It is a very modern town surrounded by some spectacular countryside. Because of it's modern appearance it is not like a country town at all, more like a suburb of
Perth that has been transported into a very remote area.
Near the tourist information centre in Newman is a large shovel known as AK shovel No. 1. In its working life it moved 66,712,000 tons of ore. The Haulpak truck
next to it moved 35 million tons during its service life.
There is finally a sealed road from Newman to Tom Price and on to the coastal highway.
Although the town is relatively new, there have been settlers in the area since 1901 when John and
Daisy Bates established a sheep station which they named Glen Garrick. (Carrick?)
Newman sits at one end of the longest privately owned railway in the world. It runs for 426km to Port Hedland. It was a closed company
town until 1981.
Temperatures and rainfall can vary greatly depending on cyclone activity in the area but the annual evaporation rate is said to be ten times higher that the rainfall.
On average it only rains about 44 days a year - a great place if you like blue skies and sunshine.
Around 100,000,000 tones of rock is mined each year which produces around 34,000,000 tones of ore. The excavated rock is carted out by around 100 huge trucks
each capable of carrying between 190 to 200 tons. The rock is crushed twice on site reducing it to minus 100mms.
Trains taking the ore to the coast usually have around 180 (sometimes up to 240) cars each carrying 105 tons. There are between 3 and 5 3500hp diesel electric
locomotives and all but 30 kilometres of the trip to the coast is downhill.
On arrival at the port the ore is crushed again before being spread on stockpiles. From here bulk ore carriers take the material all over the world but most of it
goes to Japan and China.
Newman was built in 1969 (gazetted in 1972), primarily for the workers at nearby Mount Whaleback (which is Australia's largest iron ore project) and the
unimaginatively named Orebody 29 mine.
The town takes it's name from the nearby Mount Newman which rises 1053m (1055?) above sea level. The peak was named after an explorer
Aubrey Woodward Newman who died of typhoid in 1896 while
attempting to map the area and was given the name by surveyor W.F. Rudall in the same year.
In 1957 iron ore (68.8% pure) was discovered by
Athol Stanley (Stan) Hilditch (he was actually looking for
manganese at the time) at the site at what is now the Mount Whaleback Mine.
Because there was a Government embargo on the export of iron ore from Australia, (They were afraid of the iron ore in Australia running out apparently?!?
See Iron ore for more info on this.) Stan had to wait until 1961 when the ban was lifted to start developing the site. Even then his battles
to get the site developed were not over. A long period of negotiation with possible venture partners ensued until finally he found himself in charge of an exploration
crew of 100 men making a final assessment of the ore body.
Getting partners interested in developing the mine was very difficult. The common responses were; 'Too far from the coast' and 'Iron ore isn't worth much.' Stan
persisted and eventually the project became reality.
The name Whaleback was given to the mine by geologist Tony Tomich who was looking at the wrong hill when he decided on the name.
The mine is the largest open cut in the world and tours are available by contacting the tourist information centre. The Hamersley Range is thought to contain over
33 billion tonnes of ore which means the mines have an almost indefinite life span. The long trains that take the ore to the coast for shipment can carry up to
18,000 tonnes a time. The mine produces around 30,000,000 tonnes of ore every year.
The Opthalmia Range north of Newman was named by Ernest Giles on an
expedition in 1876 while he was suffering from temporary blindness. His affliction does not appear to have dampened his sense of humour.
TALL TALES AND TRUE
No information for this section yet. If you know of something we can add here please contact us and let us know.
PROBLEM PLAYING THESE ON FIREFOX?
Turn off Enhanced Tracking Protection
Click the shield icon left of the URL near the top left
Slide Advanced Tracking Protection to OFF
(C) World Travel Guides YouTube channel.
Mount Whaleback Mine, Opthalmia Dam, Radio Hill Lookout, Waterhole Circuit, Mt. Newman, Karijini National Park, Mt. Meharry,
Mining Museum, Silver Jubilee Museum, Ethel Gorge, Wanmanna Art Site.
BUILDINGS OF NOTE
State : Pilbara
Federal : Durack
Postcode : 6753
Local Government : Shire of East Pilbara
Click on a thumbnail to see full sized picture.
Please note that using the https url will cause the photos not to show. To show photos use the standard http url.