Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Newman is 1186km north of Perth or 458km south of Port Hedland and is the largest town in the hospitable East Pilbara region of Australias North West. Built by Mount Newman Mining Company during 1967-69, and originally named Mount Newman town, it has evolved into a popular stopover destination for exploring the impressive beauty of Karijini National Park and the Hamersley Gorges.
Until the early 1960s the industry in the Pilbara was pastoral, apart from a brief stint as a potential but unsuccessful gold mining area.
In 1957, prospector Stan Hidditch discovered large iron-ore deposits within the Hamersley Ranges. During 1967-69, many facilities were constructed to facilitate the extraction of this vast stretch of iron-ore from the arid ground, including Newman Township. In addition, the worlds largest open-cut iron-ore mine was built at nearby Mount Whaleback as well as the largest privately owned railway that runs 426km from Newman to Port Headland on the coast. This huge operation also included enhancing the port facilities at Port Hedland. The mine is 85% owned by BHP Company and still runs today producing an amazing 30-million tonnes of iron ore each year.
Mining has endowed a rich heritage of infrastructure at Newman for the visitor to the town.
In 1975, over 60,000 trees and shrubs were planted around Newman to restore the landscape where in summer, it is not uncommon for temperatures in Australias North West to reach over 40C every day.
In 1981, responsibility for the town was relinquished to the local shire and the name was changed to simply oNewman. Since then, a number of tourist facilities have augmented Newmans position as an interesting and different destination for tourists exploring the surrounding areas or passing through the East Pilbara.