Port Hedland

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By Nicky Way

Port Hedland is hot, really hot: winter minimum temps sit at around 25C and rise to a toasty 40C plus in summer. 

Located on the coast in WA's Pilbara region, around 1300km north of Perth, Port Hedland is a busy industrial hub of around 15,000 people (ABS 2006) and dominated by the mining and port industries. 

BHP Billiton employs 13,000 people across the Pilbara. Its iron ore comes from the massive Mt Whaleback mine, 400km to the south in a town called Newman.  At more than 5km long, it is the biggest single-pit, open-cut iron ore mine in the world.

Likewise, Rio Tinto's Dampier Salt produces more than three million tonnes of industrial salt annually for export from solar salt ponds. Other natural resources that are exported include manganese, copper, tantalum and livestock. 

Other industries supporting the minerals and resources sector include metal fabrication and welding, mechanical and electrical services, construction and general contracting, automotive services, building trades, cleaning services, freight transport, and painting and corrosion control. 

Keeping Port residents healthy is the Headland Health Complex, supported by other health services in town including disability, aged care, naturopaths, chiropractic, dental, Flying Doctor and GP medical centres. 

Port and nearby South Hedland have five pre-primary schools, six public and a private primary school called St Cecelia’s.  There is only one high school: Hedland Senior School.  For further and vocational study there are two campuses of Pilbara TAFE. There is also a family daycare and private childcare services including Rose Nowers Childcare. 

For retail therapy, the major shopping centres are the Boulevard (Port Hedland) and the South Hedland shopping centres, with other retail businesses operating in the Wedgefield Industrial Area. 

With the temps always high in Port, you’ll welcome time at the aquatic and fitness centre or at the South Hedland Aquatic Centre. If water's not your thing you could check out a movie or a performance at the Matt Dan Cultural Centre. And to keep the whole family happy, head to the JD Hardie Recreation Centre. This indoor and outdoor fitness centre has activities and sports for all ages, a school holiday program for kids and special events during term time. 

When you’ve got the day off, you can really get busy. There’s everything from fishing, tennis and golf to whale and turtle spotting in winter. Not to mention a full program of community events.  From markets, to musos and movies there is something on most weeks.  

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Ever lived in Port Hedland? Tell the world.