also a street parade with flower girls and themed vehicles.
  • Funchal has held an annual jazz festival since 2000. Funchal Jazz brings together musicians from Madeira as well as national and international performers to play at Quinta Magnolia Gardens in July.
  • The most popular Christian festival in Madeira is the Festival of Nossa Senhora do Monte. On 14 August every year, thousands of people on the island congregate in the parish of Monte to eat traditional espetada (beef on a skewer), sing and dance. On the following day, 15 August, there is a mass followed by a procession dedicated to Santo de Guarda (Guardian Saint).
  • The Madeira Wine Festival is held every September to mark the beginning of the grape harvest.
  • Madeira is famous for its New Year's celebrations. In fact, it holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest fireworks display in the world, which took place on New Year's Eve in 2006 and involved 17 tons of fireworks.

Food and wine

Madeira has an abundance of unique wines. The island's wine industry dates back to the seventeenth century, when its sugar cane plantations were replaced by vineyards. There is even a wine museum in Funchal.

Madeira wine is rich, fragrant, full bodied and is the only wine that can keep indefinitely, with no recommended drinking periods.

There are four styles of Madeira wine which are named after their grape varieties: Sercial, Verdelho, Boal and Malvazia.

Popular dishes include filete de espada (scabbard fish fillets), bife de atum (tuna steak), atum de escabeche (tuna with vinegar sauce), carne de vinho e alhos (meat with wine and garlic), milho frito (fried maize) and bolo do caco (local bread).

Madeira Fruit Trilogy (serves 4)



  • 450mL milk
  • 375g sugar
  • 400g egg yolk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 100g pulp of mango
  • 850g Chantilly cream

Panna cotta

  • 400mL milk
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 1 sheet gelatine
  • 40g sugar
  • 8 passionfruit
  • 300mL sorbet

1. For the parfait, beat the egg yolks with sugar in a bowl and let it stand. Heat the milk but do not allow it to boil. Add the egg yolk mixture, beating together until creamy. Add the mango pulp and cool in the refrigerator for two hours. When cold, add the Chantilly cream and mix well.

2. For the passionfruit panna cotta, boil the milk with a sprig of vanilla. Add the gelatine leaf and sugar. Pour into individual glasses and let cool in the fridge for three hours. Pour the pulp of two passionfruit over the milk in each glass.

3. Serve the two desserts with a ball of fruit sorbet (coconut, lemon or orange).

Funchal's portFun fact

The name Funchal comes from funcho (wild fennel), which once grew in the area but was uprooted to make way for sugar plantations. Madeira is Portuguese for 'wood'. It is thought the island got its name as it was once completely overgrown with monumental trees, which have since been cleared to make way for agricultural land and dwelling space.

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