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PORT HEDLAND

 

HEMA Map reference 78/D5

 

20 18' 58" S 118 35' 43" E

 

 

Where is this?

Climate data for Port Hedland
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average Temp high C 36.4 36.1 36.8 35.2 30.6 27.6 27.1 29.1 32.3 34.8 36.2 36.6 33.2
Average Temp low C 25.5 25.5 24.5 21.4 17.2 14.2 12.3 13.2 15.4 18.4 21.3 24 19.4
Rainfall mm 59.4 96 48.3 22.7 27.4 20.9 11.3 4.9 1.3 0.9 2.5 18.4 313.6
Source: Bureau of Meteorology

 

 

 

Statistics

 

Km from Perth

1761 / 1660

Population

15000

Autogas

Available

Telecentre

 

 

Include

 

Caravan Parks

 

South Hedland

 

08 9172 1197

Cooke Point

Visit website

1800 459 999

Port Hedland

 

08 9172 2525

 

Accommodation

 

Hospitalty Inn

Visit website

08 9173 1044

 

Services

 

Hospital

08 9158 1666

Police

08 9173 1444

Fire

08 9173 3666

SES

08 9173 1720

RAC

08 9172 1680

Visitor Centre

08 9173 1711

 

Attractions

 

Pretty Pool, Cemetery Beach, Finucane Island, The harbour, Spoil bank, Lions Park, Mining Museum, Dalgety House museum, Six Mile Creek, Redbank Tidal Creek, DeGrey River, Observation tower.

 

Buildings of note

 

St. Mathew's 1917, Mundabullangana wool shed 1927.

 

Calendar Of Events

 

January: Australia Day, March: Rotary charity ball, April: ANZAC Day, May: Welcome to Hedland night,  June: Black Rock stakes. August: Spinifex spree festival. Hedland Cup. September: Pilbara music festival, Art awards, Nindji Nindji festival. October: yacht club events, November: Turtle nesting season, December: Carols by candle light.

 

Salt works

Ore carrier

Ore loading facility

 

Description

 

The differing distances from Perth shown on the left depend on whether you take the more scenic coastal route or the quicker inland route.

The coastline near Port Hedland was first explored by Europeans in the seventeenth century when a number of Dutch vessels bound for Batavia sailed too far south and found the Australian coast instead. In 1616 Dirk Hartog passed through the area and in 1628 the Vyanen, commanded by Gerrit Frederikssoon De Witt, ran aground just west of the present site of Port Hedland.

During the 1860s a number of explorers including
F.T. Gregory explored the area.

In April 1863 Captain Peter Hedland anchored his cutter Mystery in a huge natural harbour which he named Mangrove Harbour. Captain Hedland was searching for a place to land stock being carried by the barque Tien Tsin for the De Grey station further east. However due to severe tides and lack of fresh water Hedland returned south to a smaller harbour which became known as Tien Tsin (later renamed
Cossack.)

Peter Hedland operated his small ship along the north west coast and made frequent journeys to
Fremantle to collect supplies for the pastoralists. He was a vital lifeline for the early settlers and it is fitting that his name is now associated with one of the largest centres on the north west coast.

Mystery surrounds his death, but it is thought that he was speared to death by Aborigines near the Nichol (today it is spelled Nikol) River. His body was never found. He was survived by his wife and 11 children. It is often claimed that he was of Dutch origin but his living relatives in Western Australia say he was Swedish.

Three years after Peter Hedland discovered it, Mangrove Harbour was investigated as a possible town site and port but surveyor Charles Wedge concluded that there was a difficulty of access which, when combined with a lack of good natural water, made settlement difficult.

Charles Nairn arrived in 1863 to establish the De Grey River Station after travelling 260 kilometres from Cossack.

In the late 1870s Port Hedland, like
Broome further to the north east, gained a reputation as a wild frontier settlement as pearling luggers began using it as a stopover point. At one time the port was home to over 150 luggers and their crews.

At this time the town was serving the surrounding pastoral interests. Interest in the Port Hedland area was rekindled in 1891 when exports from
Nullagine and Marble Bar goldfields (south east of Port Hedland) became too much for the Cossack port.

The Port Hedland town site was gazetted in October 1896 and a jetty and an 8 Km causeway over the marshes into the town were completed by 1899. First shipment of gold bullion was exported in 1900 and Port Hedland rapidly emerged as the Pilbaraís major port.

The Aboriginal name for the areas was Marrapikurrinya (place of good water). This is interesting as early explorers had a lot of trouble finding water and water shortages persisted until 1953. Other names suggested for the town were; Mandarinah, Moorcunah and Withnell.

Transportation from Marble Bar to the coast was difficult and in 1911 the government built a railway from the coast to the gold mining town. The line operated until October 1951 and lost over 1,144,000 pounds during its lifetime.

Hedland overshadowed itís nearby neighbour at Condon (near the mouth of the De Grey River) and as Hedland expanded, so Condon dwindled. In the end Condon ceased to exist at all.

From the end of World War 1 until the development of the regionís iron ore industry in the mid≠1960s, Port Hedland operated as a typical remote port exporting wool, livestock, gold, pearl shells and importing supplies for the small and isolated communities in the hinterland.
 

The mangrove flats cut off the town from the hinterland and at high tide it was sometimes impossible to cross even though a causeway had been constructed.


The town was bombed by the Japanese during World War II but the loss of life was much lighter than either Broome or Darwin.

Although the town site was gazetted in 1896, it wasnít until the 1960s with the discovery of iron ore that the port facility really grew rapidly.

On the 27th on May 1966 the first bulk ore carrier berthed at Port Hedland and the modern era of ore shipments had begun. It does seem a little sad though that Australia digs up its resources, sends them overseas to be turned into product and then buys them back at ten times the price. If governments had been more far sighted and really did care about this country then our raw materials would be processed here instead.


Port Hedland is now a major deep water port and is supported by the satellite town of South Hedland. There is a large modern shopping centre and all the normal facilities available on large towns.

 

In 2004-5 Port Hedland became the first port in Australia to export more than 100 million tonnes of ore. It is envisaged that this will ore than double in the next few years.


Sadly South Hedland is an unattractive town, it seems to have been developed as a dormitory to house workers with little thought to making it attractive. Thankfully the old town on the coast is much more attractive and is worth a visit. Friday or Saturday night fish and chips down at the Yacht Club is one of the favourite past times of the locals and tourists alike.
 

 

 

 

 

I'm lost please take me home...

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