No shoes or high vis: Dampier’s old boys recall laidback life in remote Pilbara port town – by Kendall O’Connor (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – September 23, 2018)

When Pauline Hill’s husband read about a job going in remote Western Australia offering double his current wage, they thought it was too good an opportunity to pass up. “He was reading the Advertiser one day and saw a job advertised for Hamersley Iron, which we didn’t know anything about,” she said.

They planned to stay in the mystery town for two years, but ended up living there for 14 years. “We just loved it,” she said. Thirty-seven years later, Mrs Hill has returned to the Pilbara port town for the second annual reunion of people who lived in the town between the 1960s and 80s.

The idea for the Old Boys Reunion came from Dave Randle, who now lives on the Gold Coast. “I went to a Pilbara reunion down in Perth and I just felt that it wasn’t the right place for it,” he said.

“Now that we’ve got social media available to us [with] all those different social platforms, it’s easy. I did this all from the Gold Coast.” Dampier was built as an exporting hub in 1965 by iron ore miner Hamersley Iron, which is now owned by Rio Tinto.

The town was self-sufficient, with its own hospital, dentist, shops and school. Trevor Williams was four when he arrived in the town with his family. He said its isolation made sourcing fresh produce a challenge.

“I remember everything from the shops was frozen, [for example] frozen bread, frozen meat, because we had to get it sent up from Perth,” Mr Williams said.

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