Governor shown the ‘new’ Pilbara
Governor of Western Australia Kerry Sanderson visited a long list of community organisations and schools on a whirlwind tour of Pilbara last week.
The State’s first female governor, who spent five days in Karratha, Roebourne and Port Hedland hosted by the Pilbara Development Commission, said she wanted to learn about on-theground developments in a region she had had a lot to do with over the years in her positions on the Dampier and Fremantle port authorities and on various boards and committees.
“I wanted to come and visit and learn more about what was happening in the region from the people, but also to congratulate those who are working in the region, particularly in voluntary capacities or in education or health, because all of that is what holds a community together,” she said. “I also was very interested in the plans for Karratha — I was on the portfolio with LandCorp ... so I was really thrilled to be able to see what Karratha had become with the plans that I saw on paper.”
The Governor said she was impressed by how cosmopolitan Karratha had become since she last visited in 2007.
She began her Karratha and Roebourne visit with a civic reception on Sunday, August 21, before spending time at organisations including the Business Centre Pilbara, St John Ambulance sub-station and the Woodside North West Shelf Visitor Centre, and taking a trip to Murujuga National Park.
Mrs Sanderson also visited local schools including Karratha Senior High School, St Luke’s College, and Tambrey Primary and Wickham Primary schools, and spoke to Pannawonica Primary School students via video link.
Pilbara Development Commission chief executive Terry Hill said the organisation had been pleased to give the Governor a chance to see the changes the region had undergone.
“The visit was a great opportunity to showcase the ‘new’ Pilbara, which is characterised by liveable towns that offer quality healthcare, education and community services,” he said.
“We also celebrated the rich cultural history of the Pilbara by
touring ancient rock art sites and discussing opportunities for economic diversification through underdeveloped industries such as tourism.”
In Roebourne on Tuesday, Mrs Sanderson visited groups including Mawarnkarra Health Service before being welcomed by Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation and Big hART to the Ngurin Cultural Centre, where she was shown an abridged version of the recent Tjaabi production. NYFL director Michelle Adams said the performance had been scheduled for Mrs Sanderson as an extension of the town’s 150th anniversary celebrations and would give her an insight into the innovative cultural education going on in Roebourne.
“The most important thing is that she’s able to walk away with a sense of feeling that kids here hold onto culture,” she said. “The Governor coming up here ... represents Government.
“And it’s important for grassroots people to give a view or a feeling of ... community people driving change, and Roebourne is smashing stereotypes. And I’m so glad that the Governor was here to witness just a small part of what everybody felt.”
Mrs Sanderson finished her Pilbara tour in Port Hedland on Wednesday and Thursday.
Governor Kerry Sanderson, second from left, with Business Centre Pilbara business advisor Erin Walker, Ngurrangga Tours operator Clinton Walker, and Business Centre Pilbara chief executive Paul Jagger.
St Luke's College staff and student STEAM Fest winners with Governor Kerry Sanderson.
Governor Kerry Sanderson, centre, at Ngurin Cultural Centre with Roebourne residents, back, Robyne Churnside, Jill Churnside, Pansy Hicks, Allery Sandy and Tootsie Daniel. Front, Michelle Adams and Kasey Cheedy.