Rick and Billie’s Story
Newman is 1186km north of Perth on the Great Northern Highway in the heart of the East Pilbara region of Australia's North West.
From 1997 to 2007 I worked in Manly Qld as a Marine Electrician. Competition was increasing every year and businesses were often tempted to under quote, so early in 2007 I decided to consider outside options.
My partner spends Summer in Tasmania and escapes the cold in winter, heading for the warmer climate to work. She had made a pact with a close friend to explore the mining boom in WA. As one of my large projects was close to completion I made the decision the see what the mining boom had to offer for me as well.
Our first decision was to decided to buy a lovely old Viscount caravan and do it up to a standard that we would be happy to live in if need be. We fitted the caravan out with split aircon, flatscreen tv, 12v and 240v electrics, outdoor portable shower, out door table and chairs, a small bar-b-que and comfortable mattresses. We were ready to go.
Looking at the map we decided to head north, it was a shorter run and some of this area we had not explored previously. This trip was a great introduction to the Pilbara, long, dusty, dry and red for the latter part. It was still winter so we were grateful for taking along our winter woolies, it gets cold in the desert when the sun sets each evening. After nearly three weeks of traveling we reached Port Headland so decided to see what employment was available there. Being from the coast in Qld, we were all tempted to stay near the sea. There were certainly plenty of jobs here but not exactly what we were looking for, we felt we were too far away from the mines and if we stayed here we would end up with town jobs.
After two weeks in Port Headland and Dampier we packed up the caravan and headed for Newman. Billie and her friend, Janine, were employed within a week of arriving.
I got speaking to the local employment agents to see what was on offer. Through them, I got in touch with local businessman Hossam Boksmati and within a few days of meeting him I was employed as part of his Flex Force team as an Electrician. I have been working in the Pilbara for 14 months now, still in Newman and now as one of Flex Force's Supervisors. As the locals have been telling me here in Newman, it is now in my blood.
What has Newman given me, it has given me time to know a part of the Pilbara, to see its protruding hills of red and black ore deposits, to swim in the water holes at Karajini, to view the endless mounds of ant nests and last but not least, to see, understand and be apart of the mining boom that less than 2 years ago seem so far away.
Newman has also given our family and friends these same opportunities. After being given accommodation with my employment we have been able to share the caravan and house with family and friends all of which have found employment in the area, some still here working and others have moved on.
The restaurants and eating places. As I eat out at least once a week, it is important to have a variety and abundance of good wholesome eating places.
It's now time to head out of Newman and back to the East Coast, not Qld this time, but Tassie. Sit back for a while and tell friend and family a few tales about Newman, those that did not venture over are all waiting to hear about the Pilbara and the mining boom.
But as Summer ends in Tassie and I have told many a tale, I will be asking myself the question, "When will I return to the Pilbara"?