Wild weather, political visits and sport begin year
Tom Zaunmayr takes a look at what made news in the region during the first half of 2016.
The Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation announced the restoration of the Victoria Hotel in Roebourne would begin soon after securing State and Federal funding.
News broke of two local spearfishermen found dead in the water after their boat hit rocks at Mawby Island. Lawrence Smith and Matt Pennington were confirmed as the casualties, and tributes flew in thick and fast.
Dampier residents were dealt another blow when it was announced the childcare centre would be closing down, leaving parents unsure of what to do.
Pilbara police praised the public for their excellent behaviour on Australia Day. No Australia Day-related arrests were made.
Tropical cyclone Stan crossed east of Pardoo on January 31 and brought flooding to inland areas, though the coast failed to see significant rainfall.
The Karratha Visitor Centre outlined plans to turn mountain biking into a tourism drawcard with the sanctioning of tracks and the addition of clubrooms for the Burrup Mountain Bike Club.
One of Karratha’s major city centre buildings, the GP Super Clinic was finished off, with Doric recording a perfect safety record during the build.
Criticism was directed at the Ngurrawaana community for closing Gregory’s Gorge.
The community revealed big plans to turn the gorge into a tourism icon but the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation has refused to comment ever since and the gorge is yet to reopen. MARCH
The Federal Government announced hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for increased defence capabilities in the North West, with much of it mooted for Exmouth.
Tom Price woke up one day to find out it had a new resident — a female tyrannosaurus rex on a mission to bring cheer to the town.
A report into insurance premiums in the North West was revealed, with the recommendations leaving many disappointed.
The Karratha Bowls Club received the good news it would be able to lay a new green, after securing a State Government grant.
Pilbara police allayed concerns of a crime spike in Karratha, putting the perception down to more people posting on social media.
Exmouth anglers voiced their anger at a proposed plan to allow commercial fish trapping on the Gascoyne Coast, joining North West Central MLA Vince Catania and Recfishwest in their opposition. APRIL
Works began on the longawaited Dampier foreshore redevelopment, which included a new walkway, an outdoor movie screen and picnic areas.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull made a brief visit to Karratha where he indulged in a few selfies and handed over a $10 million cheque for the Arts and Community Precinct announced in 2015.
It was a big month for Federal politics in the region, with Defence Minister Marise Payne flying into Exmouth to announce the relocation of a high-tech US telescope to the Naval Communication Station Harold E Holt.
Football returned, with round one spoils of the NPFL going to the Wickham Wolves, South Hedland Swans and Dampier Sharks.
The Karijini Experience capped off a big month, wowing guests with some truly memorable events hosted in the beautiful confines of Karijini National Park. MAY
With a hot end to a dry wet season Karratha, Exmouth and Onslow each broke their April heat records, while several other towns recorded new daily highs.
Base Marine announced a huge service boost for Exmouth,
with construction beginning on a boat lifting facility to rival operations in Henderson and Dampier.
There were plenty of congratulations for Ngarluma man Patrick Churnside, who was chosen to join the Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee.
While coral bleaching was identified as a problem on reefs across Northern Australia, including the Great Barrier Reef, the Department of Parks and Wildlife revealed reefs off the Pilbara coast had remained resilient.
The Port Walcott Surf Life Saving Club wrapped up its first season with a presentation dinner at the Leisureplex. Chris Putland was named volunteer of the year.
The Murru Concert finally came to Roebourne after wowing audiences across Australia. The event was a tribute to John Pat, who died in police custody in Roebourne in 1983.
It was a big month for Karratha infrastructure, with the Quarter being completed, the new hospital site handed over for construction, and final funding confirmed for the Arts and Community Precinct.
Rio Tinto began its Groundbreakers tour through the Pilbara ahead of its 50th anniversary.
The exhibition delved into the history of Rio Tinto, Hamersley Iron and the Pilbara region.
Tragedy struck as mine worker Lee Buzzard was killed on site at Channar Mine near Paraburdoo. He was 32 years old.
The heavens opened regularly through what is typically a dry month, leading to Beats in the Heat organisers dubbing the event “Sets in the Wet”.
A wet June led to Beats in the Heat being dubbed “Sets in the Wet”.
Surfers lined up at Point Samson when Cyclone Stan formed off the coast.
Alec Tucker, Wayne Stevens and Maitland Parker sing together as the moon rises in Karijini National Park at the Karijini Experience.
Astrid Doig, 4, and Jordie Ammerer, 3 enjoyed the Dampier Lions Park bike path at its community opening day.
Mitch Wilson in the under 9’s race during a surf lifesaving meet.