August, 31 2012
Port Hedland
Bharat Sikka



My father brought his family from Burma to Australia 43 years ago. We were part of the Anglo Burmese community which means my heritage is part European and part Burmese. My Grandfather wanted us to immigrate to England, and he wasn’t happy that my Father brought us here to Australia; he made the best decision because I’ve been back to England and I can tell you why Australia truly is the lucky country.

I grew up mainly around Highgate as a child, and then Dad and Mum bought a place in Morley for all eight of us. In 1972, my Mum passed away from cancer. I was nine years old and my father had seven kids to bring up, lucky for him my older sister was 16 and knew how to cook, and clean and she took over the house, when she got married my other sister took over the house, lucky there was only three of us by that time she got married and I took over the duties.

After my mother passed away my brother moved to Port Hedland and the first time I came up here was when I was 19 so that began my association with the town. I trained and nursed up here from 1980 to 1985, after that I moved back down to Perth for a few years studied computer programming during the day, and nursing at night whilst I was studying.Then I got a call from two friends, they’d bought a business Hedland Hardware and Steel Supplies store and needed someone to check the computer system so I agreed to come up for six months contract. Turns out there was nothing wrong with the computer, but that’s how I ended up in the hardware, it was four letter F word called fate. I employed a friend, who used to run a restaurant, and the two of us ran it for 18 months then I bought it in 1991 with my Uncle who had retired from the army. After five years I took over, and we’ve evolved from this little hardware store and big steel yard to where we are now.

I’m now a Councillor at the Town of Port Hedland, I’m also a on the boards of the Pilbara Development Commission, Pilbara Planning Committee, also on the National Advisory Committee for Home Hardware Group and spokesperson for the South Hedland Business Association .I’ve been appointed to many boards, but the one that is closest to my heart is the Youth Involvement Council as I believe youth are the future and a major issue for the town. I also have a lot of love and time for, arts and culture, sports and recreation. I play netball, touch rugby, golf and softball when my schedule allows.

Hedland is a unique place, it may not be aesthetically attractive straight away – but it is beautiful in the people and places you find here. I’ve travelled extensively, and I can tell you that there’s a spirit in Hedland that’s very community minded. If housing, education, and health were improved more people would stay and we wouldn’t need to constantly be rebuilding community.

Currently the largest bulk export in the world Hedland is of vital significance to the economy of the nation, it is hard, its soft, it’s challenging, however it presents many opportunities and rewards. Whilst I’ve been fortunate, it has not been an easy environment to be a woman in business, however a challenge is good for everyone and Hedland has made me the person I am today.

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