annet van der voort

photography

I’ve been working in Port Hedland about six-and-a-half years now. I lived here for about four-and-a-half years, and have been doing fly in, fly out for two at Port Haven. I finished university and I was applying for a lot of different jobs and ended up going through the BHP Billiton graduate program. The jobs seemed reasonable; the pay was good up here, so I thought I’d like a sea change from Melbourne. I didn’t have any expectations before I came. I hadn’t really heard of Port Hedland before. I moved up in the height of summer, so it was pretty hot.
I found the people very accommodating, you form tight relationships with people and the community, and it is a very welcoming town. After four-and-half years it was time for a change, the climate gets to you. I’m working in mechanical governance, we do structural and mechanical audits of machinery, we audit them for compliance against company standards.
The machines we work on are the stackers, the reclaimers, and the ship loaders. We do 6am until 6pm, twelve hour days; I have a work vehicle so I usually drive myself. On Monday morning we fly up on the 6.20am flight and get onto site at around 9.15am. We have a safe start meeting; we get together and talk about safety and work plans. We look at reports and recommendations, coordinating contractors.
I get back to Port Haven at 6pm. I’ll go for a run or go to the gym, I do that for an hour, dinner closes at 8pm, and then I get on the phone to Kate (who lives in Perth) and go to bed. The lifestyle is tiring. A lot of the workforce lives in Hedland, which makes it a bit harder - to have residential versus FIFO. I definitely enjoy the flight home, every single flight is full and I’ve started getting upgrades often, which is nice.

Tom

pilbara portraits