Look back on 2015
■ A deal was done for a solar plant to be built at the Karratha Airport worth $2.3 million.
■ Member for the Pilbara Brendon Grylls opened up after a month on the back bench and said he felt refreshed and would consider his future in State or Federal politics.
■ A 4.2m public sculpture is unveiled in Paraburdoo, entitled Resilience.
■ Cyanide is found in fruit at Roy Hill mine site.
■ Chilly bin man emerges.
■ About 42 per cent of Pilbara drivers tested for methamphetamines and cannabis came back positive.
■ Yamitji Marpla Aboriginal Corporation celebrates 20 years of standing up for land rights.
■ Police crack down on drugs at mine sites with a series of FIFO operations — most offences were minor.
A coronial inquest is reopened into the death of Karratha woman Tracey Margaret Marshall after skeletal remains were found 47km south of Karratha.
The inquest later found she had committed suicide.
■ Karratha charities are bombarded with rubbish in their donation bins after Christmas. ■ The Pilbara Institute lost 22 staff as part of 1500 public sector voluntary redundancies in WA.
■ Forty people became Australian citizens in Karratha.
■ Donna Stace won the City of Karratha’s Citizen of the Year award.
■ The WA Auditor-General decided to investigate the Pilbara Underground Power Project. Their findings revealed if the State had known the true cost of the project, it might not have been funded.
■ While petrol prices dropped in the rest of the State, high prices in the Pilbara compared to the Kimberley enraged road users.
■ Roebourne police cracked down on riding quad bikes illegally on footpaths and without safety equipment.
■ Someone paints a 44-gallon drum like an Emu Export can and puts it on the Dampier Salt Flats.
■ WA Minister for Education Peter Collier slammed a $46.5 million Federal Government scheme rolled out in the Pilbara to target truancy in Roebourne and Onslow one year after it was set up.
■ The Pilbara region had a new Police Superintendent in Jo McCabe, the first female to take on the role.
■ Firefighters from across the North West are flown to the south of Perth to battle fires.
■ The Pilbara’s only magistrate says he is overloaded with work, with 5996 civil and criminal cases lodged in 2014.
The problem would be rectified mid-year, with a Goldfields magistrate to fly to Karratha three weeks a month.
■ Pilbara MP Brendon Grylls blasted FIFO practices in North West towns and called for a review of State Agreements.
■ The $13 million GP Super Clinic is started in Karratha with doors expected to open early in 2016.
■ The first sod is turned at the Damper Community Hub project.
■ A hitch-hiking cane toad is found at Roy Hill mine site.
■ Chevron was given the green light to add a fourth processing train for its Gorgon LNG project.
■ The inland Pilbara was transformed by heavy rains.
Paraburdoo and Tom Price copped 194.6mm in one week.
■ A mystery illness afflicts the Pilbara’s corellas after the big rains.
■ Balloons are released at Mairee Pool in
memory of Karratha man Matt Dobson. ■ Cyclone Olwyn misses parts of the Pilbara but strikes in Exmouth and wipes out crops in Carnarvon.
■ Redundancies at Rio Tinto hit hard with more than 200 jobs axed from the Pilbara’s coastal operations. Woodside Petroleum staff were also told there would be 300 redundancies.
■ Pilbara communities rallied against State Government plans to end services to remote communities.
■ Bulgarra residents were teed off at golfers using footpaths and roads to drive unlicensed buggies to the Karratha Country Club.
■ Premier Colin Barnett tells Onslow to “get over” the State and Chevron pulling out of locating an operational FIFO workforce in the town.
■ Pilbara trucking advocate Heather Jones was presented an award for an Outstanding Contributions to Australian Trucking.
■ The Men of the Red Earth perform a new show called Pendulum in the ghost town of Cossack.
■ The Federal Government starts a probe into the high cost of northern cyclone insurance.
■ Details of a prison jailbreak during Cyclone Christine in 2013 are finally revealed by the Office of the Inspector of Custodial Services.
Two prisoners decided to make a run for it when the power conked out at the prison. They were recaptured the next day.
■ The State Government knocks back a request by Woodside to renew the lease at its Gap Ridge facility in Karratha.
■ Medicare Locals close across the Pilbara and Kimberley.
■ The Whim Creek Hotel reopens four years after closing.
■ The Lockyer brothers, who fought in the two world wars, were also remembered at an early Anzac Day service at Whim Creek.
■ A report reveals $53.6 million was spent in the 2013-14 financial
year on 206 services and projects in Roebourne delivered by 60 groups.
■ Karratha had a cold snap not getting over 19.4C, while Marble Bar dropped to 16.3C.
■ Brookfield Multiplex is chosen to build the $207 million Karratha Health Campus.
■ Supposed billion-year-old fossils in the Pilbara were found to be mineral deposits.
■ Premier Colin Barnett scoffed at the Burrup being unprotected after a registered Aboriginal site encompassing much of the peninsula was deregistered.
■ The State Government changes its approach to remote community services by saying they will not close communities but will begin a reform process.
■ Some 950 competitors took part in the Mother’s Day Classic run in Karratha.
■ Police seized $150,000 of meth sent in a package from Asia destined for Karratha.
■ Blue Dog, prequel to film Red Dog, starts filming in the Pilbara on Karratha Station.
■ The Gossip Festival, headlined by DJ Havana Brown, is a hit in Dampier.
■ Mt Welcome Station marks more than 150 years.
■ The State Government begins the formal acquisition of more than 4300ha for Anketell Port.
■ The Pilbara iron highway marked 50 years since construction began between Tom Price and Dampier.
■ Some 300 competitors take part in the annual Red Dog Relay.
■ The WA Ballet performed at Hearson’s Cove.
■ Wickham’s Steven Saylor was found safe and well on Delambre Island after being swept away in a current while spearfishing.
■ The State Government was accused of dragging its feet on Pilbara Aboriginal projects.
■ About $4.2 million was to be spent moving a demountable courthouse to Karratha to help ease the burden of poor facilities.
■ The Shire of Ashburton passed a motion to lobby for the sealing of Tom Price road.
■ More money for fuel and accommodation is recommended in an inquiry into the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme.
■ Karratha celebrates its first year of being a city.
■ A worker is injured in a crane collapse at The Quarter in Karratha.
■ An inquiry into FIFO mental health tables a report on the issue.
■ Dampier cops a blow with the closure of the Kangaroo Hill Camp, which meant more than 200 FIFO workers were relocated to Karratha.
■ Alcohol is revealed to be a factor in three-quarters of domestic assaults in the Pilbara from 2009 to 2013.
■ Saving Animals From Euthanasia celebrated its 3000th rehomed dog in Karratha.
■ Roebourne artist Wendy Darby wins the Cossack Art Awards for the second time. ■ A refugee boat makes it as far as an oil tanker off the coast of Dampier for the second time in three years. ■ A horror month at sea, with a fishing trawler going missing and two fatal incidents off the coast.
■ A plan is approved to develop the historic pearling town of Cossack with eco-accommodation and glamping facilities.
■ Some $14,000 was raised by a team of runners at the Karratha City to Surf in memory of Lenni George, who died in 2014.
■ The North West Meat Van crew were filmed for the Outback Truckers program.
■ Tributes flow for muster pilot Rossy Rotor, who died after he crashed a new kit copter.
■ Pastoralists lock their gates to badly behaving day trippers.
■ The Aboriginal Legal Service pulled out of its Roebourne and Newman offices but pledged to continue providing services to the Karratha circuit.
■ Police tow to shore the yacht Stickly Bizness, which was allegedly involved in a drug syndicate.
■ Traffic light numbers in Karratha balloon to eight only three years after the first set of lights.
Brendon Grylls says he will go Federal if Barnaby Joyce takes the reins and vies for more independence from the Liberals.
■ Licensees in the City of Karratha sign a new liquor accord.
■ The Karratha Storm trounced the Karratha Broncoes 34-12.
■ Kyle Adams wins the open bull ride at the Onslow Rodeo.
■ The Karratha community raised $8000 to support the family of Jaiden Parent, who died in a car crash.
■ The algae plant is revived.
■ A music program provides big benefits for students in Roebourne. August 26
■ Millstream-Chichester National Park is earmarked for tourism development.
■ The findings of the Patient Assisted Travel Scheme probe recommends more money is put into the service.
■ Official statistics confirm Pilbara men’s greatest fear — they outnumber ladies more than two to one.
■ The sod was turned at the Karratha Airport for a 16,000sqm solar farm which will provide about 25 to 30 per cent of the facility’s power.
■ Twelve cyclists took part in the ride for unity over 578km, raising funds to stop violence.
■ The Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinkura peoples were determined as traditional owners of 9521sqkm of land covering the Ashburton Plains and Hamersley Plateau.
■ Laurence Overby and Karratha local Sally Latham were all-round cowboy and cowgirl of the 20th Robe River Rodeo in Pannawonica.
■ The Karratha Kats reserves win a premiership flag in South Hedland, while the Swans trumped the Dampier Sharks in a tough grand final of the North Pilbara Football League.
■ Karratha local Joel Jackson starred in the Channel 7 mini-series Not the Boy Next Door as entertainer Peter Allen.
■ Liam Payne, 16, from Karratha petitioned the State Government over high air fares.
■ The Melbourne Cup toured Karratha, as did the Chinese Consul General to Perth and Dr Harry Cooper, the TV vet.
■ Missing prawn trawler the Returner is refloated after being found at the bottom of Nickol Bay.
The body of the vessel’s skipper, Murray Turner, was discovered on board but the fates of two deckhands remained unknown.
■ The Red Earth Arts Festival wows again with a street party bringing Karratha to a standstill and a blues concert in Dampier.
■ The $35 million Karratha Airport terminal upgrade is officially opened by Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and Karratha Mayor Peter Long.
■ Onslow was in crisis with a shortage of volunteer paramedics to help cover 24-hour services.
■ Former Pilbara man Ron Jacobs controversially drove a white van with the words “Free Candy”
emblazoned in red with bloody hand prints on his way to the Burning Man festival.
■ Minister for Regional Development Terry Redman admitted advisory councils for remote services reform would never be able to represent all indigenous people at the Yule River bush meeting.
■ Karratha Bowling Club needed a $300,000 grant to improve greens or face closure.
■ Roebourne elders village opened and can house 18 people.
■ A 24-year-old man died snorkelling in Coral Bay.
■ Some 200 white-collar jobs were axed at the Chevron run Wheatstone LNG project.
■ The Pilbara Regional Investment Blueprint was launched at the Committee for Economic Development of Australia conference in Karratha.
■ The annual Roebourne men’s and women’s dinners were held.
■ Karratha Mayor Peter Long, Shire of Ashburton President Kerry White, and Shire of Exmouth President Turk Shales are all returned after local government elections.
■ Karratha publican Bart Parsons received the last seat on the Karratha council when his name was pulled out of a box after tying with Julie Pope.
■ Pilbara police adopt a UK method of targeting houses with the most police call-outs.
■ WA Country Health Services is tipped to receive $900,000 to provide specialist mental health teams for 16 to 24-year-olds in two Pilbara towns.
Six sub-acute mental health beds were also planned to be provided in a new facility in Karratha.
■ Kelly Nunn wins Wickham’s Citizen of the Year honours.
■ A national survey said the City of Karratha was the most affordable place to own a home as residents had the most money left over after mortgage repayments.
■ A trial for tourists to swim with humpback whales in Exmouth was floated by the State Government to the cautious enthusiasm of tour operators.
■ A large private investment was proposed for Onslow, with proponents meeting local stakeholders about building a $400 million to $500 million marine supply base in Beadon Creek.
■ Exmouth Shire blows up coloured sand to mark the beginning of construction of the $32 million Ningaloo Centre, which will be home to UWA Oceans Institute, the Durack Centre of Technology and a library and interpretive centre.
■ New Minister for the North Josh Frydenberg visits the Pilbara but lacks knowledge about mangoes, Red Dog and bush chooks.
■ Lanterns lit up the Dampier Foreshore on a windy night to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation.
■ Paraburdoo held a Colour Run to raise money for Beyond Blue.
■ A Pilbara local cuts his hands collecting kilograms of discarded fishing weights and line along the coast.
■ Member for Durack Melissa Price accuses airline Qantas of price-gouging.
■ A stoush erupts between Premier Colin Barnett and Minister for Regional Development Terry Redman over the renewal of a lease for a fly-in, fly-out accommodation camp in Newman.
■ The City of Karratha is approached the Department of Lands to manage deteriorating heritage buildings in Roebourne and Cossack.
■ The new Port Walcott Surf Live Saving Club hosts its last nippers event for the year.
■ An inquest into the death in custody of a South Hedland woman is told that police told medical staff she was faking her symptoms moments before she died from septicaemia and pneumonia.
■ St Luke’s student Anshula Ashish wins the $5000 Walkington scholarship.
■ City of Karratha councillors decide fullstrength alcohol should be put back on the menu at the Karratha airport for a sixmonth trial, five years after a ban was imposed.
■ Policemen, emergency services, and men from the army took the White Ribbon Day pledge to stand against domestic violence committed by males.
■ December started with a Department of Fisheries release highlighting just how many fish are caught by boat-based anglers off the coast.
Statistics found more than 16,000 spangled emperor were caught in Pilbara waters, although local fishers questioned the accuracy of the numbers.
■ The City of Karratha received a huge financial windfall through the Federal Government’s National Stronger Regions Fund, with $12 million injected into the Karratha Arts and Community Precinct.
Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation also received $2 million for the restoration of the Victoria Hotel through the same fund.
■ In Exmouth, Durack MP Melissa Price threw her support behind the proposed deepwater port and Sal Salis Eco Resort was the first to announce intentions to start humpback whale swim tours.
■ As the year wound up, Karratha’s Joel Jackson won an AACTA award for his work on Peter Allen: Not the Boy Next Door.
■ The month was not without controversy, with the City of Karratha and local politicians slamming WA Country Health Services over its handling of the Karratha Health Campus Development.
■ The end of the year saw Wickham receive the GP clinic it had long been calling for, and two presumed extinct sea snakes were found on the Ningaloo Reef.
In 2015, the Pilbara was introduced to Chilly Bin Man.
The Pilbara ghost town of Cossack were used for a homegrown contemporary dance performance that moved through many of the site’s historic buildings.
The Roebourne community sends a clear message to the State and Federal governments about remote community closures.
Karratha actor Joel Jackson.
Lexy Roodnat and Mitch Mennaugh watch as Jake, 5, plays in the Dampier “snow” flats after sub-20C temperatures.
As the sun’s first rays spread across the Pilbara landscape, hundreds of residents gathered to commemorate and honour the Anzacs at the Onslow War Memorial.
WA Ballet dancers Phoebe Sleeman, Melissa Boniface, Christian Luke, Polly Hilton, Meg Parry and Reika Sato performed at Hearson’s Cove.
One of the current crop of locomotives hard at work on the railway.
Whim Creek Hotel general manager John Smithies toasts its reopening.
Caine Hayes, 7, and Frederica Carelloo from Freedom Fairies facepainting stall at the Passion of the Pilbara festival.
North Tom Price Primary won the Nameless Jarndunmunha Festival float parade.
Cossack Art Award overall winner Wendy Darby with her winning work, Country, alongside judges Vernon Ah Kee and John McDonald, City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long and Rio Tinto general manager rail operations Zara Fisher.
Red Dog sequel Blue Dog is a coming of age story about a young boy Mick (played by Levi Miller), his family and a scrappy, one-of-a-kind kelpie (played by Pheonix).
Traditional dancers at the Strong Men’s Dinner.
The Returner being lifted into a storage yard.
BT, an orphan joey, found near Whim Creek.