Memorable moments of 2017

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph
Ruby France, 6, and Jarrah Summers.
Camera IconRuby France, 6, and Jarrah Summers. Credit: Picture: Sophia Constantine, Sophia Cosntantine.


Beach-goers and dog-owners celebrated as Cape Keraudren finalised a successful trial to allow dogs on the beach provided they were on a leash.

After a visit by the Department of Education’s deputy director-general, Hedland Senior High School received a positive review despite experiencing a lockdown during the visit.

Ladies’ Day at Port Hedland Turf Club was nothing short of an extravaganza as fashionistas flocked to the runway to strut their stuff in Fashions on the Field

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Spinifex Spree saw Pilbara residents converge on Hedland to experience homegrown goods and spend a weekend on rides and carnival games.


After 10 years of waiting, the Port Hedland Dust Management Taskforce Report was published, to mixed responses. Among the recommendations put forward by the taskforce, a “buffer zone” was pitched to vocal criticism from locals.

Newman was the centre of excitement as the Shire opened the highly anticipated Newman Square in what was described as the town’s most significant milestone.

Shire of East Pilbara chief executive Allan Cooper announced his retirement would begin at the end of the year.

Australian rapper Illy took to the Pier Hotel as part of his regional WA tour to say “hello” to music lovers in Hedland.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy revealed it spent $4.3 million campaigning against Brendon Grylls’ proposal to increase lease charges during his State Election campaign.

Music fans united in August for the North West Festival as headline acts Boy and Bear, Vera Blue and Spiderbait took to the stage to entertain the crowds.

Hundreds of people attended the weekend’s events, despite concern earlier in the year the festival might not happen.


In the midst of the parliamentary inquiry into the cost of regional WA airfares, Qantas announced it would begin a one-year trial offering discounts of up to 30 per cent for residents of Broome, Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Karratha, Paraburdoo, Port Hedland and Newman.

A proposal by WA Police to ban the sale of full-strength beer in Pilbara pubs was met with widespread criticism. Pilbara MLA Kevin Michel said no consultation had been undertaken with the community.

The Pilbara’s first and only mobile MRI scanner was lost to the east coast after owner Global Diagnostics was unable to acquire a Medicare licence from both State and Federal Governments.

Hedland-grown electrical apprentice Sarah Karslake was crowned apprentice of the year at the PHCCI Business of the Year awards.

The return of the New Pilbara conference focused on a wealth of opportunities from agriculture to tourism and energy.

September saw the return of Cattle Exports as 2000 cattle left the Port of Port Hedland, signalling the first live export trade in the region in four years.

After much anticipation, the Hedland Water Polo Association held its annual fundraiser party, Pimps and Pros with hundreds of people dressing up as their favourite rock stars and dancing the night away at the Pier Hotel.


Local government election campaigns came to a head, with the Town of Port Hedland council seeing a complete overhaul of elected members up for re-election, with Camilo Blanco returning to mayor.

In the Shire of East Pilbara, Lynne Craigie was welcomed back as president with open arms.

Port Hedland Police Station welcomed the region’s first police dog, Maygar, who quickly made his mark on the town.

The annual Pink Ribbon Breakfast took over the ibis Styles Hotel in October, with local women and men donning their brightest pinks to raise funds for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Hedland was a walking rainbow as hundreds of youth took to Marie Marland Reserve in the town’s first Colour Dash for mental health.

The search for a young indigenous leader reached its climax in Broome in the Pilbara Girl pageant, with Shianne Bin Sali being crowned the winner.

Police praised community support and generosity in the lead-up to the Bloody Slow Cup weekend in Newman, where hundreds of locals converged on the town to remember officers lost in 2001.

The culmination of more than six years of discussions saw the Kariyarra people sign a milestone land use agreement with the State Government worth $38 million over the life of the agreement. Turtle season began, with scientists coming to the Hedland coast to monitor the annual migration of threatened flatback turtles.


Sports and Recreation Minister Mick Murray came to the Pilbara and touted the idea of a voluntary levy on resources companies to fund sports clubs.

Upon getting back to Perth, he quickly backtracked and claimed he had never said this, despite voice recordings proving otherwise. Premier Mark McGowan and BHP Iron Ore boss Edgar Basto came to Hedland Senior High School to reveal the miner would hire 15 local apprentices and trainees from the Trade Training Centre.

To help, BHP also donated 53m of railway track to the school so students could hone their skills.

Hedland Senior High School Year 12s celebrated their final days as high-schoolers as their awards ceremony crowned Kane Edwards and Caleb Rattery as dux winners for 2017.

Port Hedland said farewell to Merv Stanton, the town’s last World War II veteran and much-loved photographer.

The $30 million Parnawarri Retail Centre in Newman’s town centre officially opened its doors to the community after a year of development.


Hedland Senior High School principal Kelly Summers left because of personal reasons after a year of antisocial behaviour and local scrutiny.

Motoring enthusiasts from across the North West were led by Santa Claus in the Hedland Riders Association’s annual Christmas Charity Toy Run.

The results of an inquiry undertaken by the Department of Education into Hedland Senior High School were revealed, where results noted a feeling among staff of disempowerment and uncertainty.

A decline in confidence among parents, local community organisations and major industry partners were also seen as a concern.

Protests broke out across the State, including the Pilbara, after Education Minister Sue Ellery announced a $64 million cut, which would see the closure of School of the Air programs in 2019.

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