Port Hedland has been called many things — but Mt Isa by the sea?
Danielle Bellamy should know. She lived most of her life in outback Queensland before moving to Port Hedland more than six years ago to help run her father’s transport business.
“I saw the place like a brand-new dollar coin, shiny and new,” Danielle recalled. “It was exciting to be living by the ocean. I soon realised the similarities to my home town, like the laid-back people, the surrounding mines, trucks, dust, hi-vis. Mount Isa by the sea. I felt right at home.”
Danielle’s experience over more than six years is testament to the adage that Port Hedland allows people to be whatever they want to be.
But it also reflects the fact that the town rewards those who commit to it.
Danielle has a strong background in transport, working in the family crane and haulage business as a rigger, driving triple and quad roadtrains, body truck driver, and franna operator: “Whatever Dad needed me to be within the crane division.”
“In 2015 we were told of the job in Hedland carting as a subcontractor, so we packed up and moved over with 15 road trains and a franna,” she said.
“The job finished, the trucks went back, and my family and I stayed to make a go of it ourselves.
“Since the move I have opened three businesses, sold one and still operate two —The Glow Spot, and Casdan Contracting.
“The saying Hedland is what you make it; yes, that is true, but it is true wherever a person chooses to live,” Danielle said.
“I lived here in 2009 and only lasted a year, because I chose to be miserable. Six years later I moved back with my family, and I could see all the possibilities, all the opportunities and a place I could settle down in.”
Danielle is engaged, to Merv, and has a 10-year-old daughter, Cassidy, who loves her friends as much as her school in South Hedland.
Merv drives for Casdan Contracting and manages the day-to-day operations of the business, with its three prime movers hauling iron ore, manganese and quarry materials; a 12-tonne tilt tray for equipment deliveries; and sand-blasting and spray-painting units.
And The Glow Spot? Who would have thought of opening a sauna business in Port Hedland — a town well-known for its brutal summers.
“It was created for the community to relax and recover,” Danielle says. “We all work hard and play hard (some play harder than others) but choices are thin on the ground when it came to looking after ourselves — mind and body.
“I wanted to create a space where people could allow themselves to slow down, give their minds a rest as well as their tired bodies.
“Saunas are well known to be therapeutic and have been used for centuries not just for relaxation but to also support the treatment of chronic conditions and various mild health concerns.
“Our saunas are state-of-the-art and use infrared heat, not steam.”
After more than six years in Port Hedland and with the experience of four businesses, Danielle champions its growth opportunities, laidback lifestyle, and the “good people who don’t have to live in your pocket but are always there if you need them”.
“From the outside I don’t think people see the benefits of Port Hedland. Most people will see money, mining jobs, red dirt and heat. Most people come here to make a dollar then get out. It’s the special ones who come here to do that but then don’t want to leave; they see the diamond in the rough,” Danielle said.
“The number of small businesses that have opened in the last couple years proves there are a lot of people here who care for Hedland and want to provide new services, think outside the box and offer something for our amazing community.”
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