Latest news and history

1960s Port Hedland

Story by Graham Williams As a first year electrical apprentice I was sent to Port Hedland in 1960 to carry out the electrical work on a large group of new State houses being built by George Thompson.  I was left by myself to do the work, lived at the Esplanade hotel, and really looked after by a [Read more…]

Event: 120 year birthday party

21 to 23 October 2016 Where:  Port Hedland, Western Australia Why:  Port Hedland was named after Captain Peter Hedland in October 1896.  It is one of the oldest towns in the Pilbara rich in history, mineral exports, diversity of people, Aboriginal culture and rock carvings.  This year the town is putting on events to celebrate it’s gazettal and history. [Read more…]

A boom bust town

Although Port Hedland continues to be the engine room of the Western Australian economy, the busiest port in Australia and the biggest minerals exporter, its economy is suffering. House prices have dropped by 50% and rents significantly more than that.  The tonnage through the Port Authority is still at record highs, but this has not saved the [Read more…]

Opinion piece: Tourism

North West Telegraph, 11 November 2015 After reading this article in the North West Telegraph on ‘tourism black hole’ and comments on Facebook that Port Hedland has nothing to offer except the port and Dalgety Museum, I thought it warranted my opinion on the subject. In my view it should be compulsory for every Australian to [Read more…]

BHP and the Minister help small business

Good news for Port Hedland and Newman businesses from Minister Mischin….”Eligible Port Hedland and Newman-based business can apply for up to $20,000 to build competiveness to successfully bid for a greater number of business opportunities within the region and beyond,” he said. Read more here:

History of South Hedland

The Port Hedland Historical Society has written a brief on the history of South Hedland, post code 6722. You can read more about it here:  History of South Hedland The oldest history of South Hedland can be seen in its signature pundul trees.  These trees are remnants of Gondwanaland forest, from before the ice ages, [Read more…]

Port Hedland Voluteer Fire Brigade

Port Hedland Volunteer Fire Brigade – Early Days In May or June of 1961, the terminus for the Port Hedland – Marble Bar Railway caught fire in the early hours of the morning.   The only fire fighting equipment available to the untrained men, who struggled with the flames, was an old Dodge Fire Engine, which [Read more…]

Port Hedland Football History

In 1962, Port Hedland was a sleepy little port with around 1,500 residents.  A new postal officer arrived in town.  It was none other than Colin Peter Matheson. Shortly after he arrived, Colin set about meeting the locals to start a football match.  Originally an umpire, he organised games for the locals until 1967 when the Port [Read more…]

MMA’s Viscount RMQ crash

A significant event for the Town of Port Hedland was the air crash of a MacRobertson Miller Airlines on 31 December 1968. My father Colin Matheson was called to the crash site to take photos (the one above) as a reporter for The West and the Hedland times.  Some history records show that twenty one passengers and five crew [Read more…]

Port Hedland Triathlon

Port Hedland has a great sporting tradition.  Football, cricket, tennis and nearly every summer sport invented has been played in the Town. Now triathlon is reaching the headlines of the North West Telegraph sporting pages. Triathlon is three events rolled into one.  A swim to wake you up, a bike ride to enjoy to location, and a [Read more…]

Cruise ships now visit Port Hedland

It’s not just ships loading iron ore that come to Port Hedland, cruise ships do now as well. Here’s what the locals think about our new visitors:

Pilbara in 1959

The Pilbara is a beautiful spot, even the town of Wittenoom. Philip Schubert  first went to the Pilbara in 1959. This film was shot by his Father and shows Port Sampson and Wittenoom. Dales Gorge was virtually unknown then.   Philip is the small boy in the film. The film also shows a truck travelling on a road carrying asbestos.  [Read more…]

Pilbara in 1947

Alex Massey writes about the 1947 Pilbara elections in the North West Telegraph, 27 March 2013, p. 19. In 1947, the seat was marginal.  Len Taplin won it in the end.  The article captures the election history of those who have represented the Pilbara. Part 1. Part 2.

What’s in a name?

Joan Foley‘s letter to the NWT 27 Mar 13 reminds me of my dad, Colin Peter Matheson’s last 6 months on this earth.  He too was a vocal opponent of the Shire’s reference to Port Hedland as “Hedland”.    In 1995 the Town of Port Hedland was planning the 100 year celebration of Port Hedland ready for [Read more…]

2011 Census

If you are planning on moving to Port Hedland, or wondering what all the fuss is about living there, here’s an update: According to the 2011 census the locality of Port Hedland has the following statistics: Number of private dwellings 6,015 Number of unoccupied dwellings on census day 17.7% Median weekly household income $2,809 Median [Read more…]