August, 31 2012
Port Hedland
Bharat Sikka



I lived in Port Hedland for 29 years. I was born in Perth and moved up here when I was nine years old. As children we would be running around innocently through town, we were always barefoot even on the hot bitumen roads and when the rains would come, the ditches would fill up with water, and we’d come home covered in mud.

My Dad worked for the Adelaide Steamship Company, maintaining tugboats and channel markers in the port, and that kind of thing. I went to Primary School and High School in Hedland, then went onto TAFE for a few years and became an office equipment technician. I did nine years worth of that work, then went to work for one of our customers, the Port Hedland Port Authority (PHPA) on their IT computer systems.

I start work at 7.30 or 8am in the morning, everyday there was something new, there were so many different aspects to the job, from fixing printers and photocopiers, to making sure that all the employees are connected to the network, to communications on the ship loader. PHPA manages the largest tonnage bulk commodity port in the world, we ship out more minerals than any other place. It is a company that I’m very proud to work for. I have been with them for nine years and it came with a house on Sutherland Street that overlooked the ocean, it is the best feeling to come home and stare out at the ocean for a while.

My mum was an Elvis fan and I was brought up listening to Elvis, but I especially love his movies, my favorite is Speedway. I've always enjoyed music, when I was at school, I learnt to play trumpet and the clarinet, I can still play them but not well. Now, I’m learning to play an electric violin, my fascination with it stems from a song with a dueling violin I heard by the Charlie Daniels Band called When the Devil Came down to Georgia.

Growing up, I never thought I’d live in the city. I love the weather here– it’s only a few months each year that is gets really hot and the cyclones come. During the other times, it’s literally paradise and overall, the weather is fantastic.

Since this is a smaller town, everyone seems to know everybody and when you got out to get milk, instead of 10 minutes it can sometimes take 2.5 hours because you run into so many people you know. I used to feel that if Port Hedland got traffic lights I’d cut them down because it meant that the place was getting to big, but then you get older, your ideas and situations change. My family is the most important part of my life, my two daughters live in Darwin with their mum and I also have a little boy, Sebastian and a stepson Mark.

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