14 September 2011

Port Hedland

We've landed in Port Hedland, WA. Its a funny design, this town. Port Hedland was the original town, near the sea, hence the name. Our quarters, as well as the hotels and a couple of restaurants are located here. But 15km away they have South Hedland, where the hospital is located and there also other run of the mill chain stores like K-Mart and McDonalds. A big gap separates the two. A driver picks us up for our shifts and drops us home at the end.

Its a stark environment, hot, dry, dusty and flat as far as the eye can see. In fact, the only hill they have is the bridge that goes from South Hedland to Port Hedland! The temperatures here can get to 50 degrees Celsius in the summer time. Right now, its in the low thirties. Like most places this far north, the red dirt is everywhere, the tumbleweed thrives, and the landscape is dotted with mining equipment. Here they mine salt and iron ore. And most of the population is fly in-fly out mining workers and their families, as well as the local indigenous community.

Today, on my way to work, I saw the most enormous piles of salt from the mines. They look remarkably like snow covered mountains, and in the early morning light (and when squinting one's eyes) you can nearly trick yourself into thinking you are in the Swiss Alps. But by 9am, the scorching sun is high in the sky, and the illusion dissolves, and you remember that this is indeed Australia. The sunburnt country they sing about in those weird Aussie folk songs.

1 comment:

  1. Swiss Alps, eh? and a driver? are you really aristocracy at a finishing school??