August, 31 2012
Port Hedland
Bharat Sikka


I came up to the Pilbara two years ago from Newcastle, mainly for work. I was at a crossroads in my life and wanted the experience of working in Hedland. I lived and went to school in town when I was younger, at primary school age for four years and then we went back to Newcastle for High School. I think the place was more laid back then, now it’s a little bit different.

I have always enjoyed building things. I finished school in year 10 and knew that school wasn’t for me, so I got an apprenticeship in cabinet making. When I leave Hedland I'd like to get into furniture design or industrial design. I arrived in Hedland and found work pretty quickly. For the first two months I worked for the council mowing lawns, then I was offered a job with Pilbara Construction. We do a lot of the building for BHP Billiton and some other big companies – at the moment we are doing a lot of maintenance work, fixing up the older houses and building new houses in South Hedland and at Pretty Pool in Port Hedland.

We start work at 7am and I’m usually home by 5pm: it depends on the job at the time. I mainly install kitchens, but also do other jobs like hanging doors and shelving. I’ve learnt a lot of new skills doing this job because I get to work on many different things. Before Christmas it got a little quiet, which was related to the drop in iron ore prices and the general slow down that the town experiences over the summer and Christmas period.

I meet a lot of people through work; it’s more difficult to meet people outside of work. Most of the people I’ve become friends with have been here for a while and are staying on, however I do find that it is very transitional as I have seen friends come and go.  I’d like to be here for another few years to enable me to set myself and my partner up financially.

I enjoy listening to music, mainly Triple J and that kind of alternative style, it was really great this year to see everyone supporting the first North West Festival, it acknowledges that there are a lot of younger people who enjoy good music and want to have a good time. I love the fishing up here, and the freedom of being able to drive anywhere you like, there are not a lot of restrictions, and you can see many beautiful things.

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