Hos­pi­tal to farewell a long-time worker

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

Kar­ratha and Dampier will lose a local trea­sure this week when the re­gion’s long­est-serv­ing hos­pi­tal worker packs her bags to re­tire to Perth af­ter al­most 50 years of ser­vice.

Anna Walkin­shaw, 73, a Scot­tish im­mi­grant who grew up in Queensland, moved to Kar­ratha 45 years ago when her hus­band was of­fered a job with Hamer­s­ley Iron.

She was soon em­ployed at Dampier Hos­pi­tal work­ing in the sup­port ser­vices depart­ment.

To­day, she is the long­est-serv­ing staff mem­ber at Nickol Bay Hos­pi­tal, where she has worked for 38 years. She is on her fifth long ser­vice leave, a record on the cam­pus.

“I am what they call the di­nosaur,” she said.

“I am the last of the peo­ple who come from Dampier Hos­pi­tal.”

Mrs Walkin­shaw said her first im­pres­sion of the Pil­bara in the 1960s was not good.

“I thought I’d died when I came to that air­port,” she said.

“A wa­ter cooler and a tin shed — that was the air­port. “There was noth­ing here. “Maybe a post of­fice, but noth­ing else.

“It was all bush from here into Dampier.”

The nearby port town had many more ser­vices and Mrs Walkin­shaw soon found a job at its hos­pi­tal. In the mid-1970s, she saw Kar­ratha be­gin to thrive as the iron ore in­dus­try ex­panded and peo­ple flooded in for min­ing work.

Nickol Bay Hos­pi­tal was soon built to ac­com­mo­date the big­ger pop­u­la­tion and Mrs Walkin­shaw was an in­au­gu­ral staff mem­ber.

She even met Pre­mier Sir Charles Court when he vis­ited for the hos­pi­tal’s open­ing.

She said her en­thu­si­asm for the job and fel­low work­ers had kept her work­ing this long.

“I’m 73 now and I’ve just fin­ished work­ing,” she said. “I think I’ve done a good job.” Mrs Walkin­shaw and hus­band Syd­ney leave to start their re­tire­ment in Perth on Fri­day.

Pic­ture: Ali­cia Per­era

Anna Walkin­shaw and hus­band Syd­ney out­side Nickol Bay Hos­pi­tal, where she has worked for the past 38 years.

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