A piece of Port Hedland history is being preserved in a book dedicated to seafarers and the man who was instrumental in the port becoming the commercial success it is today.

Pilbara Ports Authority today released the Port Hedland Port Control Tower book, a historical account of the port’s original control tower which became a landmark for the town itself.

The original tower at the Port of Port Hedland, officially named the Geoff Monks Port Control Tower in 1980, was built in 1968 to oversee marine traffic, monitor weather conditions and guide safe vessel movements.

Considered to be cutting-edge design for its time, it was built 85 feet above the high-water level, with sloped windows on the observation room and a range of mechanical and electronic monitoring devices fitted to the top.

In its heyday, the tower housed a single Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) officer, who would oversee about 500 vessel movements through the port each year. Today, the Port of Port Hedland has 13 VTS officers overseeing more than 3,000 vessel movements per year.

The book details the tower’s felling in September 2019 and the construction of the new fit-for-purpose Hedland Tower – an Integrated Marine Operations Centre.

Pilbara Ports Authority held a small event in its Perth office to mark the release of the book, with CEO Roger Johnston presenting a copy of the book to the Monks family in recognition of Mr Monks’ contribution to the development of the Port of Port Hedland.

“Geoff Monks was the first Harbour Master of the Port of Port Hedland, and led a great period of change during his 22 years in command at the port,” Mr Johnston said.

“He envisioned the port would be a world leader in bulk exports and played an integral part in the initiation of iron ore exports out of the Port of Port Hedland.

“Pilbara Ports Authority is proud to release the Port Hedland Port Control Tower book, which details the history of the port, the control tower and the man who contributed to its growth and prosperity.”

The book is available to download for free on the Pilbara Ports Authority website pilbaraports.com.au/about-ppa/publications.