Over the next few weeks, maybe months, possibly years, I’m going to write some articles for the ADN Blog, I’ll call them Kieran’s Ramble, Why you ask, well why not, I like writing and strangely enough it seems to come easily to me, maybe because I like talking about myself, or just talking in general, so putting it down on paper every now and then seems like a good idea and afterall the top dog of ADN (Liam) asked me if I would like to, and I’m always willing to help out a mate….to a certain extent.
WARNING – I HAVE NO FILTER, I’M REAL & HONEST, BUT I’LL RAMBLE ON…. So this may take a while.
Let me introduce myself – Male, nearly 37. Sleeping with my wife since 1998 (that makes us high school sweethearts) Awwwwww! A daughter 9 yrs, a son 6 yrs, a Labrador called Lexidog 11yrs, 5 chickens. And just this weekend gone we had a temporary pet lizard called Lizzie until my son let her go in the garden….all I heard was freeeeeedom!!
I work in the Oil & gas industry in the Pilbara WA, well until the end of April anyway when I’m being demobilized as we have lost our work contract to our competitor, the goal is to stay up here in this industry but you never know how life is going to unfold so we will just play it by ear. My family are happy here as am I, After-all it is our home.
Where is home? What is home? This is what I’ll put my thoughts towards in this week’s ramble, until I get side tracked and start going down a different path, bare with me. I was born in Tauranga Pronounced (To Ronga, roll your RRRRRR) in New Zealand, lived in a little town called Te Puke (it’s the Kiwi fruit capital of NZ and pronounced Te Pookie) and also Taupo (Toe paw).
Emigrated to Australia in May of 1988 when my parents decided Australia was a better place to raise their young family. I am a middle child so I always get the raw end of the stick, well I think so anyway. So in May 88 we left Auckland and landed in Brisbane. Promptly got in a car and drove to Mackay in Nth Qld, where Mums sister had settled earlier, we lived there for about 18 months or so then Dad got an opportunity up in Townsville.
18 months later and we were living in Brisbane when Dad got transferred, but that was short lived in Brisbane and we found ourselves back in Townsville for the start of the school year in 1994.
I was there now until I made my first foray to Western Australia with my now wife in January 2006 when I took my first job in the mining industry working a 2 week on 2 week off roster…more about this in a later ramble. My wife is a born and bred Townsville girl and this was her first time living away from Townsville.
Anyway 18 months later she was home sick and although we did enjoy Perth we never felt like we really fitted in with the very clicky crowd in Perth. So we made the call to return “home”, it’s definitely home for her at this point but for me its just essentially where I grew up, I’ve never felt like Townsville was “home” for me. So August 2007 we drove across the country and back to familiarity.
I kept working in WA until the opportunity to go and work overseas popped up in New Caledonia…more on this later also, but alas, 2 yrs later an offer came up back in WA, in Karratha in a local role. We jumped at it, the opportunity to be home every day with my wife and now newly born Daughter was too good to refuse. So the company packed us up in January 2010 and shipped our possessions back across to WA. Immediately I fell in love with the Pilbara, my wife settled in quickly with the mothers groups around town it just had this great feeling about the place. We felt like we belonged, well I certainly did, but alas 2.5 yrs. later in mid-2012, I was made redundant (construction) and with no bright prospects of work the company moved us back “home” to Townsville.
I never felt comfortable moving back to Townsville this time, my already very small circle of friends was now non-existent and I just didn’t want to be there, but it was a means to an end I guess. We were expecting our second (and last) child and although settled back in our own house and setting it up, I just couldn’t get the pull of the Pilbara out of my mind, what made it worse was that I picked up work back in WA, in Onslow, on another major construction job and Karratha is just up the road a couple of hours but it seemed so far away. I had to make plans to get my family back living here with me.
So in late 2016 I was lucky enough to land a position back in Karratha in a local role. As soon as I was called about this I was like, YES YES YES just get us here asap!! I called my wife and the wheels were set in motion to move back to the Pilbara, and to cut this long enough story short we have been back here ever since and are happier than ever.
Whilst Townsville will always be my wife’s home, and Taupo mine, Karratha and the Pilbara in general is “OUR HOME”.
So, what makes it our home? It suits us, less travel around town, schools are close, the community is strong, incredibly strong, the opportunities to explore are endless, we have some of the greatest national parks you can see, the Dampier archipelago is amazing.
But what really sets this place out above anywhere else I’ve been is the people. The further north you get in WA the better the people are…..yes we give the index finger on the steering wheel a wave and a head nod to the passing motorists heading in the opposite direction, and that to me says a whole lot about the place…maybe its just me and I’m a bit of a weirdo, but I reckon it’s just tops!
The thing with small towns like we have in the Pilbara is that we have people here from all walks of life, not many of us are originally from here, but we have made it our home, it takes all types of people to make great communities, and these people have all different types of interests which then morphs into little sub communities where people find common ground and meet new people and it just keeps growing. For a town of less than 20k people we have some amazing groups / things to do. Let me name a few of just the interests I have that are catered for here in Karratha
Road cycling group – yes, I wear Lycra and the cyclists here are very strong cyclists
Mountain bike club – some great but hard on your body MTB trails here and an amazing club culture
Fishing – you won’t believe me if I tell you how good the game / spear / creek fishing is up here
Diving – the archipelago has over 218 species of coral, did I mention the abundance of amazing fish
4WD club – it will blow your mind where you can go and explore with a 4wd up here
Camping – its ridiculous how good it is, seriously.
Surf life Saving club
Junior sport for the kids – so many different sports to play
There are so many more I could list, but I guess my message here is find your home and embrace it, love it, tell everyone about it.
Oh – it gets hot, not like 30 degrees hot like you southerners would say, we are well into the mid to high 40’s anywhere from October to March.
One last thing, if your wife says she’s just heading up to the shops to grab something and won’t be long…. take an hour to yourselves fellas, because it’s a given she will bump into just about everyone from mums’ groups or school P&C committees, dance mums etc….and don’t women just love to chinwag. It gives us blokes some time to rig the next fishing rod or begin to plan the next camping trip…or in my case a lot of the time, fold some clothes or restack the dishwasher…*husband of the year*!!