Discover your own backyard
Sophia Constantine sat down with locals to gain insight into ways to explore the town they love.
In a mining town that isn’t always recognised for its tourism value, Port Hedland offers some hidden gems that complement the town’s natural beauty, as well as the efforts of the community.
There are many things visitors can do, even on a 24-hour itinerary, and many ways residents can discover more of their own backyard.
Beautiful artwork, locally sourced handcrafted goods and Aboriginal history come together at the Port Hedland Courthouse Gallery.
Located next to the lush gardens of the Silver Star Cafe, stepping into the gallery is an oasis away from the red dirt and ocean.
It is a space where locals as well as visitors can delight in seeing and buying paintings, photographs and sculptures by some of Australia’s most prominent artists.
FORM regional communications co-ordinator Nur-Irdah Halik said the wide range of programs available at the gallery encouraged people to explore their creative side.
“People should get involved because it’s something different,” she said. “It invites them to meet people outside of their normal circle of friends.”
Those looking to build their art collection are encouraged to attend the Courthouse Gallery exhibitions held every three months, which feature a diverse collection by top indigenous artists.
Ms Halik said people were often deterred from participating in the events and workshops because they had not been involved in the arts. “Art is about feeling,” she said. “You don’t have to know art to be able to appreciate it.
“We are here to help people discover their hidden talents and nurture it. We want to act to inspire by tapping into hidden skills and encourage people to be inspired.”
West End Markets, artist workshops, exhibition openings, and the Art After Dark events are some great events to become involved in.
Visitors’ Centre and Dalgety House Museum
Despite it’s name, the Visitors’ Centre is not just for visitors.
Although it includes the usual brochures and souvenirs, it also showcases some brilliant retail goods and artworks, making it the perfect place to buy travel guides and farewell gifts.
The staff have an extensive knowledge of the Pilbara and want to see more local people use the resource.
With such a transient population, the Visitors’ Centre is also a way for people new to town to understand the place and the rich history and culture behind it.
The Dalgety House Museum is a fascinating step back in time.
It is a great resource for people who want to rekindle memories and a must-see for visitors interested in learning about Port Hedland’s history.
Tours can often seem to appeal to a niche market, but those available in Port Hedland are arguably some of the easiest and most entertaining ways to develop an understanding of the town in a short time.
A great way to connect with the rich history of the town is by taking a bus tour with one of Port Hedland’s long-standing residents, who has extensive knowledge she is eager to share.
History Tour guide and historian Julie Arif said she had always looked at tourism as a potential diversification for the local economy.
“A couple of years ago there was a negative perception of town and I wanted to turn that around,” she said. “A lot of our visitors come into town and talk among each other.
“I want people to get back on the road and pass on the information.
At the end of the tours, I generally get comments from people say-
FORM regional communications co-ordinator Nur-Irdah Halik.