There is no doubt that Port Hedland is a national treasure. From its beginnings in 1863 through the growth driven by the gold rush and development of a pearling industry and then the age of iron ore – when the port of Port Hedland has prospered, so has the town and the State.
With celebrations being prepared to mark 125 years since the town was gazetted, it is fitting that Port Hedland has once again entered a sustained period of growth and diversification, so there is much to celebrate.
Plans are well under way to attract new businesses and to diversify the economic base of Port Hedland. The West End Maritime Precinct is tipped to be a catalyst for that change as it becomes the home to commercial and leisure businesses, education and training facilities and cultural attractions.
Add to this the Spoilbank Marina and the Town’s Economic and Tourism strategy.
Of course, this will be underpinned by the mining sector and its exports.
The town’s association with mining runs deep and PHIC members have played a substantial role in the Port’s history.
The first iron ore shipment from Goldsworthy Mining (now BHP) left the Port in 1966, followed closely by BHP’s first shipment from Mount Whaleback in 1969.
Fortescue exported first iron ore in 2008. Roy Hill followed in 2015. Then came Mineral Resources who exported first iron ore in 2015 and lithium in 2017. Consolidated Minerals resumed manganese shipments in 2017 and Pilbara Minerals exported first shipment in 2018.
More than 50 years ago, no-one could have envisaged the size and scale of the resources industry in the Pilbara today and the volume of exports through the Port.
Today, the Port of Port Hedland is the largest bulk export port in the world, and PHIC members continue to plan for sustained growth.
At the same time, PHIC members are part of the push for a low-carbon future.
Of course, the story of Port Hedland is not limited to export volumes and royalties.
It is the community spirit of the people who live and work here, along with the outstanding natural beauty on our doorstep that makes it special.
Those who live in Port Hedland talk about a supportive welcoming community with activities and events for families, first class sporting and cultural facilities where young people meet visiting dancers from the WA Ballet Company and local BMX riders have access to top level coaches.
They talk of a relaxed lifestyle and the benefits of a coastal location, of easy access to areas of natural beauty in the region, of camping, fishing and windsurfing.
The people of Port Hedland are enterprising, innovative, accommodating and industrious. We know this because they are telling their stories through PHIC’s humans of Hedland campaign, a chance to meet some of the inspiring people of the Port Hedland community.
As one of those featured in our Humans of Hedland said: “Whatever you want to be in life, Port Hedland will allow you to be. “If you are a positive person, ready to have a go, you can succeed here.”
And that’s Port Hedland: the town, its industry, its businesses and its people stand ready and willing to deliver on its potential.
So let’s celebrate what has been achieved and look to the next 125 years.