Dis­cover your own back­yard

Sophia Con­stan­tine sat down with lo­cals to gain in­sight into ways to ex­plore the town they love.

North West Telegraph - - Front Page -

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.

Court­house Gallery

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

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-

Pic­tures: Sophia Con­stan­tine

FORM re­gional com­mu­ni­ca­tions co-or­di­na­tor Nur-Ir­dah Ha­lik.

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