Passion of the Pilbara

Together with my very young family we lived in Port Hedland from the years 1977 – 1986.  It was not long before I found myself involved with a small but keen arts group.  There were probably no more than about six of us that were into painting along with a number of folk who were involved with pottery and one or two others who were into textiles/weaving.

The  old Port Hedland Wittenoom  road became one of my most travelled routes. It led my young family  safely all the way to Wittenoom at a time when very few  locals were able to share much knowledge of Wittenoom or about driving the old road (the only access to the town from Port Hedland unless one was to travel via Marble bar or south to Roebourne and then out via Millstream (indeed a very beautiful route).  There was  a very small tourist center in the main Street and when enquiring as to Wittenoom and how best to reach that town the young lass could give me little or no info. Perhaps she was just filling in for someone who may have had a bit more knowledge.

That first trip to Wittenoom was to be the turning point in my life and opened a whole new passion and desire to explore, photograph and more so to endeavour to paint this amazing and timeless landscape.  Soon after arrival in the then still thriving town of Wittenoom we visited the very excellent tourist center which back then was owned and run by the Mcguire family. The family also ran the Pilbara Pathfinder tour coach. I remember seeing the coach in Port Hedland on a number of occasions.  The staff recommended we visit the Jabiru Art Gallery and see the works of its owner, (now the late) Leslie Styles.  I was so immediately impressed with her work. Lesley Styles’s fine painting was to have a profound and everlasting effect on me and a new found  wish to try and capture this amazingly beautiful Pilbara.

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