Three Pilbara legends leaving
One of the Pilbara’s most recognisable and colourful residents for the best part of half century has called time on his life in the red dirt.
Glenn Connell has never been one to shy away from the spotlight during his 43 years in the region — his short shorts, “flanno”, boots and big hat have made him a local legend, while his penchant for chewing people’s ears off has left those who have met him usually with a unique story to tell.
For the past 23 years the historic Pyramid Station has been his home, a place of many tales to which the Connell family has added plenty more.
Mr Connell’s chapter in the history of Pyramid Station is coming to an end.
He is moving to a farm in New Norcia, so he can spend more time with his wife and two daughters.
“I’ve seen this place change a lot since 1974 from being a kid riding out on the train to Samson jetty, to Karratha which was just a shopping centre and the development of Bulgarra,” he said.
“I used to drive through Karratha and I would always say ‘one day, there will be traffic lights here’. There were a few predictions I made way back then which actually have turned out right.
“I have a lot of great memories, there will be a lot I’ll miss about living out here ... don’t you worry about that.”
Not only has Mr Connell been a quirky character in the region, he has also been one of its biggest advocates for acknowledgement of the Pilbara’s pastoral history.
He has a room full of historic artefacts found on his many ventures out and around Pyramid Station as well as a head full of stories from former pastoralists and early settlers’ ancestors who have taken the time to stop by.
The stories may be lost with Mr Connell’s departure, but he said the artefacts would remain boxed up to be donated to whoever “gets their s .... together” and builds a museum in Roebourne.
Mr Connell said the move to New Norcia would bring his family back together again.
“I’ve been out here three years by myself and the girls have been in town,” he said.
“I never thought I’d leave the Pilbara — you hear people say all the time, ‘the red dust gets in your blood’.”
Mr Connell won’t be without some of his Pilbara comforts — his legendary hat will still be on his head and he says while he has no idea how he will do it yet, his extensive horn collection will be moving with him too.
Sheila the donkey, the one he rode at the Pannawonica Rodeo, will also go come along for the ride as will Sheila’s best mate, a pet cow named Butterfly.
Nr Connell said there was every chance he would enter Sheila in horse competitions down south.
The current managers at nearby Mallina Stationwill move into the Pyramid Station homestead to begin writing a new chapter in the Pyramid Station story.
Pyramid Station manager Glenn Connell. Inset: Mr Connell and his donkey Sheila in the local barrel race at the Robe River Rodeo in Pannawonica.