One-time res­i­dents re­turn to Newman

North West Telegraph - - News - David Eck­hart

Mem­o­ries flowed as for­mer res­i­dents joined those now liv­ing in the min­ing town of Newman for a Back to Newman re­union over the Fortes­cue Fes­ti­val week­end.

The per­son who trav­elled the fur­thest was Pauline Brown, who jour­neyed from Wagga Wagga in New South Wales to be in the town for the week­end, with other trav­ellers com­ing from Kar­ratha, Hed­land, Bun­bury and Man­durah.

Newman is cel­e­brat­ing 50 years as a town, set up in 1968 to ser­vice the em­ploy­ees of Mt Newman Min­ing Com­pany and the as­so­ci­ated in­dus­tries and busi­ness needed to ser­vice a com­mu­nity.

Or­gan­ised by lo­cal woman Lisa Rick­ert — her­self one of the early chil­dren of Newman — the ac­tiv­i­ties on of­fer for those re­turn­ing to the town in­cluded a tour of BHP’s Whale­back op­er­a­tions and vis­its to all three schools in town, as well as the an­nual Bless­ing of the Graves at the Newman Ceme­tery.

The week­end cul­mi­nated for many with a re­union din­ner hosted by the Saints Foot­ball and Sport­ing Club at its clu­b­rooms over­look­ing the evening’s ac­tiv­i­ties at the an­nual Fortes­cue Fes­ti­val.

There were plenty of sto­ries told by those re­turn­ing to those who were “new­bies” in the town.

As the con­vivi­al­ity flowed, the mem­o­ries and rem­i­nis­cences grew in em­bel­lish­ment, to the joy of those lis­ten­ing.

One thing is cer­tain — those who at­tended dis­played a misty-eyed fond­ness for their for­mer home town, while cur­rent res­i­dents were ap­pre­cia­tive of those who had re­turned and the mem­o­ries they shared.

Fifty years seem to have passed quickly since this town grew in the desert sands to the east of the min­ing ore­body.

It is hoped the next 50 will pass slowly so those who re­main can en­joy re­turn­ing for these re­union week­ends.

Crowds were down dur­ing the day at this year’s Fortes­cue Fes­ti­val but turned out in larger num­bers as the sun set and the an­tic­i­pa­tion of the fire­works dis­play grew.

Ven­dors from the lo­cal area, as well as vis­it­ing ven­dors, ringed the Capri­corn Oval with a va­ri­ety of prod­ucts for the fes­ti­val go­ers to pe­ruse and pur­chase.

Hosted and or­gan­ised by the Lions Club of Newman — the Iron Lions — the an­nual event be­gan with a pa­rade from the Newman Vis­i­tor Cen­tre to the oval, be­fore clos­ing with the spec­tac­u­lar skyshow over Goanna Oval.

Shire of East Pil­bara pres­i­dent Lynne Craigie said it was great to see lo­cal peo­ple come out and sup­port the Lions Fortes­cue Fes­ti­val.

“The vibe of the past years was back with en­thu­si­asm and pos­i­tiv­ity aplenty,” she said.

“This year saw the re­turn of the float pa­rade, and although we were miss­ing a few stall­hold­ers from past years, it was pleas­ing to see some new ones take their place.”

Cor­po­rals Leonard Oliver and Wendy Ha­gan.

Jobi and Mia Scott.

Pic­tures: David Eck­hart

Man­durah mum Ja­nine Dunk­ley and daugh­ter Eleanor try the clowns.

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