My role is Coordinator Community Development for the East Pilbara at the Pilbara Development Commission. The Commission is a State Government statutory authority; until recently we had a small team of about 12 people based in Hedland and Karratha however that has changed since the Pilbara Cities program was recently transferred to the Commission. We have about 22 people now based in Hedland, Karratha and Perth.
I’m originally from Melbourne, and I first came up here to the Pilbara in 1979 and worked in the travel industry for about eight years. At the time, there were about 87 nationalities in the town, lots of different people and it was a smaller community and everyone knew each other. I lived here for about 12 years, our children were born here, and then we moved down to Perth in 1990.
I returned in 2003, so I have been back for about 10 years now. I came back to work on the Port Hedland Enhancement Scheme, which was a joint venture between State Government and BHP Billiton, to improve the amenity of the town. Things have changed quite a bit since I first came to Port Hedland, particularly over the last few years and the town is growing rapidly.
The Pilbara is just a really nice place to live, you have Karijini, four hours inland, and you’re six hours from Broome, which may seem like an eternity to some, but for us, that’s close. It is beautiful country, it gets into your system and it's lovely living here on the coast.